Live music scene on the brink amid calls for help

·3-min read
Live music crowd cheering and clapping
After two years of Covid-related challenges, the live music industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions continues to spook audiences from attending live music events, as life returns to normal across most aspects of Australian society, according to industry insiders.

Yahoo Finance spoke to a number of live music promoters in NSW who are still struggling to make ends meet as punters remain reluctant to spend money or time on live shows in the wake of two years of pandemic-induced cancellations.

Promoter Kelly Tee said the industry had been forever changed, forcing her and fellow promoters to slowly adapt to the changing behaviour of audiences.

"What I'm experiencing now is that while we know we're not looking like going back into lockdown, there's still this hesitation from revellers," Tee said.

"As a promoter, it's really hard because you book bands and you want them to have a good turnout, you want to be able to pay them.

Band performing on stage in front of cheering fans
Live music promoters depend on advance ticket sales to gauge event viability, but audience hesitation is making that task more difficult than in previous years. Photo: Getty Images

"You gauge that on how your ticket sales are going. We've gone from seeing steady sales each week leading up to the show, to now maybe selling 10 tickets and you're a day before your show so you’re thinking should you just cancel it.

"I had a show booked that we made the call to cancel because we just weren't selling tickets. Then, when I cancelled it, I got inundated with people saying they were disappointed as they were going to attend, they were just going to buy a ticket at the door or the week before."

Fans urged to get out and support live music

Luke Stewart from Blighttown Records agreed the music scene, particularly for smaller underground and local promoters, had been the slowest to recover as fans still didn't trust that shows would actually go ahead.

"After two years of punters constantly getting their hopes up, buying tickets to gigs, then to have the gigs cancelled, it's no wonder they're cautious," he said.

"We recently put on show for one of our bands, Hadal Maw, in Melbourne and it sold out ... but it didn't sell out until the day of the show. We were monitoring tickets sales and the majority of them were sold in the week leading up the show.

"Seeing music venues close weekly to make way for hotels is heartbreaking. Now restrictions are over, the music industry needs everyone to get out there and support local artists and venues."

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