Adelaide to hold funeral & urgent summit for live entertainment sector
Hundreds of workers from the Adelaide live entertainment sector will spend most of Monday November 8 in attack, grief and solution modes.
In their sights are COVID restrictions limiting their finances, well-being and passion for creativity.
The day starts on Peel Street at 11 am with a funeral service for the hospitality, live music and supply chain sectors.
Arranged by the Hospo Owners Collective (HOC), which represents 130 bars and venues, eulogies will be delivered by its co-founder Jason Makarenko, West End Traders Association and Australian Hotels Association.
The mourners, dressed in black, will follow a hearse in a procession to a sausage sizzle wake.
“We’re in no man’s land at the moment,” said Makarenko, a musician and owner of La Sing Karaoke Bar.
One HOC venue is the city’s best-known music venue, The Governor ‘The Gov’ Hindmarsh.
“You look at their Facebook: cancellation after cancellation after cancellation.”
At 6pm, an industry summit begins at the Arkaba Hotel. Twelve speakers will discuss challenges, loss, solutions and rebirth.
“Shows aren’t selling, shifts are lost, and the loss of trade could be up to $100 million just from second half of the year,” said guitarist and promoter Rob Pippan who organised the meet.
“No one in the Government will listen to us, and letters to the premier Steve Marshall who is also the arts minister, are never answered.
“We can have 25,000 people at the football, and restaurants and shopping centres are full.
“Yet nightclubs and music venues are ‘high risk’. We just can’t get past this.”
Speakers and invitees include venue owners, musicians, DJs, promoters, managers, event organisers, booking agents, production firms, crews, support workers, associations and media.
“It’ll be the first time that every strand of the Adelaide music industry will come together,” added Pippan.
“I’ve been in the industry since the 1970s and I can attest to that.
“But we need as many different voices as possible to address our death knell. We want to make as much noise so they can’t ignore us.”
Members of the Government, SA Health and the Transition Committee (which decides which restrictions will be lifted) are also invited.
The latest events come after goal posts were shifted on when restrictions would lift.
The sector had been planning a return to full trading after being told caps would ease once SA hit an 80% vax target of ages 16 and up.
Operators say they make 35% to 45% of annual turnover between October 1 and December 31.
But new rules called for a 90% rate for those aged 12 and up, which means the sector will forfeit its peak season.
“We’re operating with a broken leg,” said Pippan.
In the run-up to the funeral and summit, horror stories continue to emerge.
Musicians are selling their guitars at bargain prices to eat. Events firm Five Four Entertainment admits it is steeling for bankruptcy.
Other companies have lost $400,000 since July. Venues as Lion Arts Factory and Enigma Bar are begging for help to stay open.
Makarenko described the situation “catastrophic”.
He estimated that of the 50,000 employed in the hospitality sector, and the 5,000 to 6,000 working in the music industry and the supply chain, 25% aren’t working or not getting the same income.
He warns that even if the power switches back on in the next few weeks, it’ll take another six to 12 months for musicians and venues to fully get back on their feet.
Three things Makarenko would suggest to the Premier:
“Understand the grassroots and the effect this is having.
“Understand the statistics because he’s in the media claiming we have the least harshest restrictions of anybody.
“If you’re not going to release these arbitrary restrictions, which are unnecessary for our industry, what financial and health assistance can he offer?
“At this point he hasn’t spoken about those at all.”