People in the live music and entertainment industries are being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of jobs have been lost in recent weeks as a result of the cancellation of concerts, festivals, tours and shows. Reported losses across the sector amount to well over $100 million and are rising daily.
While clearly necessary to protect the health of the nation, these cancellations have affected a huge array of music industry workers including artists, crew, management, promoters, agents, vendors, publicists, merchandisers, drivers, loaders, riggers and everyone else who relied on live events for their income.
The vast majority of these workers are independent contractors who do not have the luxury of sick leave or annual leave. Most live from tour to tour, or gig to gig and they have lost their ability to earn an income through no fault of their own.
Support Act is already being inundated with requests for crisis relief from people who have gone from having seemingly secure income over the coming months to suddenly having no way to pay their bills. Our Mental Health Helpline which provides free counselling to those in need is also reporting a surge in calls.
Many of the people who find themselves in this position are the same artists, crew and music workers who donated their time and talent to support others by staging benefit shows following the bushfire crisis just a few months ago.
As the most prominent music industry charity, Support Act is committed to doing what it can to help those in need but our resources are limited. We urgently need to build our own war chest in order to provide even a modest level of crisis relief to people who have been impacted.
Today we have therefore launched the COVID19 Emergency Appeal to accept donations from all sections of the Australian community. The target for the Appeal is $20million and Support Act has contributed $100k from its limited reserves to kickstart the campaign.
We ask music lovers across the country to support this appeal where possible, to help us raise the funds that will be needed to meet the expected demand. This could be through a direct donation or by directing proceeds from your own fundraising activities.
We also stand ready to work with all levels of Government. We hope they will recognise the special needs of this vulnerable section of the community and provide cash support to our campaign and to the broader entertainment sector. We also urge the Federal Government to expedite access to key government programs such as the Newstart Jobseeking Allowance.
Please help us to support our music workers through this difficult period and help them be in a position to bounce back louder and prouder than ever once the pandemic has passed.
Support Act acknowledges and thanks all the members of the music industry taskforce who are working so tirelessly and selflessly to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry.