The Gold Coast Bulletin
Struggling venues not after free ride
GOLD Coast music operators say the struggling industry would not need taxpayer “handouts” if the state government lifted COVID-19 restrictions at venues.
The Palaszczuk government last week announced it would contribute $22.5m for an Arts and Cultural Recovery Package and an extra $1.3m to help 21 live music venues across the state.
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse will receive $60,000 through the state government’s live music grant.
The Burleigh venue’s cofounder Kim Ferguson said while the funding was appreciated, easing restrictions for operators would have saved the taxpayer millions.
“Any live music operator
would agree 50 per cent capacity isn’t enough to run a business,” she said.
“If that was at least pushed to 75 per cent capacity it would make a major difference. It’s not about us getting funding, it’s about letting our industry and community grow and have a future.”
Currently all large-scale and indoor venues are able to have full capacity if attendees have ticketed, allocated seating. Venues not offering ticketed and allocated seating must follow a one person per 2sq m restriction.
A Queensland Health spokesman said: “Current restrictions exist because we know there is an increased risk of transmission at venues without allocated seating … where there is typically high flow of people, movement
of people and where people may mingle.
“The reality is the risks from COVID are not over yet, and easing restrictions has always been a phased approach and managed sensibly.”
Under the one person per 2sq m rule, Miami Marketta is running at less than 50 per cent for gigs in its Studio 56 venue and about 55 per cent capacity for events in the laneway area.
Founder Emma Milikins said music venue operators normally targeted a capacity of about 70 per cent to break even on live events.
“We’re not looking for a free ride and handouts; we want to be able to make money and continue our businesses ourselves,” she said.
“We’re staying open to try to stay relevant. We’re able to
survive and pay bills and wages but we’re not making any money.”
Gold Coast music festival For the Love has been postponed to August and the Inverted Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations.
Blues on Broadbeach will look different this year under its COVID-safe plan with new separation zones, patron scanning and extended outdoor seating.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk received a backlash following a tweet celebrating the Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby AU title win on Saturday night “in front of 41,637 fans at Suncorp Stadium”.
Queensland artists including Gold Coast superstar Amy Shark hit back at the tweet, asking for more support for the music industry.
Blues on Broadbeach director Mark Duckworth said: “I love my footy but it’s been tough to see a noticeable difference between certain events I’ve been to over the last year.
“It’s been really hard and things can’t continue like this forever. We need more stability around what we can do. Then artists and promoters can make better plans.”
A spokesman from Ms Palaszczuk’s office said: “The government recognises that some industries, including the live music industry, are impacted which is why the government is already engaging with the industry.”
The Play Fair petition calling for the end of the double standard had more than 19,000 signatures early this week.