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News September 21, 2020

Victoria’s $13m lifeline for 106 venues, plus new recovery policy

Senior Journalist, B2B
Victoria’s $13m lifeline for 106 venues, plus new recovery policy

In another major boost for Victoria’s live music sector, the state government has unveiled a $13 million lifeline for 106 coronavirus-hit venues, provide employment and upskilling to workers and special projects by various associations when restrictions are lifted.

“In ordinary times, Victorian music venues host tens of thousands of gigs each year – reaching millions. We don’t want to lose Victoria’s music scene,” Premier Daniel Andrews said,

“We’ll continue to support our venues, our musicians, and the many workers who bring this $1.7 billion industry to life are able to reopen stronger than ever and welcome us back for a COVID Normal summer.”

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley added that “this support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic”.

“Our music scene is much loved across the state and envied the world over.”


Sharing $9 million in grants in the first allocations under the Victorian Live Music Venues program were The Tote, The Bendigo, and The Blues Train which launched crowd-funding campaigns; The Corner which raised money through the sale of its alcohol stock via a pop-up bar; and 170 Russell whose co-owner estimated in March he could hold on for six months before he lost his house. 

Among others on the bill, Laundry Bar set up the Next Crop platform to showcase the next generation of hip hop acts; Onesixone started an online range of leather goods; and Night Heron amped up its poetry readings.

The grants will support venues in reopening, cover urgent overheads, put COVID Safe measures in place, and help offset costs associated with enforcing patron caps.


In addition, proposed new permanent planning controls will allow councils to identify significant live music precincts and consider the social, economic, and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits.

It means that if the owner of a site on which a venue stands decides to redevelop, councils will have stronger powers to protect venues as part of any new proposal.

“Live music venues are the heart and soul of Melbourne and towns across the state,” Minister for Planning Richard Wynne emphasised.

“Going forward, councils will have to consider these new planning controls as they make decisions on local planning permits.”


Musicians, businesses and music biz workers will also receive support through new initiatives.

The Victorian Music Industry Recovery program is a new $3 million initiative offering grants of between $4,000 and $50,000 to support artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers “to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training and develop COVID Safe ways of working”.

As summer is the industry’s busiest period, the program focuses on activities starting after December.

It includes dedicated streams for First Peoples and Deaf and Disabled applicants. 

Applications will open at noon today (Monday, September 21) and close on October 22.

A further $1.2 million is allocated to 10 music organisations to deliver professional and business development programs to industry professionals.

These include:

  • Push Records, a new youth-led record label and training program by The Push, to work with artists to release music and get mentored by label execs, and an online recovery debate titled ‘What is the future of music?’
  • CrewCare to run a wellbeing training and upskill mentorship program for 500 roadies and live music events professionals
  • Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation to helm a creative development program for First Nations musicians and industry workers
  • APRA AMCOS will, with Multicultural Arts Victoria, pilot a new model of culturally safe, supportive and inclusive development programs for culturally diverse songwriters
  • Arts Access Victoria will deliver digital professional development workshops for musicians and businesspeople with disabilities to create music and expand audiences
  • Association of Artist Managers will present its successful projects, Co-Pilot for emerging managers, and Grow to provide advice on the changing music sector
  • Australian Festivals Association for targeted recovery initiatives that will provide resources, research and training opportunities for festival managers and workers. This work will also include a project to connect festivals with local First Nations mentors.
  • AIR will deliver a three-part webinar series focussing on neighbouring rights, financial literacy, and releasing music as an indie artist
  • Bakehouse Studios, a recording and rehearsal space, will be funded to work with 400 musicians each week including underrepresented artists and acts
  • Music Victoria / Regional Arts Victoria to work on recovery in regional areas, including employing three regional music workers for 12 months to develop local projects and network with metro biz and government executives.


The latest round of the three-year-old $200,000 Pride Events and Festivals Fund was also unveiled.

Organisations can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for events and projects for LGBTIQ communities which can be run online before June 30, 2021. 

For the first time, all events must be able to take place online and be held in line with current coronavirus restrictions at the time of the activity.


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