The Melbourne live music industry has received a post-pandemic boost with three new initiatives.

They include a scholarship for road crews, grants for accessible workspaces and earnings from the revitalisation of the city’s famed laneways.

CrewCare Scholarship Grants

The Victorian Government has given a $190,000 grant to roadies association CrewCare to roll out its A Pathway to Jobs in Live Music: The Weasle Eicke Scholarship.

“We’re delivering the essential training and support required to ensure the next generation of production crew are ready to support the live music industry, while providing established roadies with a gateway to return to work,”
Danny Pearson, minister for Creative Industries, said.

It is for students of Live and Sound Production at RMIT and unskilled labourers from both regional and metro areas, who are “active within the industry working in casual positions.”

Andrew McKinnon, CrewCare Foundation director, said it would offset the severe skills shortage in the live sector.

The late Wellesley “Weasle” Eicke, lighting operator and technician of crewing company Gig Power, died in 2021.

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Cheap Workspaces For Creatives

The state government is providing grants so creative businesses can upgrade their workspaces.

The idea is it will develop and present their work in “improved, affordable and accessible workspaces.”

It supports small to medium capital works, digital infrastructure upgrades as well as equipment purchases and installation.

Part of the Creative Neighbourhood Infrastructure Support Program, there are three streams.

Grants for First Peoples are from $5,000 to $150,000.

Small grants, from $5,000 to $74,999, are for projects such as minor refurbishments or fit-outs to adapt spaces for creative use.

$75,000 to $150,000 are for more significant infrastructure projects.

“We’re strengthening the sector and ensuring that more creatives have the facilities they need to develop new work and grow their careers and businesses,” minister Pearson said.

Applications close on Thursday, June 2.

Income From Melbourne Laneways

New figures show that the state government’s Flash Forward creative laneways program has been a boon for musicians.

Forty new music albums were produced as soundtracks.

“This work showcases musicians who would otherwise not seek out, or be eligible for many of the funding opportunities available – significantly elevating the profile and future opportunities for many local artists,” a spokesperson said.

The program included a pop-up store with merchandise and albums on sale to the public.

More than $40,000 worth of sales went directly into the pockets of 83 artists.

The transformation of 38 laneways into living pieces of art created 170 jobs over 18 months for music producers, lighting specialists, artists, designers, graphic designers, technicians and maintenance workers.

The revitalised laneways have pumped almost $9 million into the local economy and, said lord mayor Sally Capp, brought citizens and tourists into the city centre.

“This program reinforces our global status as a mecca for street art and the capital of culture in Australia,” Capp added. “These new street artworks and soundtracks capture the essence of our city, telling the unique story of Melbourne.

“They will be part of our city landscape and conversations for years to come.”

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