There’s no beating about the bush, the live music industry in New South Wales is struggling. The current restrictions on venues (although necessary for maintaining public health) mean that venues are running at an extremely reduced capacity, or not at all. While NSW has the largest music industry in the country, six years of lockout laws in Sydney, and the devastating bushfires last summer, had taken an extreme toll before lockdown set in.
According to a recent MusicNSW survey of 47 city entertainment venues, 85 per cent of these venues predicted they'd go out of business within six-to-nine months if current trading conditions persisted. This is why 61 independent live music venues have joined together to launch an online petition calling on the NSW Government to provide immediate support to save the state’s live music industry.
Local venues throwing their support behind the petition include the rockers from Frankie’s Pizza and Mary’s Underground, The Bearded Tit in Redfern, Marrickville’s Red Rattler Theatre, pub rock stalwart the Town Hall Hotel in Newtown, international touring faves the Enmore Theatre and the Factory Theatre, the Roundhouse in Kensington, and many more.
The same survey found that over $70 million in earnings has been lost in the past six months alone, and venues are accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt under current restrictions required to contain the ongoing public health crisis. The live music industry operates on a very lean profit model as it is, and reduced capacities mean higher staff overheads.
In a press release earlier this week, the collective behind the Save Our Stages petition announced that they are calling on the Government to work with MusicNSW and industry representatives to devise a stimulus package that will ensure the ongoing survival of live music venues. “The Queensland and Victorian Governments have committed millions of dollars in support to their venues, we now look to the NSW Government to show their support,” CEO and founder of the Oxford Art Factory, Mark Gerber, said in a statement. “Without NSW Government intervention, many of our favourite venues will soon be forced to close and with them, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost.”
The petition already passed its initial goal of 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. The next goal is 50,000 signatures.
You can find out more about the petition and sign it at sosnsw.org.
Catch a gig while you can. Here's our list of where to see live music in Sydney right now.