Australia News: Letter From Live Sector, Harvey Lister, eMusic Live & More

– Roger Field of Live Nation

Live Sector Puts Heat On Health Officers Over Venue Capacities

Australia’s live music sector is applying pressure on chief health officers, who advise governments on COVID safety measures, urging them to increase audience capacities in small-to medium-sized music venues from 30% to 50%. Major sports events are allowed 50,000 patrons.
On June 11, when Melbourne came off a fourth, two-week lockdown, 200 executives – including Live Nation Australasia’s president Roger Field and chairman Michael Coppel, Mushroom Group CEO Matt Gudinski and Frontier Touring COO Dion Brant, TEG CEO Geoff Jones, TEG Dainty president and CEO Paul Dainty – issued an open letter to Victoria’s CHO Brett Sutton. The signatories also included as heads of other promoters, agencies, venues, associations, hospitality groups, festivals and artists.
The letter asked Sutton to work with them to lift all restrictions and provide a roadmap and timeline to return to pre-lock down settings.
“(Melbourne) is recognized as the live music capital of the world with more live music venues (538) per capita than any other city in the world, and countless renowned restaurant and hospitality venues,” the letter advised.
“Yet our sectors are facing financial ruin due to a lack of trust, understanding and meaningful dialogue.  For social, creative and economic reasons we must be trusted to literally stand on our own two feet. Trust us, we won’t let you down.”
Save Our Scene, Music Victoria and Victoria’s chapter of the Australian Hotels Association initiated campaigns that 100% of patrons would fill in contact tracing details at their venues.
Live Performance Australia also sent out a post calling on capacities to return to pre-COVID levels. Its chief executive Evelyn Richardson noted “The financial impact of this 14-day lock down on our companies and people is massive. 
“Companies lost millions of dollars, hundreds of performances have been cancelled, staff have been stood down. This is a massive blow for an industry only just getting back on its feet.”
Rather than prolonged restrictions, there needed to be confidence in the state’s surveillance systems and contact tracing, she suggested.
Queensland music association QMusic’s CEO Angela Samut, president Natalie Strijland and John Collins, co-owner of Brisbane’s The Triffid and Fortitude Music Hall, met with chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young about 100% capacity.
“Along with capacity restrictions, the end of (wage subsidy) JobKeeper, international borders closed until at least 2022, interstate lockdowns, hotspots and quarantine requirements, has seen our live music venues brought to their knees and without a big financial commitment now from the state government, we may lose an industry which has long been the envy of the other states,” they stated.

– Harvey Lister of ASM Global

ASM Global’s Harvey Lister Honored By Queen

Harvey Lister, chairman and CEO of ASM Global (Asia Pacific) was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2021. It was for significant service to the arts, tourism, sport and to the venue management and events industries. 
Queensland-based Lister started out promoting suburban dances in Brisbane in the early ‘70s and moved into venue management in 1986 with the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Following the 2019 merger of AEG Facilities and SMG, his new role at ASM Global (Asia Pacific) covered Australia, New Zealand, India, Asia and the Middle East.
ASM Global president and CEO Ron Bension said, “This extraordinary honor is recognition of Harvey Lister’s lifetime dedication to the entertainment and events industry in Australia. His passion, innovation and determination to advance the sector is unmatched.”
Lister received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2020 Australian Event Awards last October.

James Morgan
– Tina Arena

Tina Arena, Crowded House launch eMusic Live in Australia 

Following its success in the US, Canada, UK and Europe, 7digital and eMusic’s livestreaming joint venture eMusic Live launched in Australia.
“We are very excited about the Australian market and the wonderful acts our great team has assembled and look forward to working with further exciting artists,” chairman Tamir Koch said in a statement.
Kicking off with Tina Arena from Perth’s RAC Arena and Crowded House in New Zealand, the Aussie program continues with The Veronicas, Hoodoo Gurus, Cosmic Psychos and The Chats.
Curating local livestreams are Danny Keenan, who held senior roles at Foxtel, Albert Music and Warner Music, record producer Hilton Rosenthal, and Hylton Chilchik heading up tech production and operations.
NSW Green-Lights First Special Entertainment Precinct
New South Wales (NSW) had its first Special Entertainment Precinct green-lighted. The status protects music venues from noise complaints, extends trading hours and reduces base fees and capacity loadings on their liquor license. 
It also removes overlapping regulations that duplicate functions and creates uncertainty for businesses and the community. 
The Inner West Council in Sydney designated Enmore Road including the 2,500 capacity Enmore Theatre, owned by Century Venues. 
Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne, a long time live music supporter called it “a groundbreaking change will give real incentives for venues to host live music” and urged other councils to follow suit to make Sydney a 24-hour city.
Queensland declared its first precinct in 2006 in Fortitude Valley, in six years drawing 50,000 on weekends to the area, and swelling the among of music venues trading until 3am to 30. It was followed by the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast with similar moves for Perth and Canberra.

NightQuarter Shut Down Over Health Breaches
Queensland health authorities gave Sunshine Coast entertainment precinct NightQuarter 24 hours to close down until further notice. As next day’s shows were hastily cancelled, co-owner Michelle Christou called the abrupt closure “an abuse of process and sets a dangerous precedent for other live music venues.”
But Queensland Health argued the public had complained about NightQuarter’s occupant density and physical distancing requirements during events, and given warnings before.

Splendour In The Grass To Pop Up In Sydney
When Splendour In The Grass continues working on its rescheduled three day stint in November in its traditional home in Byron Bay, it is set to announce a pop-up initiative with the New South Wales government called Splendour In The City. 
It will curate nine days of music in Sydney with the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge as a strategy by the government to bring people back to the CBD. Foot traffic in May 2021 was down 22% pre-pandemic.  
Government funding would ensure all proceeds went to artists.