Aussie Entertainment & Sports Promoters, Associations, Venues Establish Live Entertainment Industry Forum
Australia’s biggest entertainment and sports promoters, associations and venues have set up the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) to work out strategies to reboot the sector in July after COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.
The idea is to work with government, businesses and audiences to convince them that the live sector can operate safely, flexibly and sustainably on its return, and to discuss how various governments can help the return of live events.
The strategy is expected to include guidelines for sanitisation, crowd management, physical distancing, health monitoring and contact tracing.
A mission statement on the new forum’s website explained, “LEIF will put in place a comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry re-opening and risk management strategy that meets the needs of the public, governments and performers and industry, with safety at its core.”
The LEIF executive committee includes Andrew Daniels (CEO, Adelaide Oval SMA), Daryl Kerry (CEO, ANZ Stadium, Venues Live), David Etherton (CEO, Venues West), Dion Brant (COO, Frontier Touring/Chugg Entertainment/AEG Live), Evelyn Richardson (CEO, Live Performance Australia), Geoff Jones (CEO, TEG), Harvey Lister (chairman and chief executive, ASM Global), John Harnden (chief executive, Melbourne & Olympic Parks), Julia Robinson (CEO, Australian Festival Association), Kerrie Mather (CEO, SCG Trust), Michael Cassel (CEO/producer, Michael Cassel Group), Roger Field (CEO, Live Nation Australasia), Steve Harper (chair, Venue Management Association), Stuart Fox (CEO, Melbourne Cricket Club/Melbourne Cricket Ground) and Travis Auld (chief financial officer and general ,anager of clubs and broadcasting at the Australian Football League.
Former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland will chair the committee. He said the cultural, creative and sports industries employs 175,000, many on a casual or part time basis.
The sector also contributes an estimated A$150 billion ($105.3 million) to the Australian economy.
“This pandemic has brought our industry to a complete standstill,” according to Sutherland. “Our industry was the first to close during Covid-19 and it will be one of the last to fully re-open.
“We need a clear roadmap to get our industry back to work, while playing a bigger role in the post Covid-19 economic recovery of our nation.
“We are committed to working with all states and territories, especially with their chief medical and health officers.
“We will develop CovidSafe best practices and a world-leading response to revive our industry, get people back to work and bring fans back together throughout Australia through the unbeatable power of live events.”
Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG, pointed out: “Our industry has to work together at this challenging time. We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people safely.”
Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia, added: “Live events and mass gatherings are not solely for recreational purposes – they play a crucial part in the fabric of Australian life.
“Just as sport plays an important role in promoting healthy behaviours, so too do music and the performing arts.
“The positive impact culture brings to society is not only seen both psychologically and in social well-being, but in the fact that the live events industry contributes hundreds of thousands of jobs, which flows on and effects the whole economy.”
The two major sporting codes are working on a strategy of playing empty stadiums.
But negotiations are currently under way to allow in a limited number of spectators based on one person for every four square metres.
Live music venues can reopen to restricted crowds – currently varying from 20% to 50% – depending on each state.
But they argue that this is not a sustainable model, and that governments should either increase that to 75% capacity or provide financial support.