Supporting Victoria’s world-famous music scene and workers

Jay-Wennington-UnsplashFunding for more than 100 beloved live music venues, grants to support music jobs on stage and behind the scenes as well as new planning controls to better protect venues will help the state’s world-famous music industry rebuild, recover and prepare for a summer like no other.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced the Government’s latest round of initiatives, including grants of more than $13 million, to help prepare Victoria’s $1.7 billion music industry for a vibrant, COVID Normal future.

“In ordinary times, Victorian music venues hosts tens of thousands of gigs each year – reaching millions. We don’t want to lose Victoria’s music scene,” said Premier Andrews. “We’ll continue to support our venues, our musicians, and the many workers who bring this $1.7 billion industry to life are able to reopen stronger than ever and welcome us back for a COVID Normal summer.”

Some 106 live music venues across the state, including the Northcote Social Club, Queenscliff’s Blues Train, Westernport Hotel in San Remo, Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal and Loop in Melbourne’s CBD, will share in grants totalling $9 million in the first allocations under the Victorian Live Music Venues program.

The Grace Darling in Collingwood, Richmond’s Corner Hotel, the Night Heron in Footscray along with the Hotel Warrnambool and the Wool Exchange in Geelong are other recipients.

The grants will support venues that have closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus to cover urgent overheads and put COVID safe measures in place. They will also assist venues to reopen and host events when it is safe to do so, providing employment for artists, promoters, technicians and other workers.

The venues grants will also help offset costs associated with enforcing patron caps. A second round of cash allocations to other eligible venues will be announced in due course.

Under Victoria’s roadmap to reopening, indoor live music venues can reopen at the Last Step with density quotients and patron caps in place. Patron caps will be lifted when the state moves to COVID Normal. A state-first planning policy will further protect Victoria’s live music venues during the pandemic and beyond.

Proposed new permanent planning controls will allow councils across the state to identify significant live music precincts and consider the social, economic and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits.

This will mean that when a site that is home to a live music venue is slated for redevelopment, councils will have strengthened power to protect the music venue as part of any new proposal. Musicians, music businesses and music industry workers will receive support through a series of new initiatives.

The Victorian Music Industry Recovery program is a new $3 million grants initiative that will offer grants of between $4,000 and $50,000 to support artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training and develop COVID safe ways of working.

A further $1.2 million has been allocated to 10 music organisations and peak bodies to deliver professional and business development programs to a diverse range of Victorian music industry professionals.

Among the initiatives is Push Records, a new youth-led record label and training program by The Push; a wellbeing training and mentorship program for roadies and live music events professionals by CrewCare; and creative development program for First Peoples musicians and industry workers by Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation.

Recognising that summer is usually a bumper period for the music industry, the program will focus on activities taking place from December onwards. It includes dedicated streams for First Peoples and Deaf and Disabled applicants. The full list of music venues supported through the Victorian Live Music Venues program is available on the Creative Victoria website.

“Our music scene is much loved across the state and envied the world over. This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic,” said Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley.

Applications for the Victorian Music Industry Recovery program open on Monday 21 September – noon and close on 22 October 2020. For more information, including guidelines, visit: for details.

Image: Jay Wennington on Unsplash