Geelong Advertiser

Music sounds in venues

- HARRISON TIPPET geelongart­

LIVE music is making a comeback in Geelong, with punters snapping up tickets online.

It took less than 24 hours for record label Anti Fade to sell out its Jerkfest 6.5 concert at the Barwon Club Hotel this week, with organisers hoping to add more tickets for the March event.

Anti Fade spokesman Billy Gardner said the Victorian music industry was in the midst of a revival after COVID-19 restrictio­ns all but closed doors on the industry for almost 12 months.

“We’ve put on a couple of shows in Melbourne … and they’ve been great, and it kind of feels like everything’s pretty close to back to normal,” Mr Gardner said.

“I feel like everything’s selling out immediatel­y because the capacity is small and everyone knows that more than last time.

“Pre-COVID, no one really worried about this sort of stuff as much, but now everyone knows it’s going to sell out quick, so tickets are selling quicker than ever.”

Jerkfest 6.5’s popularity followed an avalanche of interest in the Coastal Jam day and night festival at the Pier in Geelong, where more people signed up for presale tickets than were available.

Barwon Club Hotel owner Gary Wilson said the region’s live music scene finally appeared to be back on track.

“That’s our core business here so we’re trying to get it back as quick as possible,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve obviously gone a long time without it, so we certainly are engaging with it and it’s certainly starting to come back online, which is good.

“The last lockdown threw us back again, but we have had some shows the last couple of weeks that have been really great. It’s great to see the music community sort of back and happy in their space again.

“There’s a lot of good shows coming up. They’re all ticketed shows because of the tracing and that sort of stuff, and that’s maybe even been good, too, because it’s put a sense of urgency on getting online and actually buying a ticket.”

The Barwon Club Hotel was one of the many venues hit hard by restrictio­ns.

“Our core business is music, which was taken away, and then we obviously rely fairly heavily on the footy crowd, so we sort of had that all taken away, too,” Mr Wilson said.

“I’m not going to hide the fact it’s been tough.

“But we’re optimistic about moving forward now that we can do bands, and do them in a safe space, and hopefully our numbers over the course of the year can increase and we’ll get back to normality at some stage.”

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