Labor Presents Its Plan For Country Music In Regional NSW
With a state election looming in New South Wales, Labor is keen to swing regional voters with the promise of a roadmap and additional support for country music.
Presented Monday (Jan. 23), the opposition Labor Party’s “Regional Music Census” would be the first of its kind in NSW, mapping venues, performances and “music infrastructure,” with a completion date penciled-in for year’s end.
Should Labor win the state election this March, the party would, over its four-year term, support country music across several strands.
These include guaranteed funding for five Country Music Association of Australia Academy of Country Music senior scholarships per year, $40,000 to support the Academy to deliver their country music education and professional development programs, and $7,500 per year to send the leading graduate to Nashville, reads a statement.
Also, Labor’s pledge includes a commitment to include country music representation on the Contemporary Music Artform board; and to begin work on a “Special Entertainment Precinct” in Tamworth — Australia’s home of country music — along with local live music venues and council to “guarantee the long-term future “of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The city slickers wouldn’t be left out.
The Labor Party also proposes a music census for Sydney venues, which would also be completed by the end of 2023, and would follow a years-long barren period for Australia’s most populous city which, prior to the pandemic, endured rigid lockout laws in the CBD, which were intended to alcohol-fuelled violence but had the unfortunate side-effect of crushing the city’s night culture.
Country music in NSW has “huge potential given our talented artists, the importance of the Tamworth festival and the grip country music has on the heartstrings of the biggest music market in the world,” comments Tamworth Country Music Festival, John Graham, Shadow Minister for the Arts, Music and the Night Time Economy, and a tireless advocate for the after-hours entertainment ecosystem.
“We want to see that potential grow,” he continues, “especially after a hard couple of years for the industry. We need to back our regional venues to make that possible and rebuild the regional touring circuit that is so important to the country music scene.”
The first step is “this stocktake on the regional venues we have, which allows us to build from there,” he explains.
With the likes of Keith Urban, Morgan Evans and songwriter/producer Lindsay Rimes shining bright in Nashville, and many other Aussie acts coming through the pipeline, Australia is a world leader in country music.
Though often overlooked for the glitz and glamour big city rock, pop and hip-hop, regional NSW produces some of the brightest in the field — a growing list that includes the ARIA, AIR and Golden Guitar winning artist Fanny Lumsden, who hails from Tallimba and last year served as ambassador for the first Bigsound Country stream.
A new YouGov poll, published in the Sunday Telegraph shows the Chris Minns-led Labor would defeat the Coalition by a sizeable margin if the state election was held today.
It’s not. The election is set for March 25.