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Victoria Has Announced More Than $13 Million In Grants to Support the State's Live Music Scene

It includes $9 million to 106 live music venues to help them cover current costs, and to prepare for reopening.
By Sarah Ward
September 20, 2020

Victoria Has Announced More Than $13 Million In Grants to Support the State's Live Music Scene

It includes $9 million to 106 live music venues to help them cover current costs, and to prepare for reopening.
By Sarah Ward
September 20, 2020

In 2018, at a time that now seems far longer ago than a mere two years, Melbourne was named the live music capital of the world. The lofty title was based on a venue-to-resident ratio that trumped every other city on the planet — but, with 2020 seeing Melbourne locked down twice under strict conditions, that famed music scene has been struggling.

To help live music venues and workers in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Government has today, Sunday, September 20, announced a series of grants to support the industry. In total, more than $13 million will be spent to help venues survive, to support jobs and to assist venues with implementing COVID safe measures for when they are able to reopen — which is listed in the last step of the state's roadmap for easing current restrictions, before the implementation of 'COVID normal'.

As revealed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley, 106 venues will receive grants from an allocation of $9 million in the first round of the Victorian Live Music Venues program. Opening for applications back in July, it's targeted at venues with capacities of 50–1200 "that have a solid reputation for presenting original live music".

Among the initial batch of recipients, who'll each receive their full funding request of up to $130,000, are the Northcote Social Club, Loop in the CBD, Richmond's Corner Hotel, Collingwood's Grace Darling and Footscray's The Night Heron. Regionally, Queenscliff's Blues Train, Castlemaine's Theatre Royal, San Remo's Westernport Hotel, the Hotel Warrnambool and the Wool Exchange in Geelong will also score funds. And, the second tranche's recipients are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Corner Hotel

The government has specified that the grants need to be used by venues to pay urgent overheads (such as rent, insurance and utilities), cover artist fees, get professional business advice to plan ahead, undertake marketing, pay and train staff (where this isn't covered under the Federal Government JobKeeper program) and undertake minor venue modifications that don't require a building permit.

The grants can also be used to prepare for reopening and help offset costs that'll be associated with enforcing density quotas and patron caps — which are a requirement in the last step in Melbourne's reopening roadmap. When the state progresses to 'COVID normal', which will only happen when there are no new cases in Victoria for 28 days, no active cases state-wide, and no outbreaks of concern in other states and territories, those caps will be lifted.

In addition to the $9 million first tranche in the Victorian Live Music Venues program, the government announced a $3 million one-off Victorian Music Industry Recovery program. Opening for applications on Monday, September 21, it'll provide payments of between $4000–$50,000 to support artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training, and develop safe ways of working during the pandemic — with separate streams for First Peoples applicants, people with disability, creating new work, and professional and business development.

And, $1.2 million has also been earmarked for ten music organisations and bodies, to assist them with delivering professional and business development programs to the state's music industry professionals. Recipients include youth-led label and training program Push Records, CrewCare's wellbeing training and mentorship program for roadies and live music events professionals, and Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation's creative development program for First Peoples musicians and industry workers.

To find out more about the Victorian Live Music Venues program, visit the Creative Victoria website. More details about the Victorian Music Industry Recovery program can also be found on the Creative Victoria website.

Top image: Northcote Social Club via Visit Victoria/Josie Withers.

Published on September 20, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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