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Over 120 venues are calling on the Victorian government to save live music

Save Our Scene is calling on the state government to keep the state's live music industry alive
Written by
Nicola Dowse

We’re the first to champion Victoria’s diverse and (usually) booming live music industry. The love that Victorians have shown for live music has allowed Melbourne to become the live music capital of the world, with more live venues per capita than anywhere else on Earth. 

The closure of venues from March 2020, however, has forced the once formidable industry into deep jeopardy, compelling more than 120 local venues to band together to save it – and you can help.

Save Our Scene is a collective of small and medium live venues from across Victoria who are calling on the state government to save the live music industry. At current, 127 venues have put their names to the movement, including beloved Melbourne haunts like the Corner Hotel, Cherry Bar, the Pinnacle, Revolver Upstairs, the Night Cat, New Guernica, the Espy and the Forum. 

While restrictions have begun to lift in many areas of life, there’s no escaping the fact that live music generally equals mass gatherings – meaning most live gigs are likely untenable for many months to come.

Gigs may have ground to a halt, but overheads like rent, mortgages, insurance and other bills have not, making it difficult for venues to stay afloat with little (if any) income. In an open letter to the state government, the collective says: "If our venues disappear, the live music economy will disappear, and our cultural heritage will go with it. Australian artists will have fewer places to perform, to grow, to find fans. At exactly the time when more local stages are needed – because international borders are closed – we will lose them. If we lose the venues, we will lose the artists too."

Save Our Scene is asking the Victorian government to band together with peak state music body Music Victoria to create a needs-based financial assistance package. This would allow small and medium venues to stay afloat until they are able to viably trade again. Save Our Scene also wants a clear road map to how their venues will be able to reopen again at full capacity, as well as the creation of a fund for when live gigs can restart. 

Save Our Scene is currently collecting signatures for a petition to be presented to the Victorian parliament asking for these requests to be met. You can sign the petition online and it takes less than 30 seconds. 

Victoria is home to around 700 live music venues and more than 100,000 gigs each year. The industry generates $1.42 billion for the economy and provides thousands of jobs – not just to artists, but to ticket staff, bouncers, promoters, bar staff, publicists and more.

Some good news: Melbourne Music week WILL go ahead in November.

Coburg Drive-In reopens for business on June 3.

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