NSW Government Launches $5 Million Initiative To Boost Live Music Venues |

todayNovember 13, 2023 2

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The NSW Government has detailed its new Venues Unlocked initiative, a $5 million effort it hopes will “get music and live performance back on stage”.

Announced today (November 13), John Graham – NSW’s Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, among other roles – said in a press release that his latest endeavour will help both “established and emerging” venues “upgrade and upskill” to boost their ability to host events such as concerts. These won’t just include bespoke live music venues, either, but also bars, clubs, breweries, restaurants and cafés “across NSW metropolitan areas and regions”.

$2 million of the funding will be set aside to cover soundproofing grants delivered by Sound NSW. These one-off allowances will run up to $100,000 each, giving venues the opportunity to “enable industry-best practice[s for] sound management”. Graham explains in his breakdown of Venues Unlocked: “This includes infrastructure improvements and capital works, new equipment and other sound mitigation measures as identified by acoustic performance reports.”

The remaining $3 million will be allocated to the multi-stage Live Performance Venue Program, coordinated by the office of Michael Rodrigues, NSW’s 24-Hour Economy Commissioner. $1.4 million will fund the first of two phases, dubbed the Live Performance Venue Accelerator, which will allow non-traditional venues (which don’t typically host live events) “develop skills, confidence and capacity through specialist workshops, covering marketing, programming and essential equipment training”. The second phase, another grant program, will give eligible businesses “access to expert advice and grant funding up to $80,000 to embed skills and support”.

Venues Unlocked comes as part of the NSW Government’s proposed Vibrancy reform program, which aims to “support live performance and provide increased confidence and flexibility for the hospitality and creative sectors”. Applications are open from today, with more information available here.

In a formal statement, Graham said of the initiative: “We’ve already lost half our live music venues in NSW. I’m talking to five or six of the best operators who survived the era of lockouts and lockdowns but may not survive noise complaints. Here’s one practical way we can help venues to survive and to back our live music industry.”

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Rodrigues added to the sentiment: “We’re on a mission to support future live performance and music venues in NSW so they can focus more on customer experience and reap the benefits of hosting live performance. We’ve also learnt through our Uptown program that there’s a lot to be gained by building the capability of the sector and then supporting that skills development with grant funding. It’s excellent to be partnering with Sound NSW to really focus on rebuilding our grass roots performance culture. It means more options for consumers when it comes to a night out.”

Also weighing in was Emily Collins – interim head of Sound NSW – who said the Venues Unlocked initiative “will provide a boost to the state’s vital live music ecosystem by supporting venues to access expert acoustic advice and necessary soundproofing upgrades”.

She expounded: “Better sound mitigation will help venues open their doors to more local and touring artists, while ensuring a carefully considered approach to impacts on their community. High quality venues are the backbone of a strong live music and performance industry, and this program aims to lay a solid foundation for a new era of revitalisation.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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