Foo Fighters to headline Victoria’s live music revival, but concerns remain for smaller venues | australian music
US rock band Foo Fighters will perform a unique Victorian concert in Geelong next Friday, becoming the first major international musical group to visit Australia since the pandemic began.
The band’s Geelong show – the first major music event at the GMHBA stadium – will coincide with the launch of a new 7,500 capacity pop-up concert venue in Reunion Park as the Victorian government attempts to revitalize the scene musical beat.
But local venues and developers said more was needed locally, including providing certainty about how potential future Covid lockdowns might work, in order for the industry to recover.
Foo Fighters, which won 12 Grammys and premieres its comedic horror flick Workshop 666 this week – will be supported by local bands Amyl and the Sniffers and The Meanies.
The performance will herald the arrival of a new statewide music event – Always Live – to be held across Victoria in the second half of the year.
State Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said on Wednesday that around 25,000 music fans would attend the concert in Geelong on March 4.
“Foo Fighters, in terms of the quality of this act, should give you a pretty good idea of what we’re trying to achieve here,” he told reporters.
Always Live – led by the late music industry executive Michael Gudinski – aims to fund and celebrate contemporary live music from Australia and beyond. The full program of the event will be unveiled in the middle of the year.
Matt Gudinski, chairman of Always Live and son of Michael Gudinski, said the event had been a “passionate project” for his late father to ensure Victoria remained the “music capital of Australia”.
“I know Dad would be very proud to see the event launched and to play a major role in re-establishing a thriving live music scene,” he said.
In New South Wales, a similar series of live music run by the state government called Great Southern Nights kicks off next month, featuring a range of local acts such as Jimmy Barnes and Kate Ceberano.
Paris Martine, a tour operator who also organizes concerts for the Curtin Hotel, said the Foo Fighters gig was welcome but the Victorian government needed to shift its focus from major events to smaller band venues.
“It’s wonderful that this sector is coming back, but these types of gigs aren’t the engine room where bands are built. They’re not the engine rooms where bands cut their teeth and perform their first gig. album,” she said.
“You have to focus on small group rooms and what needs to happen to get them done.”
Last week, the Curtin – a cornerstone of Melbourne’s music scene – became the latest live music venue to announce it would close for the last time in November, the owners of the nearly 150-year-old building having decided to sell the space. .
Martine said while the industry was excited about the recent removal of restrictions on live music events, it was time to start planning for what would be needed if Covid restrictions were to return.
“It’s not the government’s premier rodeo anymore, so no one can turn around and say, ‘We didn’t expect this to happen’. What we need is some certainty to know what happens if there is a new strain,” she said.
“There needs to be a checklist where the government says, ‘these are the environments that rely solely on high density to be viable’, to ensure support arrives immediately. And when we come out, [restrictions in] concert halls must develop directly in line with other forms of activity. So if dancing is back, it’s back at all levels, not just at weddings. If density restrictions lift during major events, they lift for smaller venues.
Simone Pulga, manager of Melbourne venue The Butterfly Club, said Always Live would not be enough to reverse the “two years of catastrophic systemic collapse” the music industry had suffered.
“It is highly unlikely that this will be the last we will hear about the challenges of Covid… whenever there is a need to lock down, the government feels it is the first time and it is to new March 2020,” he said.
“It is now fair for us to expect the government to come up with policies when we are not in emergency mode that will be used in an emergency. Things like liquor licenses having to be charged in full during Covid restrictions, and financial support of the kind that can be quickly given to artists and venues.
Tickets for the Foo Fighters’ Geelong performance go on sale from noon Friday and range from $99 to $220.
Victoria’s Reunion Park, which will be located at the Burnley Circus site in the town of Yarra in Melbourne’s east-central, will host unique musical performances, festivals and art exhibitions. The space with a capacity of 7,500 people consists of two tents and will run from March 4 to April 10.