Live music in Ballarat needs more support from the Victorian government, say some within the local scene.
This comes after another successful night of local live performances as part of Sanitise, this time taking place at Volta: Arts & Culture last Friday.
One performer, 25-year-old artist Anna Bilbrough, said it felt amazing to be back on the stage and called for something to be done to help keep venues open in the region and across the state.
"It was great to be back performing," she said.
"I didn't realise how much I had missed it in the couple of months I haven't been able to do any gigs. It just made me want to get back to it as soon as possible even more as soon as we can.
"Events like this are really important both for artists and for venues. We've seen a lot of venues close down in Ballarat over the past few years so to do anything to try and keep them up and running is huge."
While she said it did feel strange to perform in front of basically no audience during the event, however she was just grateful for the opportunity to showcase her music.
WATCH THE FULL STREAM HERE:
"It was definitely strange knowing that you knew there were people listening but you couldn't see or interact with them.
"I do quite like feeling those interactions normally... However having said that, I, like a lot of young artists, have performed to my fair share of minimal crowds before," she laughed.
The songwriter added she has recently signed the Save Our Scene petition, an initiative calling on the government to help assist live-music venues during the pandemic.
The petition has been signed by nearly 13,000 people at the time of publication.
"I signed that petition the other day because I don't think any of us really realised until this hit how frequently we went out to these venues and how important they are to our well-being.
"Being stuck inside has been really difficult for some people's mental health, so having a thriving arts scene present when all of this is over is really important."
These sentiments were echoed by Abby Ashmore, who hosted both Sanitise events.
She said she has a sense of unease about the future of some music venues who have been hit the hardest during the pandemic while adding how great it felt to see live home-grown musical talent on stage over the past two weeks.
"It's a pretty scary time being involved in the industry side of music because it's likely we're going to lose a lot of venues," she said.
"Seeing all these bands back on stage doing what they loved really made me realise how important keeping venue doors open is."
One suggestion to assist businesses like Volta and The Eastern across the state has come from Live Performance Australia, which has developed a $345 million dollar plan to help support venues both now and in the future.
The LPA plan includes a $90 million Business Reactivation Fund as well as $30 million to be put towards digital innovation.
READ THE FULL PROPOSAL HERE:
Ms Ashmore praised the LPA plan, calling it "perfect."
"You never know what the nature of the industry will be, it fluctuates week to week normally," she added.
"Having something in place that can support this industry throughout all times would be great... being able to provide venues and bands with some sense of stability would be amazing."
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