As the live entertainment machine cranks its long-dormant gears, reps from across Queensland’s music industry gathered Wednesday (March 16) for a debriefing with the state’s decision-makers, the first of what could become a regular pow-wow.

The Parliamentary Friends of the Music Industry launch was both a relaxed meet-and-greet, and a modern history lesson, as guests heard that, in a typical year, Queensland’s live music industry generates $175 million.

A typical year hasn’t been seen for a while.

Thanks to the health crisis, some 90% of revenue was stripped out of live business in 2021.

Those dark days would appear to be brightening. And with the 2022 QMusic Awards just two weeks away (on March 29), and the Olympic Games a decade from now, the industry appealed to parliamentarians to partner up.

“We want to keep talking about the value of music in the community, how we can create music opportunities, how we can help develop this industry, how we can help develop individuals, how we can take careers, and artists, venues, and give them a forum to succeed,” explained Kris Stewart, QMusic Chief Executive Officer, in his closing address.

Parliamentary Friends of the Music Industry hosts Shane King MP and Sam O’Connor MP (Photo by Sarah Marshall)

By holding music events, Stewart continued, communities become safer. Music changes lives for the better, it has a real value, and it’s growing.

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Currently, the state’s wider music industry generates some $330 million in revenue, according to QMusic, which spearheaded the launch.

“I’d like to turn this third-of-a-billion dollars into half a billion dollars, to a billion dollars,” Stewart added. “That’s the growth that I think we have the opportunity to do, as this state grows.”

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage something like the Olympics. And use it as a platform to generate creativity in our state.

Sam O’Connor MP; Qld Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch; QMusic President Natalie Strijland; QMusic CEO Kris Stewart; and Shane King MP (Photo by Sarah Marshall)

He noted, “What we are committed to doing is focusing on how music improves Queensland, and we’re committed to working with Queensland government to deliver that.”

Hosts on the night included Shane King MP and Sam O’Connor MP, while homegrown artists Sahara Beck and Jem Cassar-Daley showcased, for one of the first live concerts held on the Green Deck in recent memory, and during a sitting week.

Jem Cassar-Daley (Photo by Sarah Marshall)

VIPs included the former leader of the opposition Deb Frecklington MP; Grace Grace MP; Leeanne Enoch, Qld Arts Minister; and Speaker of the 56th Parliament, Curtis Pitt MP.

Industry professional at the invite-only function included ASM Global’s Harvey Lister; Live Nation’s Guy Ngata and Jackie Antas; Oztix’ Brian ‘Smash” Chladil and Stuart Field; Nightlife’s Mark Brownlee and Tim de Souza; Dew Process’ John Mullen; SGC Group’s Stephen Green; Amplifire Music’s Stu McCullough and many others.

Plans now turn to the next event. “Our need to be visible to government to constantly remind them how important and valuable this industry is, should never be underestimated,” Stewart concluded. 

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