$13.2 million allocated to support Victorian live music

With Victorian live music venues currently not scheduled to reopen until 23 November, the State Government has announced a new $13.2 million package to support the industry during COVID.

A $9 million Victorian Live Music Venues program, a $3 million Victorian Music Industry Recovery program and a $1.2 million package for professional and business development in the live music sector were announced by the Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley on Sunday.

The new funding initiatives are designed to support Melbourne’s world-renowned live music industry through the enforced shutdown necessitated by the fight against COVID-19.

‘In ordinary times, Victorian music venues host tens of thousands of gigs each year – reaching millions. We don’t want to lose Victoria’s music scene,’ Andrews said.

‘We’ll continue to support our venues, our musicians, and the many workers who bring this $1.7 billion industry to life [and] are able to reopen stronger than ever and welcome us back for a COVID Normal summer.’

Under the Victorian Government’s current Coronavirus reopening roadmap, Melbourne’s live music venues are not slated to open until the Last Step of the program, on 23 November.

The new funding is designed to ensure that venues and artists, as well as crucial behind-the-scenes music industry workers such as managers, promoters, bookers and road crew, can survive the shutdown.

$9 million for venues

The $9 million Victorian Live Music Venues grants will support venues hosting live contemporary music to cover urgent overheads and put COVID safe measures in place.

It will also assist venues in reopening and hosting events when it is safe to do so, providing employment opportunities for artists, promoters, technicians and other workers.

The venues grants will also help offset costs associated with enforcing capped patron numbers.

‘We don’t want to lose Victoria’s music scene.’

– Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Some 106 live music venues across the state, including the Northcote Social Club, Queenscliff’s Blues Train, Westernport Hotel in San Remo, Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal and Loop in Melbourne’s CBD, will share in grants totalling $9 million in the first allocations under the Victorian Live Music Venues program.

The Grace Darling in Collingwood, Richmond’s Corner Hotel, the Night Heron in Footscray, the Hotel Warrnambool and the Wool Exchange in Geelong will also benefit from the fund.

A second round of cash allocations to other eligible venues will be announced soon.

Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP, said: ‘Our music scene is much loved across the state and envied the world over. This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic.’


Musicians, music businesses and individuals working in the music industry such as roadies and crew will also receive support through a series of new initiatives announced on Sunday 20 September.

The $3 million Victorian Music Industry Recovery program will offer grants of between $4,000 and $50,000 to support artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training and develop COVID-safe ways of working.

‘This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic.’

– Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley 

Recognising that summer is usually a bumper period for the music industry, the program will focus on activities taking place from December onwards. It includes dedicated streams for First Peoples and Deaf and Disabled applicants.

Applications will open at midday on Monday 21 September and close on 22 October 2020.

A further $1.2 million has been allocated to 10 music organisations and peak bodies to deliver professional and business development programs to a diverse range of Victorian music industry professionals.

Among the initiatives is Push Records, a new youth-led record label and training program by The Push; a wellbeing training and mentorship program for roadies and live music events professionals by CrewCare; and creative development program for First Peoples musicians and industry workers by Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation.


Also announced on Sunday was a new, state-first planning policy designed to protect Victoria’s live music venues during the pandemic and beyond.

Proposed new permanent planning controls will allow local councils across the state to identify significant live music precincts and consider the social, economic and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits.

This will mean that when a site that is home to a live music venue is slated for redevelopment, councils will have strengthened power to protect the music venue as part of any new proposal.

Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, said: ‘Live music venues are the heart and soul of Melbourne and towns across the state. Going forward, councils will have to consider these new planning controls as they make decisions on local planning permits.’

‘Going forward, councils will have to consider these new planning controls as they make decisions on local planning permits.’

– Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

The announcement has been welcomed by Music Victoria, the state’s peak body for live contemporary music.

‘The statewide planning recognition for live music venues, slated to be gazetted this week, is a game changer, and along with the object in the Liquor Act recognising the economic, social and cultural contribution of live music, will ensure that live music is protected and supported by the regulatory system for generations to come,’ a Music Victoria spokesperson said.

‘Other strategic grants will go a long way to helping artists and some of the more vulnerable sectors of the industry, including youth, regional and First Nations, navigate their way out of the crisis.

‘Music Victoria thanks the State Government for listening to the industry, its visionary approach and its generous support of the contemporary music sector at this crucial time,’ the statement concluded.

Visit Creative Victoria for funding guidelines and application details.

Performing Arts Editor
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