Fresh Government Funding Helps Live Sector Prepare For Reactivation
The Australian government announced two schemes Aug. 11 worth A$95 million ($68.2 million) to help the live sector prepare for re-entry.
The A$75 million ($53.8 million) Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund provides grants between A$75,000 ($53.872) and A$2 million ($1.43 million) for arts organizations, companies and promoters for new events, activities and productions.
Minster for the arts Paul Fletcher said, “The grants will allow the arts sector reactivate, re-imagine and create new cultural experiences, including innovative operating and digital delivery models. This will help keep artists, performers, roadies, front of house staff and all those who work behind the scenes employed.”
The A$20 million ($14.3 million) Live Music Australia fund is designed to support gig opportunities, generate industry partnerships and collaborations, and assist venues re-open after restrictions lift.
New Guidelines Outlined For Sector Return
With some states reintroducing live music events and others changing policies as second waves hit, associations are providing guidelines to the new landscape.
The Australian Live Music Business Council representing 480 small-to-middle businesses, produced The National Gig Ready Dashboard to update restrictions state by state. Pixie Weyand, owner of Brisbane venue The Zoo said of changing rules: “The last few months have been not just stressful, but really confusing.”
Many incurred fines for social distancing breaches. In Sydney, six were fined in one weekend, with one, The Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle paying A$10,000 ($7,184) for repeated offending.
The NSW Liquor and Gaming warned that multiple breaches could lead to temporary closures.
Live Performance Australia, while warning, “The resumption of live performance touring will be a complex process,” published a set of COVID-safe directives covering shows, auditions and rehearsals. They do not cover music festivals or large-scale events. Regulations for these are being developed by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum, which formed in June.
Levi’s, Fender Offer Relief To Musicians
The local operations of Levi’s and Fender are offering aid to musicians during the pandemic.
The latest installment of Levi's Music Relief Fund offered A$4,000 ($2,874) each to singer songwriter Angie McMahon, rappers L-FRESH The LION, Mo’Ju and Jesswar, and rock band Eliza & The Delusionals, to help with projects plus access to workshops and online courses to assist with self-development and mental health.
Fender is raising money for music charity Support Act. It’s raffling off four guitars signed by Hoodoo Gurus, Cold Chisel, Violent Soho and Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, the latter’s scrawled with “BORED TO DEATH” and issued a new A$35 ($24.15) guitar strap emblazoned with #SupportLiveMusic.
Executive Changes At Adelaide Fringe, Support Act, Festival Centre Trust
Legally-trained business leader Kate Costello is new chair of Adelaide Fringe.
She brings skills in strategy, governance and commercial law to the board. The 2020 Fringe delivered a record A$96.7 million ($69.4 million) in gross economic expenditure to South Australia’s economy, from A$66.3 million ($47.6 million) in 2014.
After an increase in First Nations artists, crew and music workers accessing music charity Support Act’s crisis relief and mental health & wellbeing services, artist manager, events manager and case support worker with indigenous child case and families, Cerisa Grant, filled the newly created position of First Nations community engagement / social worker.
After 15 years in the role, founder director of Fremantle Arts Centre Jim Cathcart, has resigned, effective Sept. 4.
Valmay Hill, one time Brisbane Festival CEO and project director at Sydney Opera House, has taken over as chair of Brisbane Powerhouse.
The Adelaide Festival Centre Trust appointed company director Jim Hazel chair, chosen for “his financial acumen and wide experience of the corporate and commercial sector” and actor and director Mitchell Butel as board member.
Two Major Folk Festivals Latest COVID Cancellations
Two long running folk festivals were cancelled within 24 hours after options to scale down seemed unfeasible.
The 35th Woodford Folk in Queensland (Dec. 27 to Jan. 1), which draws an aggregated 130,000, will instead use its 500-acre site as a five-day camping holiday Bushtime in September with evening concerts, discussions, bushwalking and workshops.
With Victoria’s restrictions looking like being extended to next year, the 44-year old Port Fairy Folk which draws 12,000 a day to its site and an additional 20,000 to the host seaside village rescheduled from March 5-8 2021 to the second weekend of March 2022.
New Festival To Illuminate Adelaide
Adelaide gets a new winter festival Illuminate July 2021.
Over two weeks and three weekends, it will take over streets, laneways and buildings with light, art installations, immersive technology, music, performance, discussions and ideas.
Creative directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge’s Illuminate Adelaide Foundation partners with Arts Projects Australia to manage and present, and the South Australian Tourism Commission. Illuminate is expected to be a major tourism draw: a similar concept in Melbourne, White Night, draws 500,000.
State premier Steve Marshall said, “South Australia is a leader in the arts and future technology, and this event brings those together in what will be a huge drawcard for tourism into Adelaide during the usually quieter winter period.
“For sectors like the arts, creative industries and tourism, which have been hit by both bushfires and COVID-19, Illuminate Adelaide will be critical for enticing visitors into the city and into cafes, restaurants, hotels and retail, and recovering our state’s A$7.8 billion ($5 billion) visitor economy.”
Mi-Sex Bassist Don Martin Dies
Don Martin, bass player and founder member of ’80s multi-platinum band Mi-Sex passed away at his home in Northern New South Wales as a result of prostate cancer. He was 66.
Formed in New Zealand, the band moved to Sydney in the late ’70s where they clicked with a mix of synth-pop and futuristic themes. Their debut single “Computer Games” cracked the charts in the US and Canada, where they toured with Iggy Pop and The Ramones.
The band split in 1984 after a dozen hits Down Under. In between sporadic reunions, Martin headed a startup pastry business Bob & Pete’s 100% Yum which became the biggest privately owned bakery/distribution concern in NSW.