News June 23, 2020

Victorian music venues call for govt support with 17K-strong petition

Former Assistant Editor
Victorian music venues call for govt support with 17K-strong petition

Victorian MP Fiona Patten has presented a petition in Parliament calling on the state government to work with on a support package amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The Save Our Scene petition includes an open letter from Victorian venues, with almost 18,000 signatures urging for action as the music scene teeters on the brink of collapse amid the pandemic.

It is the largest ever petition presented to Parliament and calls for a clear and balanced roadmap to reopening music venues in the state

After the petition was tabled, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the live music was “the heart and soul of so much of Victoria’s cultural activities” and that he would have more to say after “conversations with a number of live music and entertainment organisations”.

“COVID hit hard and quick in the live music sector, venues closed instantly. We know that not only did the COVID emergency hit live music hard, it’s also going to hit it the longest. We know there is more to be done, we are talking to the representative organisations and that will continue.”

The Save Our Scene open letter cites the fact that Melbourne has more live music venues per capita than any other city in the world.

About 700 music venues across Victoria host approximately 100,000 gigs a year, with an estimated economic impact of $1.42 billion generated from live music, clubs and festivals.

“We know the State Government is thinking about how they can help our industry, but they’ve been thinking about it for a long time. Meanwhile, the bills are piling up and ongoing restrictions mean there is no end in sight for most venues,” said a Save Our Scene spokesperson.

Ben Russell, the owner of The John Curtin Hotel in Carlton, explained that it’s about saving “the music ecosystem” in Victoria.

“It takes decades to build the culture we have in Melbourne, and we’re talking about losing half of it overnight without Government intervention. Established artists like Courtney Barnett or Paul Kelly might survive COVID, but what about the young talent coming up? Where are they going to play if these stages disappear? This is what we’re trying to protect.”

The full letter and petition is available to view and sign here.

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