Arts

Gigs gagged by COVID-19

Mass gathering bans due to COVID-19 have had devastating effects on local arts workers since they were announced last week. 

As a direct result of this Lost My Gig, a website recording cancelled and postponed events, reports a current total income loss of $200 million from approximately 220,000 events across Australia.

Lost My Gig reported more than 400,000 people have been directly affected from performers, to technicians’ teams to venue staff who rely on contract work provided by these gigs. 

Local Theatre technician and stage manager Sean Smith said with no warning of the ban, the majority of the industry lost its source of income unexpectedly and into the foreseeable future. 

Local independent promoter Mia Hyde, owner of Plant Milk Music, has felt the impact of upcoming events being cancelled alongside no real support from industry bodies or the government to get by. 

“I am just going gig by gig and release by release and going by each thing to survive so when it gets cancelled that’s our income for the next month or so just cancelled as well,” she said.

Ms Hyde said the decision had been devastating for many artists who worked hard to secure regular gigs to ensure regular income.

“When you’ve relied so heavily on your art because you’ve worked for years and years to get to a place where you can and it’s very heartbreaking.”

Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of leading industry body Live Performance Australia, is calling on the federal government to help support art-based companies and their employees. 

Those in the gig economy said they were looking towards alternative ways to showcase their performances and keep the industry alive throughout this time. 

“We are talking about ideas of how we can still stay open or we can deliver arts events intuitive in digital ways rather than live performance,” said Mr Smith. 

Ms Hyde said her organisation was also working on alternative ways to present gigs such as live streaming or smaller house events.  

Local event spaces remained empty with current bans in place for all non-essential gatherings with more than 500 people in outdoor spaces and 100 people at non-essential indoor events. 

An empty State Theatre Centre, Perth. Photo: Amber Lilley.