Aussie Live Biz Calls For Govt. Assistance Over Coronavirus; Download, Bluesfest To Continue

Bluesfest crowd
– Bluesfest crowd

The Australian live biz has followed the advice of  peak association Live Performance Australia (LPA) to “keep the doors open and lights on” as the coronavirus has significantly affected turnouts to associated sectors including hospitality, tourism and travel.

But cancellation of festivals and trade fairs abroad has led to apprehension, particularly as SXSW’s cancellation was caused by local authorities under emergency rules.
The fear is that it could happen Down Under.
LPA has been in talks with state and federal health authorities to include the live sector in any decision-making regarding restricting or cancelling events.
It additionally revealed, March 10, that its chef executive Evelyn Richardson has written to federal arts minister Paul Fletcher asking that festivals, venues and promoters be kept in mind as part of the Australian government’s promised $10 billion (US$6.57 billion) stimulus package for the nation.
 “We would be seeking some kind of ­reserve or compensation fund to assist in keeping venues open, companies operating (and) managing financial flow-on from any cancellations,” Richardson wrote. 
“Our focus, like the government’s, is keeping our businesses open and people employed at the same time as maintaining public health and safety.
“Like other industries, we are looking at the risks and scenarios. If there were limitations on public events then we would want to be part of any stimulus package.”
LPA figures put the sector’s contribution to the national economy at $2.5 billion ($1.64 billion) and employs 34,000 people. 

Download Australia Poster
– Download Australia Poster
Two of the biggest approaching music festivals have confirmed they are going ahead.
Download Australia announced March 10 it will stage March 20 in Melbourne and March 21 in Sydney, with “safety of our artists, fans, and staff is always our top priority and planned for accordingly.”
Last year both shows drew a total of 40,000.
The 2020 festival had to replace Lacuna Coil with Bronx when the Italian goth-metal act pulled shows in the region.
Bluesfest Byron Bay (April 9-13) which draws an aggregated 100,000, alerted patrons to releases from the NSW Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) that attending such events would be low-risk.
Festival director Peter Noble posted, “We want to assure you that we are currently implementing the recommended extra safety measures and additional facilities in order to consider the general health and safety of patrons, artists and staff at the event.”
Additional hand sanitisation facilities will be installed at toilets and throughout the site.
Noble told ticketholders, “Your ticket purchase is fully insured in case of cancellation due to this pandemic.”
In the meantime, music export body Sounds Australia has been advising the 43 acts that were to showcase at SXSW what to do next.
Its executive producer Millie Millgate said,  “We are most heartbroken and feel for (them).
“It is a huge achievement to have been selected from the 7,000 plus artists that apply each year. 
“To have lost this opportunity after spending several months and thousands of dollars preparing and planning is devastating.”
Affected acts as Mo’Ju, Alice Skye, Alex The Astronaut, Ali Barter, San Mei and Jaguar Jonze posted on social media they were looking forward to attending in 2021 while others said they had other US dates booked as well.