Following an open letter from Bluesfest’s Peter Noble, a rally in Sydney which saw over 10,000 protesters call for more consideration from the NSW Government, and countless other calls for clarity around the current licensing scheme disaster that has the industry up in arms, a new voice has joined the chorus.

The latest call for action comes from one of the most important industry bodies in Australia, ARIA.

The recorded music body has joined the cause to challenge the Berejiklian Government’s ‘potentially harmful’ licensing regulation which opponents say won’t save the lives they’re intended to, but just might kill off the NSW music scene.

ARIA Board
ARIA Board. Left to Right – David Vodicka, Sebastian Chase, Natalie Waller, Dan Rosen, Karen Don, Niko Nordstrom, Denis Handlin AO (Chair), Emily Crews, Andrew Smith and Sophie McArthur. Photo by Cole Be

Read ARIA’s statement in full below:

Everyone remembers their first gig or festival experience.

Going out to see a band, surrounded by likeminded souls, feeling the rush of freedom that washes over you as the music takes hold. It’s been a rite of passage for many generations of music fans around Australia.

It is evident that live music is a very important part of the NSW cultural landscape. An Australia Council 2017 survey found that in 2016 more than half of NSW residents attended live music events.

In addition, Live Performance Australia revealed that over 8 million Australians attended contemporary music performances in 2017, generating a revenue of $826 million. It was also reported that NSW was the second largest contributor in revenue (32.7%) and in attendance (29.9%).

The NSW government’s new Music Festival licensing scheme is a policy that has the potential to harm the live music industry of this state.

In the lead-up to the scheme’s implementation on 1 March, ARIA was in contact with the government to try and come to a solution that would be satisfactory to both sides of the debate.

We believe that when introducing such a scheme, there must be meaningful engagement with the Music Festival sector and have urged the government to commit to immediate and ongoing consultation with the sector to ensure that the scheme can be amended to make it fit for purpose.

The Music Festival sector is a significant industry that employs thousands of people, supports small businesses and enhances cultural tourism. These events have a significant financial flow-on effect in the areas in which they are held, impacting accommodation operators, food and drink vendors, transport services and more.

Music events provide positive, inclusive and safe spaces for people from all walks of life. They add much to the social and cultural vibrancy of our communities, both big and small, in addition to their financial contribution to the NSW economy.

They are also essential to our music ecosystem, to give our artists an opportunity to hone their craft and make new fans.

We call on the government to commit to immediate and ongoing consultation with the sector to properly understand this sector’s operation, economic and cultural contribution, as well as the impact of these changes and potential alternative courses of action.

ARIA is ready to provide whatever assistance necessary to aid the process of collaboration and engagement with the sector to ensure that the government is equipped with all the relevant information in order to make informed decisions on this important issue.