Discontent Arises Among Venues Over Victoria's 10,000 Gigs Fund

Published May 3, 2024

In Victoria, a government initiative meant to boost the live music scene is facing criticism from the very venues it aimed to aid. The state's 10,000 Gigs program, a fund unveiled with much fanfare as part of a wider attempt to reinvigorate a sector struggling from COVID's impact, is being called unworkable and misguided by venue operators.

Program Proposals and Venue Reactions

Originally announced by former Premier Daniel Andrews before the November 2022 elections, the 10,000 Gigs program promised a $7.5 million Live Music Performers Fund. This was supposed to support musicians and artists and achieve the goal of hosting 10,000 live performances across Victoria within four years.

Funding Allocation Concerns

Despite the good intentions, venue operators have expressed concerns about the strict and, in their view, unrealistic conditions attached to the funding, including the need to offer a certain number of performances and minimum compensation for artists. Sash Janssen, a former venue owner, criticized the program for its high gig targets which he believes distracts from the larger goal of keeping the live music industry prosperous.

The Live Music Ecosystem at Risk

A Melbourne venue booker, who remained anonymous, stressed that the fund seemed to focus on performer income rather than supporting the entire music ecosystem, which includes technical and promotional roles essential to the industry. The sentiment was echoed by another booker who underscored the increase in costs and the financial hardship venues are currently experiencing, making profitability a challenge.

Government Response to Concerns

In light of the issues raised, Colin Brooks, Victoria's minister for creative industries, stressed the government's dedication to the music sector and its openness to feedback. The challenges faced by venues are nationwide, he added, and Victoria is at the forefront in providing support. With the application deadline approaching, it remains to be seen how the feedback will influence the delivery of the program.

Music, Funding, Venues