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February 25, 2021

Arts sector unable to operate, in dire straits: Splendour in the Grass

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The North Byron Parklands site, where Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival are held.

Organisers of Splendour in the Grass are calling on the federal government to release critically needed funds to assist the arts sector.

According to www.arts.gov.au, ‘On 26 September, the Government announced $22.9 million in 2020–21 to support Australia’s national cultural institutions during COVID-19. This funding will ensure services and programs continue to be delivered to the Australian people’.

While that funding is yet to be made available,  the Morrison government says ‘$800 million of additional support to strengthen Australia’s cultural and creative sector’ has been pledged.

It comes as the event organisers won two trophies at the Australian Event Awards, held last week. They were for Best Tourism Event and Event Producer of the Year.

Splendour’s Co-founder and Co-CEO of Secret Sounds Group, Jessica Ducrou says, ‘Not $1 of the federal funding for arts and entertainment businesses has reached the industry as yet, and it wont until January 2021’.

‘Splendour in the Grass 2019 sold out in just hours, culminating in a total attendance of 42,500 patrons per day at North Byron Parklands and generating an estimated $66 million* in gross regional product’.

Ms Ducrou says, ‘While I am absolutely thrilled to have received this recognition for the Splendour in the Grass team and also personally, it comes at a time when the live music industry is unable to operate and is in dire straits’.

‘While state governments have relaxed restrictions to allow 40,000 people to gather at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium for football finals and 11,000 at Royal Randwick for the races in the interest of economic recovery, there has been no such assistance for our Australian music festivals, which employed 9,176 FTE workers and injected over $2.7b into the Australian economy in 2019. An 86 per cent loss (economic and jobs) is projected for  2020.

‘We need the government to support the industry with a Business Interruption Fund, Event Cancellation Fund or Insurance, led by the industry and underwritten by Government, as has been provided to the film industry.

‘We need the continuation of JobKeeper support for employees in our industry until live entertainment returns to normal operation and without the constraints of major restrictions.

‘We need a moratorium on GST on live event tickets, following the precedent set in the UK.

‘We need a significant expansion of the RISE grant funding program, with a particular focus on assisting commercial, non-subsidised live entertainment operators to deliver live events in COVID-safe formats.

‘We need a level playing field. Allowances and relaxations afforded to the racing and sporting industries should also apply to the live entertainment industry’.


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