Regional live music contributes $61 million dollars to the state economy. For years now, there has been a stack of great live bands touring around the regional circuit; and so therefore, we need to ensure its health into the future for generations to come. Leading the charge to make sure that happens is Music Victoria, the peak body that confers between the music industry and the State Government to make sure it happens. That said, Local and State Government are unconvinced that live music is a good thing and so Music Victoria is setting out to change that mindset.
The latest findings are to be launched at the Karova Lounge in Ballarat this Friday, April 4th in the form of the Regional Live Music Census 2014. In the lead up to the event, I got the opportunity to sit down with CEO for Music Victoria, Patrick Donovan, to have a chat about the report and where that leaves the music scene leading into the state election in November this year.
Although it has taken 12 months to get the findings together, Patrick feels that this regional report is the key in making Local and State Government understand just how important music is to local arts and culture. “It’s very hard to get governments to commit any new resources until you have the figures. We did a census this time last year but didn’t have the resources to implement it into regional centres. As a result, we found some astounding figures after asking venue operators to comment on matters affecting their provisions of live music performances. The census is there to persuade all levels of government that live music is a massive benefit to bringing communities together and job creation,” Mr Donovan said.
One of the biggest assets in assuring the health of the regional live music scene is access to the Regional Growth Fund. The RGF supports local major strategic infrastructure, and as Mr Donovan relates, is key to helping show live music is important in local communities. “These impressive figures finally prove that the regional live music industry makes a significant contribution to job creation and the regional economy and therefore should be able to access the $1 billion dollars in the Regional Growth Fund, rather than mere arts grants.”
Set up in 2010, at around the same time as the SLAM Rally, MV has been promoting live music all around the state and helping local bands get a head start in their musical career. For a very minimal price, you are able to sign up as a member to Music Victoria, entitling you to a great list of benefits. From discounts on baggage allowance, CD duplication, rehearsal room hire and many more things, it is highly worth singing up for, as Mr Donovan urges:
“We really need the whole of the music community to sign up. We do get some funding from various sources, but that state funding is set to run out June 30 next year. The big things that we have lobbied for over the past four years are things that nobody has achieved in the past. One such event is bringing back all-ages events that were previously banned for twenty years.
“It is only $33 dollars to join as a member and $22 concession. We really need the support of everybody and there isn’t a better opportunity to jump on board than right now!”
The census first and foremost offers a list of recommendations to help strengthen the live music scene. From reducing the red tape to make it easier to host live music to setting up a live music office that will act as a one-stop shop between musicians, venues and the industry, it is incredibly important that as musicians we get behind this venture. Jump online, take out a subscription and support your local scene.
Written by Tex Miller