Entrepreneurs launch campaign to save live music in South Australia
The live industry is bloodied and bruised by the pandemic, with many venue operators facing uncertainty and closure.
The team behind Five Four Entertainment, Plus One Co. and Lion Arts Factory are facing that same crunch. And they’re taking a novel approach to help get back to business.
Craig Lock and Ross Osmon, co-founders and co-directors of Five Four Entertainment, Plus One Co. and Lion Arts Factory, a collective of South Australia’s leading live events music businesses, have launched a petition which they hope will get traction in the media and the halls of power, and, ultimately, swing their fortunes.
Launched by Lock, the Change.org petition calls on the South Australian government to show its support for the arts, as leaders have in neighbouring states.
Despite “consistent attempts and various approaches made to the South Australian government and directly to Premier and Arts Minister, Steven Marshall,” the accompanying letter reads, “we have not been able to secure any relevant funding or support proportionate to the impact on our group of businesses and the impact on the industry.”
Five Four Entertainment is predominately a festival and concert promoter responsible for delivering Spin Off Festival and Laneway Festival; Lion Arts Factory is a popular 600-capacity music venue located on North Terrace, Adelaide; and Plus One Co. is a club night promoter.
Prior to the pandemic, these businesses collectively employed 24 FYE staff, and generated a total yearly economic impact of $35 million, according to the petition.
But in the time since March 2020, trading across the businesses is down to 0-10% compared with a typical 18-month span.
Right now, two of these businesses, Five Four Entertainment and Lion Arts Factory, have up to six months until closing their doors for good.
To make matters “more impossible,” reads the petition, “we are still being charged 100% rent on our lease on the Lion Arts Factory from our landlords, the South Australian state government, despite state-based restrictions making it nearly impossible to trade.”
Further and “most pressing, the business’ lease is slated “to end in December 2021, and we have been given no answers as to a long-term lease extension despite extensive discussions with staff at the Department of Premier and Cabinet for the past 18 months.”
If Five Four Entertainment and Lion Arts Factory fail, the campaign letter warns, not only will 15 full-time jobs, $28 million in economic impact, over 100,000 festival and concert tickets and close to 2,500 flow on job roles and opportunities be lost, “the entire group, as well as the current contemporary South Australian music industry they have helped create, could collapse.”
Adelaide, despite its geographic isolation, has a proud music history.
The SA capital is the first, and only, designated UNESCO City of Music in Australia, and, in recent years, Adelaide has hosted Indie-Con and the AIR Awards.
The status of live music in South Australia is considered so important, British festival promoter and “live music thinker” Martin Elbourne was engaged by the Dunstan Foundation to write a report on it, the results of which published in 2013.
Visit the Save Lion Arts Factory and Five Four Entertainment campaign here.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.