Imagine there’s no live music. It’s easy if you try…

With no end in sight for the current health crisis and strict, new directives crushing any hopes for staging concerts anytime soon, the live entertainment sector is escalating its calls for emergency funding.

On Thursday, cultural ministers from around the country met to discuss the course of action for the arts sector.

These are desperate times. Ahead of the meeting, Live Performance Australia pitched a $750 million emergency industry support package to keep artists, professionals and businesses afloat during the crisis.

With tough government-led restrictions now in place which limit public gatherings indoors to no more than 100, and capped at 500 for outdoor events, concerts are a no-go.

The meeting of commonwealth, state and territory cultural ministers failed to produce a plan of action to save live performance, but did agree on a commitment to meet again.

“The clock is ticking,” LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson tells TIO. “We are extremely concerned that Australia’s most senior cultural figures are yet to show clear leadership at this critical time,” she continues.

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On Friday, LPA joined forces with allies across the arts, culture and media sectors in a rare united front to prevent the “final curtain” for the live performance industry.

The financial lifeline put forward by LPA must be incorporated into any stimulus package that is being prepared by the Federal Government, Richardson explains.

“Time is running out for Australia’s cultural sector – many companies are deciding whether they wind their businesses up within the coming weeks.” she warns. “Jobs have been already been shed as shows are closed, festivals cancelled, and live theatre and music venues close their doors.”

The double hit of bushfires and the novel coronavirus have been lethal for the live industry. According to I Lost My Gig, set up by the Australian Music Industry Network and Australian Festival Association to track the impact of these disasters on the music community, more than $250 million has been lost due to cancelled events by Friday afternoon, with north of 240,000 shows scrapped.

While LPA and others get ready to rumble with decision-makers in the capital, the music community’s national Sound of Silence campaign is calling on music fans to donate to Support Act, the music charity that provides crisis relief services to artist crew and workers, while PPCA is offering advances to members to lessen the financial pain.