November 20 marks the return of the annual Support Act Ausmusic T-Shirt Day, giving Australians an opportunity to support their national music industry.
The day will see merchandise splashed across social media under the #ausmusictshirtday hashtag as Australians celebrate their musicians and fundraise for Support Act’s crisis relief and wellbeing services.
Support Act chief executive Clive Miller said this event aimed to put the spotlight on Australian music and support the community that produced it.
“We’re looking to raise funds to be able to support the continuation of the services that we’re providing, while still celebrating Australian music and the people who create it; the artists and the crew and the music workers.”
This is the second Ausmusic T-Shirt Day this year, following the COVID-19 relief edition on April 17, which raised over $26,000.
“The Ausmusic T-Shirt Day that was held in the middle of the year was a response to what was going on and a way to rally some support behind the music industry … I’d call that a mini Ausmusic T-Shirt Day,” Mr Miller said.
Australia’s music industry gutted by COVID-19 restrictions
A recent study by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum found 79,000 live entertainment jobs, or two-thirds of the industry, were lost due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr Miller said there had been a significant increase in members of the music community reaching out for financial and wellbeing aid.
“I’m fond of saying that we have probably processed more crisis relief grants in the last six or seven months than we have in the previous 10 years.
“The majority of people who are struggling financially are often struggling with their mental health as well … they’re concerned about their finances, they’re concerned about their careers.”
At the time of the April Ausmusic T-Shirt Day, COVID-19 lockdowns were active nationwide and mass venue closures prevented any form of concert.
Spacey Jane manager and drummer Kieran Lama said in an April 2020 interview the band’s plans and the whole entertainment industry had been put into hibernation.
“We were going to go overseas … we were going to do an Australian tour. That can’t happen. We’re still going to trek on with releasing new music … but it sucks not being able to promote that on the road,” he said.
“Everything’s come to a bit of a standstill when it comes to the live side of the industry. There’s really nothing that can be done except to sit and wait.”
A positive outlook for the Australian music scene
Restrictions are easing nationally, with states such as Victoria recently emerging from lockdown while others, such as WA, have regained most freedoms.
Lama said Spacey Jane continued to make music during restrictions and was now back to performing live.
“We’ve put out an album, a music video … did a regional tour, played a bunch of headline shows in Perth Metro and now we have a bunch of shows lined up for new year’s … which we definitely didn’t expect to be able to do by the end of the year, but here we are.”
Great Gable lead singer Alex Whiteman said the WA performance circuit had picked up so much it was necessary to book venues in advance, and the outlook from those in the industry was optimistic.
“You’ve got to keep planning because venues book up so quickly … especially if you want to be playing weekends everywhere. Everyone keeps planning for a positive future.”
For more information on Ausmusic T-Shirt Day and how you can support the Australian music community, visit ausmusictshirtday.org.au