‘Live music is not back’: Melbourne COVID impacted venues start petition
18.10.2021

‘Live music is not back’: Melbourne COVID impacted venues start petition

Melbourne COVID

Melbourne COVID impacted venue collective Save Our Scene have launched an online petition urging the Victorian Government to provide a staged roadmap to reopening,

Save Our Scene have launched an online petition aimed at the Victorian Government’s vague roadmap reopening timeline, as well as calling for ongoing financial support for the Victorian music industry that they say, “has all but been forgotten in the state’s plans for economic recovery.”

“Give us a path out of this and support us until we get there” the petition letter pleads.

What you need to know

  • Save Our Scene represent a huge collective of iconic Melbourne venues
  • They’ve formally launched a petition calling on an inclusive Victorian state government roadmap
  • Despite 10,000 person capacity outdoor events being planned, there is no certainty on when indoor venues can reopen

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Victoria’s current roadmap to reopening ends with a density quotient of one person per four square-metres, a fraction of a venue’s normal licensed capacity. “We may be open, but we will be bleeding out slowly,” the venues say.

“Music venues are on a road to nowhere,” the petition letter continues. “The State Government has announced a roadmap to reopening the state once we hit 70% and 80% double vaccination levels, but we are not on it.

“The current roadmap ends at a one person per four metres-square density quotient for venues, which is a fraction of our normal licensed capacity. You can have up to 150 people, but only if your venue is over 600 square metres – that’s the Forum. Most venues cannot open at all at that level, and no venue can trade sustainably.

“Even at one person per two square metres, we cannot survive. For most venues, that is 30% of our normal trading capacity. We may be open, but we will be bleeding out slowly. This affects everyone.

“Unlike many countries overseas that have restarted their live music and club sectors, Victorian music venues are simply not in the picture when it comes to economic recovery. After 19 months of effective lockdown, we have nothing but fear and uncertainty ahead. We cannot plan for a ‘Covid normal’ future and prepare to get back to work.”

Save Our Scene’s petition comes after the Victorian state government announced a reopening trial for the new ‘vaccinated economy’ will kick off with a huge concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl this month.

The Victorian Government is also testing the state’s preparedness to live under ‘COVID-normal’ with trials of vaccine passports beginning on Monday, October 11 and with two major events including a live music concert and a crowd of 10,000 fans at the Melbourne Cup.

Those announcements have been seen as the first step to formalising a reopening pathway for live music, however to the frustration of Melbourne’s venues, still leave no certainty for indoor venues, which have been the hardest hit.

Save Our Scene have outlined four main points in the petition that they say need to be addressed to sustain their own futures and Melbourne’s live music culture more broadly.

  • A staged roadmap to reopening music venues at 100% capacity
  • Ongoing, scaled financial support for music venues until we return to 100% capacity
  • Ongoing, scaled financial support for music industry businesses and professionals until we return to 100% capacity
  • Direct consultation with music venues in planning for the recovery of the sector

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“Please, recognise how special this sector is to the culture of this state,” the petition continues.

“We represent independent small to medium music venues across Victoria, including some of the most iconic and long-standing music venues in the country. We are not the big end of town – we are not in the business of hosting stadium tours. We are the pubs, theatres and clubs where Australian musicians get their start and hone their craft.

“We are the venues where Victorian music lovers see shows not just once a year, but every night of the week. Our venues nurture the part of Victoria’s music culture that is uniquely Victorian, providing community, connectedness and wellbeing to people across the state.”

Tap or click here to sign the petition.

To support the ‘Road To Nowhere’ campaign, Save Our Scene have also launched a merch collection, with all funds raised going towards campaign costs and any surplus donated to Support Act.