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Australia prepares for live music comeback

The Australian recording industry association (Aria) has teamed up with the New South Wales (NSW) government to put on 1,000 Covid-safe shows across the region, as Australia announces a furthering easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Artists including Tones and I, the Presets, Thelma Plum, Jimmy Barnes, the Veronicas and Tash Sultana are performing as part of the Great Southern Nights series in November.

“This celebration of outstanding Australian artists and incredible live music venues across NSW gives us all something to look forward to, from eventgoers to industry,” comments the minister for jobs, investment, tourism and western Sydney Stuart Ayres.

“With the NSW Government’s 24-hour economy strategy set to reinvigorate Sydney’s nightlife, Great Southern Nights will be a big step forward for our state’s live music and hospitality community that has been hit hard in recent times.”

The government has invited venues in Sydney and regional NSW to nominate themselves to host the shows, which will be put on in accordance with appropriate physical distancing and capacity requirements.

In NSW, a current 50-person capacity limit on music venues, theatres and pubs will be scrapped from 1 July, replaced instead by a one-person-per-four-square-metres rule. Outdoor venues with space for 40,000 people will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity, giving the go ahead for events of 10,000. All events must be seated and venues with a capacity of over 40,000 must remain closed.

“This celebration of outstanding Australian artists and incredible live music venues across NSW gives us all something to look forward to, from eventgoers to industry”

Festivals and club nights are not expected to return in the region until August, depending on the public health situation.

Organisers of Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass festival last week called off the 2020 edition, which had previously been rescheduled from July to October. Tickets for the 2021 festival, which will take place from 23 to 25 July, are available here.

The new follows an announcement from Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison last week that the four-square-metre rule, rather than capacity limits, was to apply to venues as the country moves into stage three of its reopening plan next month.

Under the regulations, any seated, ticketed events of under 40,000 people is to be allowed to take place, given there is the adequate amount of space. Nightclubs and large-capacity stadiums will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The different regions in Australia are approaching the reopening of live music events at varying paces. Large venues in Western Australia were this month able to host up to 300 people in multiple, divided spaces, whereas venues in the state of Victoria will only begin to welcome 50 guests from next week.

Industry body Live Performance Australia has proposed a AU$345 million (€209m) recovery package for the country’s live business, which typically generates $2.2 billion (€1.2bn) each year.

 


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Live music hit by Australian bushfires

A Day On the Green festival in Victoria is the latest live music event to fall foul of the bushfires raging through Australia.

Australian rock bands Cold Chisel, Birds of Tokyo and Magic Dirt were scheduled to perform today (7 January) at A Day On the Green at the All Saints Estate in Rutherglen, in the south east of Australia.

Michael Newton, co-director of A Day On the Green organiser Roundhouse Entertainment, says the promoter is “extremely disappointed” to cancel the event.

“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality on the site and in surrounding areas now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show,” comments Newton.

The cancellation A Day On the Green, which has hosted the likes of Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Morrison and Florence and the Machine since launching in 2001, follows that of the Lorne leg of Falls Festival in December. The festival was set to feature artists including Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Lewis Capaldi, Peking Duk, John Farnham and Disclosure.

“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show”

Multiple benefit concerts have cropped up in the wake of festival cancellations in order to raise money for bushfire relief.

Yesterday, Australian promoter TEG announced Fire Fight Australia, which will take place at Sydney’s 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium on 16 February.

Singer Tones and I today revealed she will play a charity show at Melbourne’s 1,050-capacity 170 Russell on Tuesday 28 January, supported by Adrian Eagle. All proceeds from the event will be donated to rural fire services and the Australian Red Cross.

Tones and I also appeared at a benefit concert hosted by electronic duo Peking Duk in December, which raised AUD $50,000 (US$34,365) for firefighters tackling the blazes.

US singer Halsey and British rapper Yungblud are among other artists to have hosted impromptu charity shows in Melbourne in place of their Fall Festival appearances.

A Day On the Green ticketholders will receive a full refund via Ticketmaster in due course.

 


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