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Western Australia’s live entertainment sector unhappy with state’s tighter event restrictions
Live entertainment industry representatives in Western Australia have warned that the state’s new restrictions for events will impact businesses which rely on festivals, advising that, as a result, some “simply won’t make it to next summer”.
Following the announcement of the new rules last week, Live Entertainment WA (LEWA), the state’s peak body for promoters and other businesses in the industry, has this week held urgent talks with Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer, Andrew Robertson.
During the meeting with Robertson, five members of LEWA and its health consultant asked for clarification of the guidelines and conveyed how devastating 2020 had been for the industry.
Association Vice President, John Zaccaria told The Music Network that Western Australia’s live restrictions are tougher than those in other states, adding that cricket and football matches with bigger crowds in less supervised situations have been allowed to go ahead.
Zaccaria advised “LEWA expected guidelines to be relaxed rather than tightened and is disappointed this did not happen.
“The industry has worked hard to abide by all guidelines and has had no instance of any COVID-19 infection or scare. There’s been no misbehaviour at all at any event run by LEWA members.
“Events have been cancelled, postponed and held in limbo as things clarify. The truth is that it is almost impossible to profitably promote successful live events with the current restrictions.”
Under the new restrictions for events, concerts with permanent and temporary fixed seating must now have a minimum of two square metres per person, while seating groups 1.5 metres apart and have no dance area, stage or moshpit. These venues will also be required to have a maximum of 10,000 patrons, cut alcohol service after six hours and have a ticketing or a contact register system.
The rules alsostate that at concerts with no fixed seating with patrons bringing their own chairs or picnic rugs, they must remain seated, and attendance is capped to 6,000. LEWA asked authorities to raise the audience cap from 6,000 to 12,000 to counterbalance the fees paid to performers and additional COVID-related costs as marshals, security and sanitising stations.
During festivals where alcohol is the primary focus, including, but not limited to, music and beer/wine festivals, restrictions include a ban on visible stages, entertainment, performances or focal points of interest.
They will have a maximum of six hours of alcohol service, 10,000 patrons and ticketing must facilitate collection of the minimum required contact information for each attendee, to facilitate contact tracing.
In addition, dance floors and stages are permitted at events with up to 1,500 people, bringing the guidelines in line with indoor venues as pubs and clubs.
Western Australia’s Department of Health said it had expected to relax restrictions after its three-month review, but outbreaks on in other Australian states and new COVID strains have halted those plans.
They will now be reassessed in March.
WA Health also noted that some events had not adhered to their own COVIDSafe rules, and a more “defined set of requirements for a range of event formats” was needed to be staged in a “consistent manner across the state.”
Its guidelines warn “failure to comply with a COVID Event Plan may result in the event being closed down or future COVID Event Plans by the event organiser being rejected.
“It may also impact future events by the same artist performing in a similar format.”
14th January 2021 - Playing WA supports performing arts tours across Western Australia
24th December 2020 - Western Australian firm to develop Perth Cultural Centre masterplan
23rd December 2020 - In the House expands arts and cultural activity in regional Western Australia
17th December 2020 - Inaugural Cultural Infrastructure Framework released for Western Australia
6th November 2020 - Western Australian Theatre Development Initiative backs renewed stage activity
11th January 2021 - Promoter Tony Cochrane winds up International Entertainment Consulting
22nd October 2020 - Festival promoters call for Federal Government insurance scheme
2nd November 2020 - Perth to stage inaugural International Cabaret Festival in June next year
16th December 2020 - Coronavirus halted booming year for Australia’s live music sector
23rd October 2020 - Survey shows over 400 Australian Live Music Businesses face imminent closure
11th August 2020 - Federal Government announces guidelines on live music restart funding
3rd January 2016 - WA Health issues drug and alcohol warning to summer festival fans
29th April 2020 - Family-owned Perth venue reboots with new concept during COVID-19
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