Aussie rock stars’ plea to ScoMo

Scott Morrison needs to intervene if music festivals and live gigs are to return, some of Australia’s biggest rock stars have warned.

The stars of Aussie music have come together to plead for urgent government intervention to save the industry.

In an open letter published on Wednesday, more than 3500 artists, venue owners and behind-the-scenes workers have urged the federal government to announce a support package so that the show can go on.

“We are an industry in crisis,” the open letter reads.

The plea was signed by stars like Bernard Fanning, Courtney Barnett, Paul Kelly and Midnight Oil.

Other stars who signed include Archie Roach, Missy Higgins and The Avalanches.

Noting that there hasn’t been a single national tour or a festival run at full capacity since last March, the artists asked the government to either extend JobKeeper or to develop an industry-specific rescue program.

Live music in particular has taken a huge toll during the pandemic.

While the industry association APRA AMCOS recorded over three million live performances between July and September 2019, artists only submitted reports of 100,000 gigs during the three pandemic months of April, May and June 2020.

That’s less than 4 per cent of the pre-COVID activity.

“The ability for musicians to generate meaningful income was shut down overnight in March last year. Every live music venue and festival in a city, town centre or regional area is part of an intricate network that supports our industry,” the letter reads.

“Sitting behind these venues and events is an army of musicians, DJs, managers, agents, promoters, crew, technicians, music teachers and many other industry professionals.”

“We can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our industry. The result for Australian music and live entertainment would be catastrophic.”

JobKeeper is a wage subsidy program for businesses that was launched in late March 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic had begun disrupting Australian life.

The initial six-month run was extended in September to run through March 2021.

But that will be it for the program, the federal government has said.

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