Federal Government unveils long-awaited roadmap, funding, to get live music restarted
In a move eagerly awaited by the national live music industry, the Federal Government has finally unveiled a three-step roadmap to reactivate venues and events.
Canberra’s beancounters have also started distributing long-promised rescue funds.
Indoor and outdoor performance venues can reach up to 50% capacity in the first step, and then 75%, in states with no new locally acquired coronavirus cases in 14 days.
Initially shows will be ticketed and patrons seated for all venues. This is the norm for indoor venues even after return to full capacity.
Outdoor venues can have seated and standing crowds but all events have to be ticketed.
Larger gatherings may have to present a COVID-safe plan.
For music festivals, the first step will see those considered “low risk” (that is, outdoors and with a single stage) allowed to be held with restrictions.
These will include a site divided into different zones – which promoters tell TMN would mean separate entry/exit points, toilets and bars – to minimise audience contact.
They will need to have a COVID-safe plan approved by authorities and further rules will be relaxed for larger outdoor and indoor ones, but with the same restrictions and different zones.
Domestic touring begin when borders open.
International tours will initially only be for “approved pilot programs” and quarantine free international tours will only be approved if the dates are in low-risk destinations.
The roadmap was unveiled by Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher last Friday at the Sydney costume workshop for the Broadway hit musical Hamilton, to open at the Lyric Theatre in March.
“The Roadmap provides a consistent, sensible and measured approach to restarting live performances, with audience and performer safety front of mind,” he said.
“The arts and entertainment sector is a big employer – and also drives jobs in sectors such as hospitality and travel.
“When people go to see a show they often go to a bar or restaurant as well; they may fly or drive to get to the show; they may book a hotel and stay overnight.”
The roadmap was developed by the Minister’s Creative Economy Taskforce and a COVID‑19 Arts and Health Advisory Committee, which worked with the Department of Health, and consulted Australia Council, the Live Entertainment Industry Forum and Live Performance Australia.
While the live sector may greet steps to 100% capacity as providing certainty, indoor venues would be disappointed that the return of standing patrons remains a way off.
“Vertical drinking needs to come in ASAP. Otherwise, what’s the point?” Driller Jet Armstrong of Adelaide’s Sugar said in a City Mag investigation into the city’s live event challenges.
International promoters would be worried about the pandemic-free aspects of the framework when tours are booked up to 12 months ahead.
RISE GRANTS BEGIN TO FLOW
Pictured: Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher
In a major boost to the recovery of the music and arts sectors, Minister Fletcher further announced that $60 million in grants will begin to flow immediately under the $75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.
RISE grants of between $50,000 and almost $2 million will be allocated to 115 arts and entertainment projects across Australia seeking to restart, re-imagine or create new activities.
They cover music, theatre, visual arts, opera and musical theatre, circus, community arts, literature, cultural heritage and puppetry. More than 300 organisations applied for the package announced in August.
Unsuccessful applicants can reapply for the remaining $15 million.
The projects funded will be delivered at over 1,000 locations in all states and territories and are expected to attract a combined audience of 11 million Australians, the MP said.
Up to 71% of funding goes to small-to-medium sized organisations, and 21% to regional areas.
$34 million will flow to not-for-profit groups and $26 million to organisations and sole traders.
A further round of funding recipients will be announced early in 2021.
“As well as generating jobs and income, the RISE fund means there will be lots of shows that Australians can go and see – and that’s good news for all of us after a tough year.
“My message to Australia’s artists and performers, to backstage crew, to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector, is – we want you back out there doing what you do best, and RISE is going to really help that happen,” Minister Fletcher said.