A year ago, Music Victoria – the independent, not-for-profit, voice of the Victorian contemporary music industry – released an updated version of the five-year-old Victorian Best Practice Guidelines for Live Music Venues. These guidelines addressed sexual harassment and assault, hearing protection, hosting all ages gigs, planning law reform and copyright compliance, along with chapters on how to treat artists, templates included for stage plots and artist agreements.
This year, Music Victoria – in partnership with Arts Access and Green Music Australia – added two new chapters on venue accessibility and environmental protection. These new chapters cover the best practice for live music venues around disability (including vision impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment and mental health issues) and best practice on how to make sure owners are running an energy efficient venue.
Chloe Turner, operations/marketing administrator of Music Victoria says these updates are necessary to ensure their guidelines are relevant to reflect the ever-changing landscape and provide robust, evidence-based information for people running venues.
“We want to make sure it’s got the best information that is the most practical information in there, and we’ve had more and more venues reaching out to us for tips on accessibility and lots more discussions are happening around accessibility in venues, so we thought it would be good to include those two chapters this year,” she says.
The guidelines were developed back in 2012 during a Live Music Roundtable attended by representatives of the music industry, including Music Victoria and SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music), the police and State Government. As a key document that has helped Victoria’s live music venues to lead Australia’s live music sector, Turner says following the best practice guidelines has many benefits for the venue itself.
“Operating at best practice can do so many things for a venue. Not only does it make the venue a viable business, it also could increase people coming, it could increase promotion and it could increase income,” she says. “It could increase the amount of people coming and knowing and wanting to play at the venue if they hear they pay artists really well, or that the gig last weekend sold out, or that they had a really good response to someone who was harassing someone else at the venue – all those kind of things. The music industry hear about it, and it just really increases the reputation of the venue.”
As part of their annual membership drive, Music Victoria use the guide as a way to communicate with venues who are members or who want to be members. “We send it out to venues every time it’s updated. It’s also if they are a new venue who are engaging with Music Victoria it’s a great tool to refer back to. Reading through those chapters and trying to implement some of those things are really important to make sure that your venue is trying to be an inclusive space.”
Currently working on updating the artist chapter, Music Victoria will continue to add in more chapters and remove outdated chapters to stay relevant within the music industry.
Visit musicvictoria to check out the full list of member benefits, become a member and support local music. Sign up before Easter to be in the running for a range of prizes.
Written by Talia Rinaldo