Live music is playing an altogether different ball game to sport, and it could spell the end of gigs.

That’s the gist of an impassioned plea from James Young, co-owner of Melbourne’s legendary Cherry Bar, who warns that live music venues are about to “disappear forever.”

The AFL returned to our lives on the weekend, and the heaving crowds that showed up at grounds around the country were proof of the double standards that venues are forced to comply with.

“Whilst our Governments have agreed to allow 75% attendance at the AFL football from this Friday, they are still demanding ‘one person per 2 square metres’ density rules at non-seated entertainment venues,” writes Young in a social post.

“This means an increase to 75% capacity for casinos and zero change for small to medium sized live music venues.”

On the flip side, “you can sit beside a total stranger without a mask for 3 hours at the footy outside or inside. As it should be everywhere, given the safe situation we all gave up so much to create here. Live music is being left behind.”


Young’s comments follow the publication of open-letters from Live Performance Australia and the ALMBC, both calling on states and territories to remove restrictions on venues and give assurances that borders will remain open.

The walls are closing in. JobKeeper is scheduled to end later this month, when “full rent and all our accumulated debts become due,” he adds. “All this while live music venues are still restricted to just 30% capacity.”

It’s an “impossible situation,” adds Young, “and live music venues will go broke and disappear forever. All we are asking is to be treated fairly.”

Last week, reps from across the music industry met with the Prime Minister, Treasurer and the Minister of the Arts to address the live sector’s clear and present danger

The waiting continues.

If the governments don’t listen now, writes Young, “then we will have no choice but to activate the people and march in the streets to Save Our Scene.”

“Don’t be stupid. Don’t leave live music behind,” he concludes. “Open your ears.”

Read the full post here.