Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Australian Live Music Business Council calls on government to ease COVID restrictions on venues

Australian Live Music Business Council calls on government to ease COVID restrictions on venues
March 22, 2021

National industry body, the Australian Live Music Business Council has today called on all State and Territory governments to work with the sector to ease damaging restrictions on venues while working together to implement a national essential worker permit system to resuscitate the national touring circuit.

Unsustainable venue restrictions and continued uncertainty around border closures are having a devastating impact on the live music industry as it continues to struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) fears that without an urgent national response to this national crisis, hundreds of businesses will close and thousands of jobs will be lost in a matter of months.

The call comes as the ALMBC reveals the perilous state of the industry through its latest member survey. Completed early this year, the survey captures an industry struggling to recover 12 months after lockdowns and border closures brought the live music scene to a halt.

Among the key findings were: 

  • Almost 70% of live music businesses have seen their revenue drop by 75-100% since lockdowns began. Many have had little to no income at all.
  • 77% of businesses will only survive the next six months unless trading conditions improve.  45% report it may only be three months before they are forced to close.
  • Restrictions on venue capacities present the greatest barrier to profitability for the live industry as it recovers - closely followed by the loss of wage support, interstate border closures and a lack of certainty and confidence across the industry.
  • The uncertainty of the past year has negatively impacted the mental health of almost 93% of live music business owners and workers.

ALMBC Executive General Manager, Craig Spann, said that with JobKeeper destined to finish at the end of March, it was critical that the industry is supported in getting back to business.

He said that the recovery must be focussed on the thousands of venues across the country that not only provide platforms for artists to perform, but are the backbone of the national live music industry – employing staff and crew while supporting a diverse range of small to medium businesses.

Spann notes “the perception that live music is back disguises the devastating reality facing our industry. Those shows that are being presented are hampered by restrictions and crowd limits making them unprofitable and unsustainable, with many venues running at well under half their usual capacity for the indefinite future.

“Meanwhile, national tours have not been feasible since March last year. Snap lockdowns and wildly varied quarantine conditions have robbed the industry of confidence while also losing revenue and increasing costs – losses are significant and are putting our industry even further behind as we try to recover.

“Our hands are tied with Government policy preventing us from getting back to work supporting our employees and the thousands of small businesses around the country that are integral to the industry.”

The complexities facing the industry have been illustrated with the launch of a new online resource created by the ALMBC that captures the ever-changing patchwork of venue and border restrictions across the county.

Called the Gig Ready Dashboard, the new website has been developed by a team of volunteers around the country and will be updated daily.

Spann added “we have developed this resource as navigating the many and varied COVID restrictions around the country has become incredibly challenging for the industry, both for the day-to-day operation of venues and booking tours. And these are restrictions that can change from day to day.”

The ALMBC is urging relevant authorities from around the country to engage with the local industry while also developing national frameworks that support the industry through institutions such as the National Cabinet.

ALMBC proposes the implementation of an ‘Essential Live Music Industry Worker Permit’ which would allow, in the case of a border closure or ‘hotspot’ designation for artists and crew to travel interstate. Permits will be subject to a national standard application process and in place indefinitely once approved.

If a border closure is triggered, artists will then need to liaise directly with relevant health authorities to notify of travel and adhere to clear guidelines – developed in partnership with health authorities – to eliminate contact with the broader community and audiences.

“With next to no community transmission, we are confident that we can work with authorities to protect the community in our venues while looking after the future of our industry,” Spann said. “All we ask is that Government at all levels work with us and listen to the deep concerns of our members.”

The ALMBC provides focused advocacy for more than 600 Australian owned small businesses and sole traders that support Australian music in public performance places and create tens of thousands of Australian jobs in the creative economy.

Membership is open to concert and festival promoters, event presenters, venues, booking agents, artists, DJ's, technical crew, show crew, show labour, venue staff, ticketing companies, merchandise companies, catering companies, venue workers.

For further information and resources, go to

Image top: Live Music The Zoo Brisbane Credit stxdio 

Related Articles

22nd March 2021 - Inaugural WA Music Week delivers diverse program across Perth venues

19th March 2021 - Live Performance Australia calls for 100% capacity in all live entertainment venues

15th March 2021 - Newcastle’s live music sector benefits from additional funding

12th March 2021 - No relief for events and venues in Federal Government’s post JobKeeper package

12th March 2021 - Broken Hill secures NSW’s largest outback music event

11th March 2021 - Bluesfest team share their excitement for the return of live music

8th March 2021 - Australian Regional Events Alliance looks to support events industry

4th March 2021 - AEG Presents to partner with Japan’s Avex Entertainment to develop live music

3rd March 2021 - Queensland Symphony Orchestra takes their music to the country

17th February 2021 - Musicians call for JobKeeper extension

17th February 2021 - myvenue point of sale technology backs COVIDSafe live music events

16th February 2021 - Survey finds workers considering leaving the Victorian music industry

4th February 2021 - City of Newcastle’s New Annual festival anticipates boosting live music scene

5th January 2021 - Gold Coast Council announces grants to promote live music

16th December 2020 - Coronavirus halted booming year for Australia’s live music sector

30th November 2020 - Coopers Brewery helps live music sector rebound from COVID-19

16th November 2020 - Sydney Business Chamber highlights progress towards re-energising Sydney’s live music scene

5th November 2020 - Save Our Stages NSW calls on public to help save the state’s live music industry

29th October 2020 - Gold Coast welcomes the return of live music with new summer music festival

26th October 2020 - Australian Live Music Business Council appoints inaugural Executive General Manager

23rd October 2020 - Survey shows over 400 Australian Live Music Businesses face imminent closure

8th October 2020 - Live music venues in NSW unite as part of Save Our Stages campaign

20th September 2020 - Live music venues to benefit industry from $13 million Victorian Government support package

12th August 2020 - Australia’s Chief Medical Officer says ‘high risk’ live music events are still a long way off

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

ProSlide Technology

ProSlide is the global leader in water ride design and manufacturing, supplying high-performance water attractions to new and expanding water parks around the world. For over three decades, ProSlide…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


METRA Australia

With industry leading solutions in design and durability you can improve your facilities with our access control operations, payment systems and flexible personal locker storage solutions. Your…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Security


BioLab Australia Pty Ltd

BioGuard is Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted supplier of premium, innovative and affordable commercial water treatment systems and chemicals. BioGuard offers a comprehensive range of…

read more

Aquatics / Technology / Waterparks


Altitude Training Systems

ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help all athletes gain the competitive edge. Our…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology


TPEC Pool Enclosures

TPEC Pool Enclosures provide a large range of premium commercial and residential retractable swimming pool, spa and terrace enclosures throughout Australia, servicing residential, local government…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation / Venues


APT Asia Pacific Pty Ltd

APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. From…

read more

Environment / Sport / Surfaces / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business