The City of Port Phillip have announced plans to offer up to $5,000 a week to local live music venues and promoters who have to cancel gigs due to lockdowns.
The new initiative, called the Please Don’t Stop the Music lockdown assistance scheme, is part of Council’s Live Music Action Plan and is intended to support cancelled artists and crew, and help cover rescheduling costs for gigs affected by lockdowns from now until the end of 2021.
Port Phillip’s Mayor Louise Crawford believes they are the first Australian council to offer this kind of assistance to the struggling live music industry, aiming to mitigate the financial risks for promoters trying to program live music during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst the industry has been calling for a nationwide fund or federal government-backed insurance scheme, it is welcome news for local venues and promoters to see the City of Port Phillip’s take matters into their own hands.
Please Don’t Stop the Music is funded by savings from Council’s flagship live music event, St Kilda Festival, which has gone on hiatus for 2021.
The scheme allows eligible venues, promoters and booking agents to submit applications – capped at $5,000 per venue per week – to recover some costs from a lockdown-caused cancellation.
Council is also offering $250 standard payments per musician, per performance, to cover artist fees from their Locals Playing Locals database of local musicians. Local Port Phillip artists are encouraged to register for the database and applications will open after September 2 when the current restrictions are due to be lifted.
“Live music is a massive part of our City, whether it’s iconic venues, amazing artists and well-loved events,” Mayor Crawford said.
“Lockdowns have taken a huge toll on the live music industry – as well as the sectors it benefits such as hospitality. We’re doing what we can through our LMAP to make a real difference at this incredibly challenging time. We’re also continuing our efforts to become the first Victorian council to develop live music precincts to encourage live music while protecting amenity.”
This sentiment was also backed up by co-owner of St Kilda’s MEMO Music Halls, Simon Myers, who said the contributions to artists, crew and venues will alleviate some of the financial hardship caused by cancellations.
“Council’s financial support sends a clear message to artists that they are valued and will definitely assist in maintaining confidence in booking music in venues,” Mr Myers said.
“Consistently rescheduling shows, without knowing whether they will actually go ahead, has a financial cost – and also can cost the audience’s confidence.”
For more information, including T&Cs, and to register for the database go to Live N Local.
Photo: Magnus Lunay