How COVID-19 is impacting regional musicians
As THE government continues to roll out restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the music industry has been plunged into uncertainty.
Numerous big-name festivals and concerts have been postponed due to the mass gathering (500 people) ban but as more people begin to implement social distancing, smaller gigs and productions are also starting to experience cancellations.
Rockhampton band The Short Fall made the decision to postpone their single launch last Saturday night, deciding it was the most responsible course of action. The launch was all set to kick off at 45 East Street, meant to replace their Great Keppel Island gig with Daryl Braithwaite which was also cancelled due to weather concerns.
“We just felt it was socially responsible for us to just limit the number of events out there, limit the risk to us but also to patrons and our family and friends that would have been coming,” guitarist and singer Angelo Conway said.
Although the launch is the only gig they’ve had to postpone so far, Mr Conway expects more cancellations to start rolling in.
“We’ve got a lot of shows, private functions and festivals coming up in April, May and July. None of them have been cancelled yet but obviously we’re expecting there will be further cancellations,” he said.
“It will be a significant amount of income lost for us. You know the whole industry is hurting at the moment and will continue to for the rest of the year I think.”
The Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festival Association joined forces with industry partners last week to create the I Lost My Gig initiative. The site tallies losses experienced by performers, production, crew, hospitality workers, managers and booking agents as a result of COVID-19 as well as the bushfires earlier this year. Since its launch on Saturday, March 14, the site has recorded 65,000 cancelled events, 380,000 jobs impacted and $100 million in lost income.
These devastating statistics reveal the daunting reality the music industry is now facing. Conway confirmed The Short Fall had registered their losses and will continue to do so as the situation develops.
“I think it’s important to get an accurate understanding of just how much the arts industry is losing,” he said.
“We understand these preventive measures are necessary and are going to help us as a society, I don’t think anyone is questioning that it’s the right decision. But I do think there needs to be some understanding as to how much this is affecting the arts industry.”
“It’s an industry where so many people are living week to week or gig to gig, there’s often no real job security. It’s reaching everyone, right down to the musos gigging on the weekend who rely on the money to survive.”
If you work in the industry and have been affected by COVID-19 head to ilostmygig.net.au to log your losses.