Regional live music boosts economy: census

REGIONAL live music contributes $276.2 million to the state economy, according to findings released by Music Victoria’s Regional Live Music Census.

Compiled over the past six months, the census measured the number of live music venues in regional Victoria, the annual number of patron visits, regionally-based festivals, employment, obstacles and regulatory issues affecting venues, and the total annual economic value of live music performances.

Music Victoria chief executive officer Patrick Donovan said this was the first time a census of regional live music had been carried out.

“We didn’t have the resources to get into all corners of the state but we needed to look at some figures before we could go advocating to councils and government,” Mr Donovan said.

“The figures are pretty impressive in terms of the contribution made to the economy and have built a case for us to work more closely with the government when it comes to regulations and the work that needs to be done to make a more supportive system for venues.”

The report, compiled by Music Victoria in collaboration with NMIT, RMIT, Box Hill Institute, Victoria University and JMC Academy, is set to be launched in Ballarat next week.

Mr Donovan said one of the major obstacles facing regional venues was the downturn in the live music scene during the winter months.

“The summer festivals are thriving, particularly around (Ballarat), but there is anecdotal evidence that’s where people get their live-music fix and then might not go out to see live music in the clubs throughout the year,” he said.

“One recommendation was to see more support for events and increased promotion during the winter months.”

Other recommendations in the report included the implementation of a regional live music plan, the reduction of red tape and liquor licensing fees, the hosting of live music workshops and the establishment of a one-stop-shop regional live music office.

Mr Donovan said the report had been passed to authorities at all levels of government, giving them ample time to respond before next week’s launch.

“Council should be so proud of the goldmine venues in Ballarat, and they should be celebrated and appreciated by local music fans a bit more as well,” he said.

The full report will be available to download from musicvictoria.com.au from April 4.

dellaram.vreeland@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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