Australia: Government Convenes Task Force, Falls Postpones, Simmons Launches Press Play Presents

– Australia’s Parliament House

Australian Government Convenes Task Force, Parliamentary Inquiry For Music & Arts Future
A Creative Economy Task Force and a parliamentary inquiry into the post-pandemic landscape are two initiatives from the Australian government to set the country’s music and arts up for recovery.
Paul Piticco, co-CEO of Secret Sounds Group (Falls, Splendour In The Grass), Adelaide Festival co-artistic director Rachel Healy, Darwin Festival chair Ian Kew; former Perth Festival chair John Barrington; and Dan Rosen, CEO of the Australian Recording Industry Association, are part of the 12-person task force.
Its role is to help restart the creative economy and disperse the A$250 million ($184 million) from the JobMaker scheme to support musicians and art workers; assist with practical issues as managing physical distancing and travel; articulate the economic and job creation contribution of the creative economy and its role in the country’s recovery.

– Rachel Healy
Arts minister Paul Fletcher said, “The Creative Economy Task force will play a critical role supporting the return of Australia’s vibrant, much loved arts scene following the impacts of COVID-19.
“The members of the Task force bring a breadth of experience across many aspects of our arts and cultural sector. 
“They will bring together their extensive expertise in arts and business to inform the Government’s work to support recovery efforts sector-wide.”
The government’s A$90 million ($66.3 million) loan scheme for the sector “is in advanced development” with banks, the minister said.
The parliamentary inquiry will seek feedback from the sector on how the business changed and recommendations to strengthen cultural and creative industries. Its chair, Dr. David Gillespie said. “It’s time to reflect on and re-think the way we create and interact with art, as we react to the pandemic and the challenges we need to overcome.”

Falls Festival ‘Takes A Raincheck’ For 2020

Falls Festival
– Falls Festival

The national Falls Festival, held during New Year’s holidays, has decided to “take a raincheck” for 2020. Promoters Secret Sounds tried to keep the traditionally sold-out event going while others succumbed to COVID-19 restrictions, stating “in May, as the nation seemed to be moving into recovery mode, we were optimistic about forging ahead and supporting our local industry with an all Aussie edition of Falls Festival. 
“However, given the current status of things and border restrictions in place, it won’t be possible to hold Falls Festival in our regular New Year’s timeframe.” They added, “Consider this a raincheck and please know we will be back with more information as it comes to hand.”
The last available attendance figures for Falls were 18,000 in Byron Bay, 17,500 for Lorne in Victoria and 15,000 for Fremantle in Western Australia. In July Secret Sounds scrapped the Marion Bay, Tasmania, stop (16,000) for the indefinite future for economic reasons.
Press Play Presents Launches With International Roster
– Sean Simmons

Sean Simmons, one time booking agent with Michael Gudinski’s Premier Artists and programmer of Melbourne’s Leaps And Bounds festival, launched his own agency Press Play Presents with a roster of 40 acts.

International names as Lydia Lunch, Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds, Mudhoney, SWANS, Steve Polt, Jonathan Bree and James Chance & The Contortions fit in with Aussie acts as European chart busters Cookin’ On 3 Burners, Mick Harvey of Bad Seeds/ PJ Harvey fame, The Triffids, The Scientists and Died Pretty,
Simmons told Pollstar “The industry is still working its way through how concerts and tours will be structured when things are reactivated. But one thing’s certain: livetreaming  will remain with us as part of the new normal because it opens up acts and events to global audiences. Leaps And Bounds, which stages in Melbourne, went online for the first time this year, and 30% of its audience came from outside Australia.”
Alanis Morissette Delays ‘Pill’ Tour For Second Time
The Down Under leg of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill Tour was postponed a second time due to coronavirus. 
Originally pushed from March 2020 to November, Live Nation has now re-rescheduled to November 2021 citing “ongoing travel restrictions and border closures in and between Australia and New Zealand, and the continued limitations around mass gatherings in Australia.”
The return of level 2 restrictions on travel and gatherings in New Zealand saw Auckland band The Beths reschedule 13 August shows behind their new Jump Rope Gazers album to October.
Amanda Palmer delayed her August shows to October. Her sold out dates in March finished stints in Auckland and Christchurch. But Wellington was scrapped after restrictions, and Palmer was in lockdown in NZ with son Ash.

– Sonia Kruger, new host of The Voice Australia

The Voice Australia Switches Channels
Free-to-air Seven Network pounced on rights to ratings hit The Voice Australia from Nine Network which has broadcast it since its beginning in 2012.
Seven’s director of programming, Angus Ross said: “Our plans to supercharge the format are well underway.” The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Seven will spend $15-$20 million ($11.04— $14.7million) on its first season in 2021, “less than half of what it was costing Channel Nine.”
Seven presenter Sonia Kruger takes on hosting duties. If the changes affect judges Boy George, Kelly Rowland, Guy Sebastian and Delta Goodrem remain to be seen.

Perth Venues Return To Action After Pandemic
The state government-run Perth Concert Hall, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Government House Ballroom restarted classical concerts to sell-outs after a five month closure due to the pandemic. 
They return as the government announced in early August they’d benefit from its A$76 million ($55.9 million) arts recovery package. The Concert Hall gets A$30 million ($22 million) for upgrades over three years while Her Majesty’s receives A$15 million ($11 million) for renovations which include reinstating original balconies and verandahs to provide new event spaces. 

Promoters Inducted Into Hall of Fame
– Peter Darwin
The South Australian music hall of fame inducted promoter Peter Darwin in its August event. His achievements included running venues as Fowler’s Live for 15 years, launching the South Australian Music Awards and, according to folklore, sneaking a python into Motley Crue’s dressing room.
The September induction will honor Elaine & Jim Counihan who built up the local scene from the early ‘70s with venues as Largs Pier, The Arkaba, The Bridgeway, The Shandon Hotel and Adelaide Uni Bar.