Petition calls on government to save our live event industry

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OPINION: There is a palpable distress in the Aotearoa events industry at the moment.

It hit hard last week when the government ran the red light to help stop the spread of Omicron.

Notifications came quickly thereafter, my phone ringing regularly over the past week with sad notifications: The Great Kiwi Beer Festival “cancelled”, Dartz and Clap Clap Riot “had to cancel our show”, or others reading “we have postponed our show”. four times, and now it’s cancelled” – festivals, one-off shows, album launches, often involving years of effort, all canceled.

Behind each cancellation hides a village of suffering people.

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Many of our musicians, artists, actors, roadies and technical teams in the live event industry are once again facing months of hardship and limited or no income due to the lights going red. traffic.

Shows are limited to a maximum of 100 people, which means that much of the sector cannot operate as the cost of hosting a show will leave them out.

The wage subsidy scheme and resurgence payments are no longer offered, leaving many in the events industry without support.

Whenever a major crisis hits Aotearoa, our musicians are often called upon to give charity concerts. They do it voluntarily with a big heart and often at a cost to themselves. Now it’s our turn to help them.

After two years of postponed shows, canceled shows, touring and record releases, many in the music community — who rely heavily on summer shows to get through harsh winters — are at rock bottom.

There seems to be some confusion around the artistic and cultural events support program, for events with less than 5000 seats, which only seems to apply if the holder of the event had demonstrated a “financial commitment for the dates scheduled from the event to November 29, 2021”.

The Major Events Insurance Scheme will cover the cancellation of major festivals, but it could still take more than three weeks for performers and independent contractors to get paid.

Some are eligible for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund or the Event Transition Support Payment Program, but others are not.

A petition is currently circulating urging the government to offer support payments to workers and businesses unable to operate in the red frame, but each of us can also do our part to help those most affected in our events industry live.

Did you buy a ticket for a canceled event? Remember not to ask for a refund.

Like a local band that had to cancel a gig? Buy their merchandise and their music. Visit Bandcamp and find bands in your area and support them. Support your independent record store, a vital hub for many.

Reach out to your favorite creatives in Aotearoa directly and let them know how much their work means to you.

Shapeshifter performed to a responsive crowd at a You Are Us - Aroha Nui benefit concert, held at Christchurch Stadium in 2019.

Iain McGregor / Stuff

Shapeshifter performed to a responsive crowd at a You Are Us – Aroha Nui benefit concert, held at Christchurch Stadium in 2019.

Creative fields are often lonely and isolating pursuits – sometimes the only feedback our artists get is during the summer, directly from the crowds in front of them. Without this outlet, it can seriously affect the mental health of performers.

Perhaps contact the hospitality and entertainment venues you would normally visit weekly and prepay them – donate the cost of a few coffees or a blanket each week to help a concert venue stay under tension during these dark times.

More than one long-time events expert has retired from the industry with poignant lines released via social media this week.

Others, like musician and promoter Kurt Shanks, rallied their support.

“The music industry has presented the government’s two shots for the summer campaign,” he wrote this week in a widely shared online post.

“But post-lockdown we had just three weeks to try and win, between Auckland going orange on New Years Eve and then New Zealand snapping red on January 23.

THINGS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces changes to wearing a mask under the red light setting.

“Musicians, crews, producers and festival/hall workers – we earn 70% of our annual income in the summer. But the summer has just been canceled.

“The industry is in a depression.”

His band Stellar* had four summer festivals canceled this week and his concert company Plus1, which recently canceled a Violent Femmes tour, is in the process of canceling other shows.

There’s a reason why music is often used as therapy.

Our creative sector benefits society in ways that the commerce sector does not always fully appreciate, but it should also be noted that our creative industries, including film, add $3.5 billion to the GDP of the New Zealand.

When you buy the ticket and take the tour, you are supporting more than those on stage, you are supporting a network of highly skilled people who make up our collective music and arts communities.

Roadies, security, lighting experts, sound monitors, fence builders, closets, makeup artists, rigging crew, drivers, singers, actors, comedians to independent record stores, venues, ticket agencies and more.

Nobody who runs a concert hall or a small theater is there for the money.

Now is the time to support our creative community, so that they can continue to inspire us and provide us with those perfect moments that bring meaning and joy to our lives.

One day we will dance together again.

Where to get help

MusicHelps offers specialist wellness service, information and support to those in need in the entertainment industry

Work and Income may be able to offer financial assistance through the Short Term Absence Payment, Leave Support Program, or through other specific needs requests. IRD may also be able to assist with tax relief measures

1737, Need to talk? Call for free or text 1737 anytime for help from a qualified advisor

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 in Auckland

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for ages 5-18). Telephone consultations are available Monday to Friday, from noon to 11 p.m. and on weekends, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Live chat is available from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7

thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)

Support for families with mental illness – 0800 732 825

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