South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas unveiled a $10 million See It LIVE program on Sunday.

The initiative follows consultation with the live music sector, and includes a mix of grants, e-vouchers, cancellation insurance, a mental health program, and plans for a Premier’s Live Music Advisory Council.

“This will provide massive kickstart to the live music industry as they come out of a really difficult couple of years,” Malinauskas said at an announcement event at Gully Public House and Garden in Tea Tree Gully.

“When we think about the last couple of years in Covid I know a lot of emphases is placed on the hospitality industry that’s been doing a tough, but we shouldn’t forget that live music has been hit really hard as well.”

Aside from addressing the challenge of rebuilding businesses, See It LIVE also acknowledges that patron numbers are still to catch up with pre-Covid numbers.

“We want the winter months and the spring months in South Australia to be a hotbed of live music for both musos and venues to give them a bit of a boost to make sure that the recovery out of Covid remains strong,” Malinauskas noted. 

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels added: “Through these grants we hope to see a whole new calendar of live gigs and festivals during 2022 and 2023, offering audiences a great opportunity to get along to a music performance.

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“Music events in venues, laneways, and public spaces will enrich our state and attract visitors boosting local businesses.”

Three initiatives are immediately available.

Registration has opened for 5,000 See it LIVE e-vouchers worth $400 each for pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants, cafes and other smaller venues to host live music. 

See it LIVE Event Grants are available for SA-based promoters, organisations and businesses, to help meet costs including booking musicians and technicians, marketing and promotion costs and ensuring the event is COVID-19 safe. 

There will be 100 grants of $5,000, 25 grants of $20,000, and five grants of $50,000 available for activity until December 2023.

The $1 million Venue Improvement Grants scheme consists of 200 grants of $5,000 each to allow eligible venues to upgrade for gigs.

These could assist with modifying layouts to include a small stage, create better viewing spaces, improve acoustics or upgrade sound systems including mixing equipment, speakers and PA systems.

There are other initiatives in the pipeline.

The Event Cancellation Fund offers between $10,000 and $250,000 if an event or performance is cancelled or rescheduled due to the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.

The names of nominated artists and venue and promoter executives who will be part of the Advisory Council will be announced shortly.

Support Act gets $250,000 to support crew and music workers to access its wellbeing helpline, and ensure access to industry-specific prevention, education and training programs.

A $500,000 partnership with the Royal Adelaide Show (September 3 –11) will see live music return for the first time in 20 years.

The show attracts half a million patrons a year.

There will be twice-daily programming in the Main Arena or the Main Boulevard Stage, where primarily South Australian and First Nations artists can reach crowds they normally wouldn’t.

Music SA chief executive Christine Schloithe called the scheme “really simple building blocks” as the live music sector looked at options to rebuild and reactivate.

“There’s nothing better than heading to your local and watching amazing artists do amazing things with their voice and their instrument,” she said.

“This gives us a little more confidence to be able to do our jobs without risking our own personal financial livelihoods,” summed up Gareth Lewis of the Beer & BBQ Festival.

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