“We are not ok”: Live music venues send Open Letter to Victorian government for urgent help
17.03.2021

“We are not ok”: Live music venues send Open Letter to Victorian government for urgent help

The Living End perform at The Corner
Words by Gabriela Caeli Sumampow

The letter was signed by over a hundred Victorian live music venues.

Save Our Scene, the Victorian body launched last year to raise awareness for a COVID-hit live music industry, has issued an Open Letter to the Victorian government today, bringing attention to the possible closure of live music venues if they don’t receive assistance from above.

The Open Letter was signed by some of Victoria’s most beloved venues: The Forum, The Corner, The Espy, The Old Bar, The Curtin – you name it. These venues are among over a hundred in need of a clear and balanced roadmap for easing restrictions, and more importantly – for venue capacities to increase so that Victorian music venues can further open its doors.

What you need to know

  • Victoria’s Save Our Scene has sent an Open Letter to the state government today
  • The letter brings attention to the possible closure of live music venues without assistance from the Victorian government
  • Some of the venues who have signed the Open Letter include The Forum, The Corner, The Espy, The Old Bar, The Curtin

Keep up with the latest music news here.

“Don’t be fooled — Victoria’s live music venues are open, but we are not ok,” the letter began.

Live music venues opened to less than 30 per cent of their regular capacities about three months ago, with the initial support of JobKeeper. After nine months of closure, Victoria’s live music venues began operating with COVID restrictions in place, but the cap of only allowing about a third of a venue’s licensed capacity meant the remaining two thirds has been a loss in revenue.

With static fixed costs, and only a few weeks of JobKeeper remaining, the uncertainty looming around venue capacity restrictions leaves the life of Victoria’s live music venues up in the air. A majority of venues are still in debt, resulting from nine months of closure and opening at low capacities with only the support of JobKeeper keeping their business afloat.

“The reopening of live music venues has seen Victorian artists performing again and our industry’s live music and hospitality workers back in employment,” the Open Letter says. “Help us to preserve this vital cultural sector for the long term by increasing venue capacities now.”

In normal times, Victoria’s live music venues have audiences of more than a 100,000 any given Saturday night, and that’s bigger than an AFL grand final. In turn, it drives the economy and creates jobs for everyone from musicians to DJs, bar staff to security guards, promoters, publicists, sound engineers, you name it.

“Music venues are the critical infrastructure of this industry. If our venues disappear, the live music economy will disappear, and our cultural heritage will go with it.”

Save Our Scene represents independent small to medium music venues across Victoria, including some of the most iconic, uniquely Victorian venues. Think of the pubs, theatres, and clubs where musicians get their start, and the venues that host gigs every weeknight.

For more information, visit saveourscene.com.au, @saveourscene.vic on Instagram, or Save Our Scene on Facebook.