THE sweet sounds of Ballarat’s bustling live music scene are set to get louder.
A committee has been formed to establish the city’s first Live Music Strategic Plan with the aim of increasing Ballarat’s emerging music scene in the next three to five years.
Leading the charge is Ballarat Councillor Belinda Coates. She is joined by Federation University teacher Rex Hardware, Karova venue manager Lachie Anderson and musician Allan Kealy. They are joined by another six members who range from venue owners to musicians and event managers.
At the heart of the plan is a desire to review current the city’s live music policies and identify how existing initiatives can be changed to strengthen the local live music scene.
Cr Coates said the committee was also identifying legislation changes that could be made to better support live music.
The City of Ballarat has already allocated $10,000 to the project.
It comes off the back of the results of Music Victoria’s Regional Victoria Live Music Census 2014 and mirrors similar plans undertaken in regional centres including the City of Mornington.
It found that more than 3.8 million people attend live music venues and festivals annually in regional Victoria. It also revealed more than $276 million was pumped back into regional communities as a result of patrons travelling to the cities and townships for music events. The study estimated more than 1000 jobs are created across regional Victoria as a result of live music events and more than 22,5000 jobs are created for musicians every year.
Cr Coates said the Ballarat was uniquely positioned as the “prime cultural hub” of the Western Victorian region for live music education, production and performance.
“We already know live music is great economically for Ballarat because it creates a lot of jobs and economic benefit,” Cr Coates said. “But this strategy will look beyond just live music into performances and into education and the production of music to see what we can do as a whole city to remove barriers and ensure the industry can grow.”
Cr Coates said the strategy will ensure existing live music venues are protected. It will also devise a plan for the long-term development of music events across the city.
Also on the agenda, is trialing more events like the highly successful Local and Live laneway music event which formed part of the city’s Winterlude Festival.
“The Local and Live event was devised by the council’s arts and culture unit so we will be working alongside them to trial similar things,” Cr Coates said. “It’s building on the vibrancy of the CBD and more broadly the region’s live music scene.”