A newly launched initiative seeking to tally those affected by coronavirus and bushfires cites an impact on at least 65,000 jobs.
Initially started to catalogue losses incurred through the cancellation of SXSW earlier this month, the ILMG website model has been adapted by the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festivals Association to survey members of the wider events sector, gathering data surrounding loss of income and impacted staff numbers. Within the first five days of going live, the site reported a total $200 million in income and 65,000 job opportunities being lost within the industry, with a wider impact upon 400,000 people. Those totals are likely to rise as further information is surveyed from the community.
It has been a disastrous six-month period for many Australian citizens and industries, first with an unprecedented bushfire crisis across the country causing a number of large-scale cancellations and now with the rapidly growing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Citywide festivals like Dark Mofo in Hobart and Vivid in Sydney have already been called off in response to the virus. A nationwide ban on public gatherings of 500 people or more, which came into effect on March 16th, has been amended to restrict indoor gatherings to 100 people, further ruling out the vast majority of upcoming events and festivals. A mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for all travellers arriving in Australia effectively puts an end to international touring for the foreseeable future.
A spokesperson from ILMG explained, "Many of the workers from the creative industries live contract to contract and usually don't have income protection insurance or significant savings. Often people supplement their work with work in the hospitality industry, and that too is suffering from the impacts of the bans. So we're seeing many people losing several streams of income, all at once, with no safety net."
Looking to the months ahead, the Guardian reports that Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson expects half a billion dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs will be lost as a result of coronavirus-related restrictions, calling the potential impact "catastrophic" for the industry unless a government stimulus package includes relief specifically tailored to the arts sector.
Along with Dark Mofo and Vivid, the country's largest winter music festival, Splendour In The Grass, has been postponed until October, while Victorian weekender Inner Varnika and Brisbane's Andromeda Festival are among the first of many upcoming independent events to be put on hold or called off altogether. Venues like Freda's, Revolver Upstairs, Universal Sydney, Sub Club, Angel Music Bar, Radar, Sideway, Colour, the Sydney Opera House and the Arts Centre Melbourne have also opted to close their doors temporarily as a response to social distancing advice.
Freda's made the announcement today via Facebook, saying "This is an extraordinary and unprecedented time in history that over time we will recover from. In the meantime, please look after yourselves and each other."
Find the latest on how the coronavirus is affecting the electronic music scene around the world here. We've also compiled resources for affected artists and ideas for fans to support them here.
You can read our statement about cancelled events and refunds on RA here.
Read our feature discussing COVID-19's growing impacts on the dance music industry.