Australia: Victoria, South Australia Make Funds Available For Venues; Sydney, Melbourne Venues Go On Market
Two States Throw Lifelines To Music Venues
Following lobbying from the live sector, two states announced survival packages for coronavirus-hit music venues and performers.
South Australia outlined on May 16 an A$1 million ($642,885) Music Development Office Project, offering up to A$5,000 ($3,214) to musicians and $20,000 ($12,858) to music businesses. Of those funds, A$400,000 ($257,143) went to the 600-capacity Governor Hindmarsh (aka The Gov) after it drew 10,000 signatures for an online petition to save it from possible permanent closure in September.
Innovation and skills minister David Pisoni said, “South Australia’s music industry contributes A$170 million ($109.2 million) to the South Australian economy and employs more than 2,300 people – this investment in the sustainability of The Gov is an investment in the broader live music ecosystem.”
The state of Victoria, home to Australia’s live music capital Melbourne, announced a further funding of A$32.3 million ($20.7 million) towards its creative sector surviving COVID-19. This is in addition to the earlier A$16.8 million ($10.7 million) Creative Industries Survival Package for the small to medium and independent sector.
A$4 million ($2.57 million) of the fresh funding is set aside for a dedicated Music Industry Support Package, which includes $2.5 million ($1.6 million) for future recording, marketing and touring; and $1.5 million ($964,057) for training, and mentoring for music industry workers.
More Venues Go On The Market
The pandemic continues to collect more scalps, as the 20-year old Surry Hills, Sydney music and comedy space Café Lounge is not returning. “With recent lockout laws, rising operating costs in a rapidly changing neighborhood, we knew quickly this pandemic was going to be our end,” owners said.
Three Melbourne venues are on the market, the 300-capacity Spotted Mallard is asking A$200,000 ($128,551). for the leasehold, The Gasometer which has a retractable roof above the bandroom has a A$250,000 ($160,693) price tag, and the building that hosts long time Revolver Upstairs nightclub on the famous Chapel Street strip in Prahran seeks A$20 million ($12.8 million).
– Michael Gudinsik (right) with Michael Chugg (left) and Chugg Entertainment managing director Susan Heyman who’re also on the Top 50
Live Music Execs Dominate Top Power 50 List
Live music executives dominated The Power 50, the annual list from youth publisher TheMusic, with the Top 10 featuring seven. Frontier Touring and Mushroom Group’s Michael Gudinski topped the list, with Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, co-CEOS of Secret Sounds (Splendour in the Grass, Falls festivals) at No. 4.
Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field was at #4, TEG chief executive Geoff Jones at #7, Illusive Presents co-founder and Mushroom Group executive director Matt Gudinski at #8 and music export body Sounds Australia executive director Millie Millgate at No. 9.
Others in the Top 10 were Sony Music chair & CEO Denis Handlin (No. 2), Universal Music Australia president George Ash (No. 3) Spotify head of music Alicia Sbrugnera (No. 6) and Apple Music business partnerships head Katie Hardwick (No. 10).
Powderfinger, Hilltop Hoods, Captain Matchbox Offer Fundraising For Support Act
Major acts announced initiatives to raise money for the music industry’s financial, health and wellbeing charity Support Act. Crisis relief applications have increased by 700% and calls to the helpline up 60% CEO Clive Miller said.
Powderfinger return from a 10-year hiatus for a one-off set on its YouTube channel May 23 at 7 p.m. AEST. One Night Lonely will also donate to anti-depression charity Beyond Blue, which saw a 59% rise in calls from same period last year.
While meeting to organize releases around the anniversary of its album Odyssey Number 5, “the idea came up of playing together again in this unusual format which we all thought would be fun. The past few months has been a very strange time for us all and difficult days for many.”
The act, which had five chart topping albums in its home market, played to 300,000 on its Sunsets Farewell Tour in 2010.
Focusing on Support Act’s Roadies Fund are hip-hop powerhouse Hilltop Hoods and 1970s political swing and jazz outfit Captain Matchbox.
The Hoods donated all royalties from its new single “I’m Good,” while Island Records/Universal Music Australia, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Blue Max Music management and Media Arts Lawyers chipped in $2,500 each to kick off.
Captain Matchbox’s Live At Ormond Hall 2011 was released as part of the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA)’s Desk Tape Series, available on all major streaming services and CD.
It is the third of the series of tapes made by their sound engineers after political folk-rockers Redgum and masked art-rockers TISM. The Matchbox issue was from a three-night run at Melbourne’s Ormond Hall during a reunion tour.
COVID-19 Causes Gympie Muster To Cancel, Woodford Folk To Consider Downsizing
Queensland country music festival Gympie Music Muster, to stage at Amamoor State Forest late August cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19. It draws 22,000 over four days and raises about A$150,000 ($96,386) each year for charity and community groups.
“While restrictions on movement and gatherings may ease by August, it has become clear that moving forward with the Muster this year is just not tenable or responsible,” Muster chairman Greg Cavanagh said, confirming the festival will return 2021 to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
In the meantime, Woodford Folk Festival will announce in July if it will go ahead late December/ early January. The major event draws an aggregate 125,000 patrons to its Woodfordia site for 1,600 performances over 25 stages, and pumps A$20 million ($12.8 million) to the local economy a year.
Director Bill Hauritz told ABC Radio the only way to stage this year was at a reduced size. “Because of our capability of putting on the big show, we would have needed to have started long before this, so that’s not an option really for this year,” he said.
“We would have to let go of our amphitheatre program, probably drop the circus venue and a couple of others, probably reduce the numbers, put a cap on it.”
Daydream Nation Launches
Publicist of 21 years, Stacey Piggott, launched Daydream Nation, a PR and marketing agency specializing in music, entertainment, digital strategy, crisis management, brand integration, personal profile and events.
Most recently head of PR at Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco’s Secret Sounds, Piggott has picked from its ranks for her new venture Alycia Emmerson as head of marketing, Shari Hindmarsh as senior account director and Parisse Toledo as publicist.