The Brag Media ▼
News April 14, 2020

Australia’s live concert industry in 2020: Predictions

Senior Journalist, B2B
Australia’s live concert industry in 2020: Predictions

With Bluesfest wiped from the calendar and life shuffling on in lockdown, Easter 2020 was more subdued than a gardening session with your grandma. But if you tapped out of Netflix for a time on Sunday, there was a ray of sunshine from an unlikely source.

Perhaps feeling the joy of some downtime, the federal trade and tourism minister Simon Birmingham told Australians to dream a little. To start planning for domestic holidays.

Senator Birmingham appeared on ABC News Breakfast to deliver his own heartwarming Easter message. Though international borders will remain closed for quite some time, possibly until well into 2021, the rest of Australia should awaken from its slumber in the months ahead.

“This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for some time to come,” he explained, though “there may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again.”

Travel restrictions could be eased within states in the months ahead. “We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, planning, thinking about the Aussie break that you might take when we finally get to the other side of this.”

It’s the closest thing we have to a timeline for a return to life, in these strange times.

It wasn’t all cheery stuff. When pitched a hypothetical, Birmingham wouldn’t give “any guarantees” that overseas trips booked for December 2020 could go ahead. That also means, no internationals entering Australia.

If that’s the new reality, UNIFY Gathering 2021 might just be a template for the post-pandemic live scene. The harder-edged festival will go ahead next year with a homegrown bill. No foreign talent blocked at immigration, no problem.

A rather chilling report published on the weekend by the New York Times suggests the U.S. live scene won’t return to normal until 2021, at the earliest.

“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest,” said Zeke Emanuel, a Center For American Progress oncologist and bioethicist.

The Bloody Beetroots at Up Down Festival

The Bloody Beetroots at Up Down Festival

That’s a dire scenario, and Live Performance Australia isn’t painting a rosier picture. LPA is working on a tentative six-month timeframe, based on conversations with government. “We were the first impacted,” comments LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson, “and will be the last to come out.”

LPA hasn’t scored the $650 million Coronavirus support package presented to government. Urgent “targeted measures” will be needed from the government, and a “bounce back” plan will be essential, says Richardson.

In the meantime, we can dream on. If interstate border travel is relaxed in the months ahead, as Birmingham has suggested, all-Australian lineups will take centre stage in the “bounce back.”

Homegrown bills are the immediate future.

The big test awaits for organisers of Splendour in the Grass, which is repositioned later in the year by exactly three months. Splendour’s bill, as it stands, features a long list of internationals, including headliners The Strokes, Tyler, The Creator, and local lad Flume, who’s currently lives abroad.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


Powered by
Looking to hire? List your vacancy today!

Related articles