Australia: Omicron A Major Disrupter To Summer Events; Trial Live Music Precincts In Sydney

Enmore Theatre
– Enmore Theatre
NOISES OFF: Sydney, Australia’s Enmore Theater is in one of the trial live music precincts announced recently by the New South Wales government, and protected from frivolous noise complaints.


Omicron A Major Disrupter To Summer Events
Safety measures imposed to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant had dismaying repercussions for a live sector expecting a post-pandemic revival early 2022.
At the same time, two music festivals set alarm bells ringing when they turned out to be super-spreaders during the holiday period.
In most states, a ban on singing and dancing closed nightclubs until Jan. 27. Music venues  audience capacities were slashed to 30% and patrons had to sit while drinking.
Many of these planned to temporarily close before restrictions anyway, with crowd numbers down and a struggle to find staff.
“Why would you open at this time?” shrugged Jake Smyth, co-owner of The Lansdowne and Mary’s Underground.
“Extremely disappointing,” commented Stephen Wade, CEO of Select Music agency and chair of the Australian Live Music Business Council, on the reversals for the live sector.
Among major January festivals and events that cancelled or postponed were the 10-day Tamworth Country Music Festival and its Golden Guitar music awards, Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania, Sydney’s inaugural King Street Carnival spread over 32 venues, Melbourne’s Hot Sauce EDM dance party and Adelaide’s HomeBrewed, which estimated it lost A$5 million ($3.59 million as a result of the closure.
Music associations meanwhile amped up calls for a national insurance scheme for COVID-hit events, and promoted their mental health services expecting an upsurge of demand.
Party In The Apocalypse (Dec. 27-28) in Launceston, Tasmania, had 25 COVID cases.
Elements (Dec. 16-19), taking place inland from the Sunshine Coast, also had “dozens” of cases, according to health authorities. 
But a definite figure was not available immediately: organizers said they followed Queensland Health guidelines but were unable to conduct app-based QR code check-ins as there was no WiFi at the venue. 
Trial Live Music Precincts For Sydney
The New South Wales (NSW) government is to announce trial live music precincts in Sydney.
It’s held discussions with the City of Sydney, Inner West and Lake Macquarie councils.
Rob Stokes, the New South Wales minister for planning and public spaces said, “This is a great initiative to help our live music industry and hospitality sector to get back on their feet following the COVID-19 pandemic. “We want to see the NSW nighttime economy grow while ensuring it’s diverse, vibrant, safe and inclusive.”
The Inner West Council, which has the most music venues in the city, has chosen the area along the main streets of Newtown, Marrickville and Leichhardt.
This means stand-out venues such as the Enmore Theatre, The Factory Theatre, Metro Theatre,   Camelot and Lazybones are protected from frivolous noise complaints.
In recent weeks, the NSW government changed many rules to make it easier to host live acts.

Promoter Campbell Smith Honored

Promoter and manager Campbell Smith was made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for “services to the music industry.”
Operating CRS Music Management since 1995 – clients include Benee and Brooke Fraser – Smith earlier ran Auckland City Limits and the NZ leg of Big Day Out, and launched the annual Winery Tour which reached 400,000.
A strong advocate of artist rights, he helped set up the Recording Artists and Producers Fund to ensure broadcasting royalties, and chaired the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust and MusicHelps.
Also honored was jazz musician and academic Rodger Fox, who won New Zealand Jazz Recording of the Year for five of 44 albums.