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COVID impact sees Australian Government fund live music sector and leading arts organisations

COVID impact sees Australian Government fund live music sector and leading arts organisations
October 18, 2021

To reactivate the live music sector and support the ongoing viability of arts organisations following the impacts of COVID, the Federal Government is delivering $2.5 million in grants to be shared by 99 venues under round three of the $20 million Live Music Australia program while also supporting the Australian Ballet and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts with $6.5 million from the $50 million COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund.

On funding the live music sector, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher said the program will bring more original live Australian music to communities across the country – from pubs in the remote outback, to clubs in major capital cities.

Minister Fletcher noted “this funding will help the live music sector to re-emerge as Australians continue to get vaccinated and COVID-19 restrictions ease, allowing venues to begin to reopen and rebuild.

“It is important that our live music sector will be primed to host performances and gigs when permitted to do so, and by supporting these local venues now, we are increasing opportunities to see Australian artists get back on stage.”

73 grants under this round of the program are for activities that will take place from November this year, providing 99 venues with a boost as we re-emerge from the pandemic.

President of Warner Music Australasia and Member of the Creative Economy Taskforce, Dan Rosen, said the funding will help support the reopening of the live music industry, which has been profoundly disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Rosen advised “Artists and music fans around the country are looking forward to the full return of Australia’s vibrant live music sector. This sector makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy and in particular boosts our hospitality and tourism sectors, as well as employing many skilled workers.

“Live music venues and experiences activate thousands of venues across our cities, towns and regions, creating a dynamic sense of place and generating benefits for surrounding businesses.”

The Federal Government’s decision to commit $4.5 million to The Australian Ballet comes after the company’s recent announcement that uncertainty about state border restrictions and theatre capacities has required it to cancel its last two Sydney Opera House productions for 2021.

Minister Fletcher explained that the funding will provide a lifeline to these major arts employers and will support their continued operations following the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 adding “the Australian Ballet and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts are leading arts organisations, supporting accomplished and emerging artists, industry educators and leaders to succeed within our arts sector – but under current health orders they cannot hold live performances or deliver education and training in the performing arts.

“As the vaccine rollout continues and states and territories open up, we want to see venue doors thrown open to audiences; we want to see the curtains going up; and we want to see performers coming on stage to a welcoming roar of applause.”

Member of the Creative Economy Taskforce and Chief Executive Officer of Creative Partnerships Australia, Fiona Menzies, said the Fund is crucial to sustaining the arts and entertainment sector while it continues to overcome the devastating ripple effects caused by the pandemic.

Menzies added “we are committed to ensuring the nation’s leading arts organisations have a plan for recovery, and this funding is providing the momentum and support the sector needs to re-emerge when it is safe to do so.”

More than $37 million has now been allocated under the Fund to support 14 leading arts organisations across the country, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Queensland Ballet and Melbourne Theatre Company. Almost $13 million remains available in the Fund.

The Federal Government is investing more than $1 billion into the arts and creative sector in 2021-22.

Applications for round four of the Live Music Australia program will open later this year, with funding to support venues from mid-2022 as they continue to re-establish regular programming of original live Australian music.

This funding brings the Government’s investment to more than $8 million since the start of the program, supporting more than 300 live music venues and the recovery and sustainability of the live music sector.

Image top: courtesy Australian Ballet; Image above: Live Music Program

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