The findings from a survey quantifying the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries has painted an “alarming picture” for the near future of the sector.
The second survey from I Lost My Gig, an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), drew responses from almost 2,000 professionals from the Australian live music industry.
The data capture showed that during July, at least 23,000 gigs and events were cancelled, equating to nearly AUS$64 million in lost income – $16m per week.
The survey’s respondents included artists, managers, production crew, technical workers, venue operators and workers, festival operators, booking and ticketing agencies, marketing and promotions companies, music press outlets and a broad range of other related businesses and sole traders.
“Border closures, capacity restrictions, and quarantine issues continue to devastate live performances and events across the country, wreaking havoc on touring schedules, and creating what respondents describe as a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling,” reads the accompanying report.
Of the $64m in lost revenue, the results showed that 99% of respondents had no income protection or event cancellation insurance – something that the Australian live industry has been repeatedly calling for.
“Respondents describe a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling”
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, just 7% of professionals working in the live performance and events industries have been able to operate at pre-Covid levels. Thus, 60% of respondents say they’ve recently looked for work in other industries.
More than 67% claimed they were ineligible for the federal government’s Disaster Relief Payment, and over 50% said they were unclear about the funding being offered by their state/territory governments.
A significant number of respondents expressed frustration at what they perceived as government prioritisation of sporting events in lieu of meaningful support of the creative industries. Poor mental health and wellbeing, ongoing financial distress and a lack of hope were also common themes among responses.
The survey comes after three of the six Australian states – South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales – were put into lockdown during July to face separate outbreaks of Covid.
The country has been slower than most others to immunise its population and it may not see the lifting of restrictions – and the full return of the live music industry – until mid-November, according to the government’s roadmap.
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