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News May 29, 2020

Michael Gudinski: ‘You won’t see an international act in this country before March next year’

Senior Journalist, B2B
Michael Gudinski: ‘You won’t see an international act in this country before March next year’

Don’t expect international acts to play Australia until March 2021, at the earliest. That’s the word according to Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski.

“All my touring is completely finished, and live music for local acts,” Gudinski told ABC Breakfast on Friday (May 29). “I’m not Nostradamus, but the feeling I’m getting is you won’t see an international act in this country before March next year. Look, anything can change.”

Things are changing, but not rapidly. And not in a way that supports touring as we remember it.

Some of the toughest lockdown restricts are being cautiously peeled away, as kids return to school and some businesses open their doors, albeit under a strict set of social-distancing guidelines.

Touring is still a long way off. Concert venues across Australia and New Zealand remain closed and entry at the borders comes with a major caveat, a 14-day quarantine period that would scare off any international performer.

“It’s really savaged the music industry like other industries,” Gudinski says of the health crisis. “Some of the local venues, hopefully September maybe will open,” he continues, “with a quarter or a third of capacity. But who knows.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with Mushroom’s Chairman and Founder Michael Gudinski

Gudinski and others have thrown their energies behind live-streaming events and “virtual gigs,” and several Australian promoters are switching gears for a post-coronavirus festivals scene.

The next edition of UNIFY Gathering and Falls Festival will feature all-local lineups, a vintage formula which worked so well in the past for Homebake and other brands and which almost certainly will be the template for the next round of summer fests.

Gudinski’s comments come as New Zealand prepares to host its first socially-distanced gig. Tonight and Saturday’s first round of small, weekly Together Again concerts at Auckland’s The Tuning Fork are sell-outs.

Presented by Live Nation and backed by Vodafone, the run continues June 5 with a lineup starring Urzila Carlson, Paul Ego, Justine Smith (MC) and Irene Pink, with indie act Daffodils booked the following night, June 6.

The LN venue will operate with a reduced 100-person capacity.

It’s clearly not a sustainable business model, but it’s a start.

According to I Lost My Gig, an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association and the Australian Music Industry Network, lost income from events cancelled due to bushfires and the coronavirus across Australia and New Zealand has surged past $340 million.

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

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