Australian musicians can finally rejoice after more than a year of gruelling COVID-19 challenges, as the Federal Government has launched a new program to help local musicians perform overseas.
The Export Stimulus Program is a $1.2 million package that allows fully-vaccinated Australian musicians and crew to return to live music venues and festivals overseas. It is hoped this will strengthen the country's presence in the global music industry – in time for the American, UK, and European summer touring season, according to the Business Insider Australia.
The program will support costs associated with visas, international flights, hotel quarantine, and insurance – including COVID-increased premiums to enable musicians to perform at international music festivals and venues.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia last year, the live music sector has been among the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID lockdowns. I Lost My Gig Australia, a site that tracks Australian performers' lost gigs and income, reported that 8,000 gigs totalling $84 million have been cancelled since July 01, and over 35% of art workers were looking for work overseas.
APRA AMCOS, the peak body for Australian live music and entertainment, has been calling for a government-backed insurance scheme following an announcement of a UK program designed to provide certainty for the live music industry.
Dean Ormston, the chief executive of APRA AMCOS, said the music industry urgently needs “the confidence to plan and invest in future live events.”
Live Performance Australia (LPA), a body for the live entertainment industry, aired the same thoughts – emphasising that event organisers need help in planning future events despite the impacts of the pandemic.
“The live performance industry was the first to be completely shut down by public health restrictions and remains among the most vulnerable to future closure due to new outbreaks,” said LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson previously , as reported by NME.
Millie Milgate, an executive producer at Sounds Australia, calculated that around 17 Australian acts seeking to go overseas within the next few months could generate a total of $90 million of festival performance fees and concert ticket sales. With the scheme, 60 to 80 acts could get overseas.