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News March 3, 2022

That sinking feeling: Qld’s creatives ‘disheartened and displaced’ after latest floods

Senior Journalist, B2B
That sinking feeling: Qld’s creatives ‘disheartened and displaced’ after latest floods

First bushfires, then a pandemic. Now flooding is washing away so much of the live music industry’s hard-fought gains.

In Brisbane, where low-lying and riverside residences around the city are currently inundated following an epic, days-long drenching, the clean-up has stalled.

On Thursday, residents in the capital were awoken by another fierce storm, bringing more rain. There’s more on the way, with downpours forecast throughout the week.

As thunder rumbled across the city, QMusic reached out to the music community with words of support to those facing hardship.

“It’s been a ridiculously challenging time,” reads a statement from QMusic CEO Kris Stewart, “and no one should be having to face these kinds of hardship again.”

Faced with myriad challenges over months and years, many in the creative community “are feeling disheartened and displaced,” Stewart’s statement continues.

As staff in South East Qld are told to stay home and work remotely, and with roads closed around the capital city, the extent of damage remains unclear.

Musicians and live music professionals can’t seem to catch a break, and there’s a sense of dé jà vu to all this.

In the January 2011 floods, the scale of which exceeds this current disaster, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium was flooded.

Again, Suncorp has taken-on water, as photos of the site taken on Wednesday reveal. Though the venue and others operated by ASM Global remain open for business following a successful cleanup effort, reps say.

“Our staff have literally worked around the clock to bring the Stadium back to life,” says Suncorp Stadium General Manager, Alan Graham. “The field has been fertilized and mown, dressing rooms and other operational areas will be fully cleaned and sanitised by Thursday and full power expected to be restored by Friday.”

Suncorp Stadium

Staff at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) on the South Bank have worked throughout the night during the peak of the flood to keep the building safe and dry.

“We are very fortunate the building itself was not inundated,” comments BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe. “The team has worked tirelessly since, cleaning the surrounds and car parks in preparation for reopening ready to welcome 980 guests on Friday at the Brisbane United Nations International Women’s Day Lunch, and two performances of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Saturday.”

The facility itself was not directly impacted this time, reps say, but access to the South Bank Precinct and BCEC from a number of areas was impacted by road closures.

A performance from comedian Carl Barron at the city’s biggest arena, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, has been postponed due the severe weather event.

More than 9,500 tickets were shifted and 350-plus staff were in place for Barron’s show at the BEC, situated on the Boondall wetlands, in North Brisbane. That date is now pushed back to March 19.

“Since the Venue opened in 1986,” says BEC GM Trish McNamara, “the 64 hectare grounds have only closed on two occasions but based on risk assessments surrounding safety of the community they were closed at 4pm on Saturday and then re-opened on Tuesday, March 1.”

Brisbane Convention Centre

With the grounds closed, she continues, “it enabled our recovery team to kick into gear at first light Monday and to clean up, make safe all roadways, car parks and pedestrian pathways.”

All three Brisbane ASM Global APAC venues are open for business, thanks in part to the lessons learned from 11 years ago.

“We are fortunate that all the venues have well-rehearsed Flood Response and Recovery Plans in place, informed partly by the 2011 floods,” says ASM Global APAC Chairman and CEO Harvey Lister in a statement to TIO.

“Our thoughts are with the many businesses and individuals affected by the events of the past week.”

Brisbane Convention Centre

Meanwhile, QMusic reps have spoken with the Australia Council to those South East Queensland arts workers facing challenges to meet their deadline on its current grant program.

“Please know you can contact the Australia Council via [email protected] with your application number to request emergency extensions,” the QMusic statement continues.

The trade association is in talks with Arts Queensland about the impact to the industry done by cancellations, postponements and changes in programming as a result of this intense weather event, and is reaching out for comment from the creative community.

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

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