Ballarat hosts live music health check

IT'S only rock 'n' roll, but country Victoria likes it.

Karova Lounge in Ballarat yesterday hosted the launch of the Victorian Regional Live Music Census, which gives an insight into the health of the local music scene.

The study found that regional live music contributes $276.2 million to the state economy, with nearly four million patrons attending shows across 197 venues as well as festivals.

Music Victoria chief executive officer Patrick Donovan said this was the first time such a study had been conducted.

He said it was hoped the study would help provide sufficient information to all levels of government so they could foster live music in regional areas.

"We realise that the platform for any advocacy has to start with some good data, so we spent the last six months surveying all the venues in regional Victoria," he said.

"We've got a big snapshot of regional Victoria live music looks like."

Mr Donovan said the major issues for venues putting on live music included liquor licensing, noise complaints, parking and red tape.

Local solo artist Freya Hollick said it was sometimes difficult to find venues to play in Ballarat, with attendances often a problem.

"The public loves live music, the venues love live music but it does struggle at times," she said.

"Winter in Ballarat is very cold and a lot of people don't come out."

City of Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates said it was important to confirm what musicians and venues were telling government with some hard figures.

She said the data would feed into the council's live music strategy.

Western Victoria upper house MP David O'Brien, who helped launch the census by playing a few songs on double bass, said the government was passionate about supporting live music.

"We're looking at further reforms as they can be brought in, particularly promoting young music," he said.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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