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23,000+ events cancelled in Australia in July

The findings from a survey quantifying the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries has painted an “alarming picture” for the near future of the sector.

The second survey from I Lost My Gig, an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), drew responses from almost 2,000 professionals from the Australian live music industry.

The data capture showed that during July, at least 23,000 gigs and events were cancelled, equating to nearly AUS$64 million in lost income – $16m per week.

The survey’s respondents included artists, managers, production crew, technical workers, venue operators and workers, festival operators, booking and ticketing agencies, marketing and promotions companies, music press outlets and a broad range of other related businesses and sole traders.

“Border closures, capacity restrictions, and quarantine issues continue to devastate live performances and events across the country, wreaking havoc on touring schedules, and creating what respondents describe as a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling,” reads the accompanying report.

Of the $64m in lost revenue, the results showed that 99% of respondents had no income protection or event cancellation insurance – something that the Australian live industry has been repeatedly calling for.

“Respondents describe a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling”

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, just 7% of professionals working in the live performance and events industries have been able to operate at pre-Covid levels. Thus, 60% of respondents say they’ve recently looked for work in other industries.

More than 67% claimed they were ineligible for the federal government’s Disaster Relief Payment, and over 50% said they were unclear about the funding being offered by their state/territory governments.

A significant number of respondents expressed frustration at what they perceived as government prioritisation of sporting events in lieu of meaningful support of the creative industries. Poor mental health and wellbeing, ongoing financial distress and a lack of hope were also common themes among responses.

The survey comes after three of the six Australian states – South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales – were put into lockdown during July to face separate outbreaks of Covid.

The country has been slower than most others to immunise its population and it may not see the lifting of restrictions – and the full return of the live music industry – until mid-November, according to the government’s roadmap.

 


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IQ 99 out now: NFT ticketing tech & more

IQ 99, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

In May’s edition, IQ examines the hype around nonfungible tokens and the exciting possibilities they can bring to ticketing, while news editor Jon Chapple discovers some of the ways that live entertainment can embrace sustainability in its return to action.

In comments and columns, the Australian Festivals Association’s Julia Robinson discusses how a lack of government-backed insurance could impact business confidence and Laura Davidson explains the driving force behind her new female-led live services consultancy, Amigas.

Following the inaugural edition of IPM Production Notes in IQ 98, tour manager Rebecca Travis reflects on 20 years on the road and one year off, while Mike Malak updates readers on the new technology impacting the music industry in Pulse.

Plus, enjoy the regular content you’ve come to expect from your monthly IQ Magazine, including news and new agency signings – the majority of which will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

Whet your appetite with the preview below, but if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now and receive IQ 99 in its entirety. Subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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Australia’s NSW to allow 5,000-cap country fairs

The government in Australian state New South Wales (NSW) will allow country fairs to host up to 5,000 people from January 2021, the second-largest attendance permitted at outdoor events since social distancing restrictions were imposed.

The Bowral Show, scheduled for 9 January at the Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse, will be the first event to welcome an audience of that size since the NRL grand final in October, which accommodated 40,000 seated fans at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (cap. 83,500).

Deputy premier John Barilaro, who is also the minister for regional NSW, announced the rollback of restrictions recently in a bid to boost the economies of regional areas hit by the pandemic.

Safety measures will include social distancing at venues, controlled access at entry points throughout the show to minimise crowding, a limit to the number of attendees depending on venue size and the one person per four-square-metre rule.

The 5,000-capacity allowance has not yet been extended to other types of events such as festivals.

“The industry has a framework to deliver Covid-safe events using the Live Entertainment Industry Forum Guidelines, the same guidelines created with other leading promoters and arenas that has seen the recent return of crowds to sporting events,” says Australian Festival Association spokeswoman Julia Robinson.

“There is a long way to go for a sector worth $2.7 billion that employs nearly 10,000 full-time-equivalent workers”

“The easing of restrictions in regional areas is an important step for an industry that was switched off in March, however there is a long way to go for a sector worth AUS$2.7 billion that employs nearly 10,000 full-time-equivalent workers nationally.”

This week NSW and Sydney are enjoying a return to live with the month-long festival, Great Southern Nights.

The event, which is an NSW government initiative, will take place throughout November, Australia’s Music Month, in an attempt to “stimulate the revival of the live music and entertainment sectors and, in turn, the visitor economy in the recovery phase of Covid-19″.

The festival will host 1,000 Covid-secure gigs featuring artists including Jimmy Barnes, Amy Shark, Tash Sultana, Tones & I, AB Original, Vera Blue, Hoodoo Gurus Ruel, Lime Cordiale, Alex The Astronaut, Missy Higgins and Matt Corby.

Live music has also returned in part to regional Victoria, albeit under stringent restrictions.

Indoor venues remain closed but the state is permitting live music in outdoor spaces under several conditions; gig-goers must remain seated and are limited to tables of ten, which must be at least 1.5 metres apart from any other table. Band members are required to wear a mask, singers excluded, and must stand at least two metres from each other and five from the audience.

 


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