Introducing Beat’s coronavirus column: exploring the fallout creative industries face

Introducing Beat’s coronavirus column: exploring the fallout creative industries face

Words by Kate Streader

We’ll be checking in daily to determine how the coronavirus pandemic is effecting the creative industries.

The creative industries are bearing the brunt of the strict public safety measures being enforced to combat the spread of coronavirus. As the government navigates the pandemic unfolding before us, the future of live music and performing arts is changing by the hour. To offer a sense of clarity in these uncertain times, we will be checking in daily to assess what’s happening and what it means for the industry.

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison advised against non-essential gatherings of over 500 people from Monday March 16. Today, The Victorian government declared a state of emergency while the New South Wales government enforced a Public Health Act, forcing the immediate cancellation of public events exceeding 500 people.

As a result, we’ve seen a barrage of cancelled concerts, festivals, tours and gigs, as well as venue closures that will run into mid-April at the very least. It’s a massive blow to the cultural calendar and the financial fallout is cause for concern.

The creative and cultural sector brings in about $111 billion a year in Australia and employs almost 600,000 people. The ramifications of the industry-wide domino effect we are witnessing could be detrimental.

Launched on Saturday afternoon by the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festivals Association, ilostmygig (ILMG) recorded over $47 million in lost income in less than 48 hours across the creative industries.

ILMG also reported 20,000 cancelled events and 190,000 impacted jobs, figures that will only continue to grow in the days and weeks to come.

The Greens have backed a call by the arts and creative industry for an urgent rescue package of $500 million to prevent the industry collapsing in the wake of mass event cancellations and venue closures.

“As the PM prepares to announce a second stimulus package, this industry must be front and centre as one of the worst hit, with short, medium and long-term ramifications for the economy,” said Greens Spokesperson for the Arts, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

“The arts industry has been savaged by the Federal Government – the entire department was cut late last year after years of funding cuts,” she added.

Hanson-Young also drew attention to the significant efforts exerted by members of the creative industries in aiding bushfire relief through hosting benefit concerts and spearheading other fundraising efforts. Now, the government needs to return the favour.

“Victoria’s live music industry contributes $1.7 billion to the economy, so this is not just a concern for our industry, but for the state’s economy,” said Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan.

Tomorrow, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher will host a round table discussion in order to devise a plan to keep the industry afloat.

As we wade these unprecedented waters, there’s no telling what the future of our creative industries looks like; foreseeable or long term. What we do know is that now, more than ever, we need to support the music and arts sectors and those within them.

Tune in tomorrow for an update.