The festival director of Bluesfest, an annual Australian music festival held over the Easter long weekend in Byron Bay, has joined calls for the Federal Government to extend the JobSeeker scheme amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and create a business interruption insurance policy for live events.
Bluesfest head Peter Noble said the music industry is headed into a “second year, of little, or no gigs as a result of COVID.” He has urged the government to help the industry financially and create a business interruption insurance policy that will cover live events.
“We need them to Save Our Stages, as has been done in the US and across Europe through large grants, tax write-offs and investment, and as well create a business interruption insurance policy to incentivise event presenters to put on events and be protected in not going to the wall, should an outbreak of COVID shut down their businesses at short notice and protect artists, crew, and suppliers [to] get paid should that occur,” Noble said on his Facebook post, as reported by NME.
Noble's comment brings the $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund to light, which is available for the Australian film industry.
“The Federal Government did it more than six months ago for the film industry to get them back to making movies,” Noble continued. “Why are we still waiting?”
Live Performance Australia (LPA), a body for the live entertainment industry, is also calling on the government to establish a business interruption fund to help event organisers planning future events amid the COVID-19 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,” LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson said last year, as reported by NME.
“Live performance businesses have little or no financial reserves to survive another shutdown, and this risk will hold back the industry's reactivation and its contribution to our economic recovery.”