COVID-19

New music bubble plan to get Guns N’ Roses’ to Australia

The live music industry is also depending on high vaccination rates among music fans to convince governments to allow the same size crowds at concerts as have been present at sports events. While they are hesitant to adopt vaccine passports or negative Covid-19 test results as conditions of entry for fear of alienating ticket-buying fans, promoters are determined to kickstart the industry’s recovery with big gigs in late spring. Guns N’ Roses are booked to play six stadiums concerts from November 6, kicking off on the Gold Coast and finishing in Perth on November 24. KISS open their run of seven arena shows in Perth on November 14 and the rescheduled Splendour In The Grass hosts headliners Gorillaz, The Strokes and Tyler, The Creator in Byron Bay from November 19 to 21. Live Performance Australia’s CEO Evelyn Richardson said the best call to action forfans to help the live entertainment industry get back on its feet is to get vaccinated.“If we want keep our theatre and venue doors open, and we want to see our favourite performers on stage, the most important thing we can do right now is to get vaccinated. Not only will it keep our communities, families, friends and colleagues safe, it will ensure the future of our industry,” Ms Richardson said. “Don’t wait. Do it now so we can welcome the world’s greatest acts back to the country thatthey love visiting and performing in.”A survey of 35,000 people commissioned by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum found more than 80 per cent are keen to see live events return with greater crowd numbers this summer, after more than 18 months without an international music tour in Australia. Ticket sales plunged by 93 per cent when the pandemic shutdowns hit globally in March 2020 and promoters need international acts back in action to reboot the industry as they account for 80 per cent of the value of ticket sales in Australia. LEIF co-chair and TEG CEO Geoff Jones said the fan demand should motivate governments to “align” with the promoters’ plan to allow “vaccinated international acts and their crews to enter the country and move around easily in Covid-Safe travel bubbles for shows and festivals throughout the coming summer.”The music model would be similar to the bubbles already employed by sport and film and television productions.But the promoters also need the governments to consider extending their trial of a seven-day quarantine to vaccinated musicians and their crews to entice them here, as there will be resistance from those who have had the jab to lose income with a 14-day isolation. “We already know that international superstars love to tour Australia and that we offer them the best fans, the best weather and the best food in the world. We also know that these shows generate the greatest economic benefit for our country and our industry, which has been ravaged by the pandemic,” Mr Jones said.Local promoters fear Australia will be shoved to the back of the queue to book international acts as concerts and festivals return for the American and European summer season and our borders remain shut. The delay in bringing back big name acts who are regular music tourists here, such as Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift, would be a massive blow to an industry worth $36.5bn to Australia’s economy in 2019. It is not predicted to recover from the loss of billions of dollars and almost 80,000 jobs from the ongoing pandemic border closures and restrictions on crowd capacity until 2024. “Other international markets are beginning to reopen and offer alternative touring options for artists so it is absolutely critical that we reach rapid alignment with the Federal and State and Territory Governments at National Cabinet level to ensure Australia does not miss out on this vital opportunity for the live entertainment industry to recover from the worst year in its long and storied history,” Live Nation president Roger Field said. The EY survey of music fans also found the lack of gigs has had a negative impact on mental health. Only 12 per cent of respondents said they were uncomfortable attending live events with a large crowd, while more than 50 per cent said they were happy to attend live events no matter how big the crowd is “EY’s study shows how vital live experiences are to social cohesion and wellbeing. Eventsbring us together. They can inspire and move us. Live entertainment is the antidote to lastyear’s disconnection, and we know audiences around Australia continue to miss their festivals,concerts and events,” Australian Festivals Association CEO Julia Robinson said.

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