Events sector assistance plea amid income drop + all the biggest industry headlines

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Events sector assistance plea amid income drop + all the biggest industry headlines

music industry news
(Image: Colin Lloyd)
Words by Christie Eliezer

New labels Extrovert and Interloper launch, coroner blames gun supplier for Bliss n Eso video death, and more!

Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in the music industry recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.

The top headlines:

  • Events sector wants help as income drops 81 per cent.
  • Coroner blames gun supplier for Bliss n Eso video death.
  • New labels Extrovert and Interloper launch

Keep your eyes peeled on our Industry News page to stay updated on all the latest headlines.

Event sector wants help as income drops 81 per cent

Victoria’s events industry is calling for immediate financial aid after a survey of its members by the Save Victorian Events association found that their income had dropped by 81 per cent between April 2020 and August 2021 (when compared to a normal pre-COVID year) and by 66 per cent between September and December 2021.

Respondents estimated income would decline by 68 per cent between January and March 2022, and 58 per cent between April and June this year.

The association is calling for the reintroduction for the jointly federal and state funded Business Costs Assistance Program (Business CAP) grants to give immediate support.

“This is because we know these grants work and this can be done at the push of a button,” said co-founder Simon Thewlis.

“Quite specifically, this is to help them to continue to pay staff, rent, equipment leases, etc… until many events can really start to happen again.

“Voucher schemes and the like are largely not relevant for the event industry as it’s just not how the majority of our industry works.”

The survey showed that three-quarters of the state’s events planned for January and February are being cancelled (46 per cent) or postponed (28 per cent) and many of the rest (16 per cent) are at serious risk.

The outlook for March and April is 22 per cent may cancel, 30 per cent will postpone and 36 per cent are at risk.

The events cover not only music festivals but also trade shows, exhibitions, conferences, business awards, and product launches.

Thewlis believes the solution is for the government to stop encouraging people to work from home, and for the events sector to start an email campaign to politicians.

Ticketing agency OzTix data found that waves of cancellations and rescheduling since March 2020 has eroded consumer confidence.

There is a reluctance to buy tickets. Even worse, no-shows in January were as high as 60 per cent.

New labels Extrovert and Interloper launch

The year kicked off with the launch of two labels.

Melbourne-based Vicious Recordings – set up by DJs Andy Van and John Course – are behind Extrovert Music.

Its first signing is drag queen DJ/producer duo Jawbreakers, whose debut single ‘Boyfriend’ which features former Operator Please member AMUNDA, is a remake of Ashlee Simpson’s 2005 hit that chronicled her stealing Wilmer Valderrama from Lindsay Lohan.

Vicious discovered Avicii when he was a teenager and released his first ten records. Van had a number one dance anthem with Madison Avenue’s ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ and more recently Vicious released Sgt Slick’s recut of ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ which has since gone gold in Australia and become a major queer anthem.

Interloper is the brainchild of Jess Finlayson of Sydney band Raising Ravens. The first release is the band’s debut EP In My Room.

The title track is about frustration over people who do not respect other’s boundaries with inspiration drawn from the behavioural patterns of Finlayson’s delinquent cat, Cyril.

Coroner blames gun supplier for Bliss n Eso video death

The coroner investigating the death of stuntman Johann Ofner, 28, during a January 23, 2017 Bliss n Eso video shoot in Brisbane, laid the blame solely on the armourer who supplied the guns and ammunition.

The scene was a fight during a poker game, with one rough trade, played by Ofner, planning to pistol whip another man who fires a shotgun.

Coroner Donald MacKenzie found Warren Ritchie who owned pyrotechnics firm Fireworks Down Under, “recklessly” provided firearms and ammo not authorised for theatrical productions.

He noted that Ritchie had been taking opiate medication for a terminal illness at the time and that might have clouded his judgement.

Ritchie died in 2019. The coroner said if he had lived, he’d have faced criminal manslaughter charges and landed a 10-year jail stretch.

Haze Music agency closes

Haze Music agency has closed after 45 years due to the stressful impact of COVID and the myriad of music event cancellations it caused.

Tamara Andrews, who took over the Geelong-based business from Marie James in 2014, said, “I firmly believe that life has a way of showing where you need to go to achieve your greatest joy.

“Sometimes you have to be fearless, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.”

Rumpus Room closing after 16 years

Brisbane music venue, Rumpus Room in the West End has throw in the towel after 16 years.

It will throw parties over the next weekends “paying homage to the genres of music we have championed over the years.” they said, with a grand finale on Saturday February 26 “featuring some of our longest serving favourite DJs.”

Toe-tapping the anthem

A YouGov survey found that Australians still cling to ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (41 per cent) as the national anthem but ‘I Am Australian’ is moving close at 33 per cent.

Other options were ‘Great Southern Land’ (nine per cent),  Waltzing Matilda’ (six per cent), ‘Down Under’ (four per cent), ‘True Blue’ (three per cent) and ‘You’re The Voice’ (three per cent).

Find out more about Save Events Victoria’s plea to gain financial support here.