Across March and April 2022, over 1,000 Australian artists performed more than 500 gigs for thousands of music-lovers as part of Great Southern Nights, reviving live music across NSW, and supporting thousands of NSW jobs across local communities.
Great Southern Nights overcame a raft of challenges to bring live music back to NSW communities far and wide, with COVID-Safe gigs taking place in communities right across the State. From Broken Hill to Brunswick Heads - hundreds of Australia’s most talented artists, crew and music venues banded together to do what they love and do best – putting on shows again and getting thousands of people out to experience the joy of live music again.
Feature artist Missy Higgins said of Great Southern Nights “It’s just so good to finally have opportunities to play live music again. Great Southern Nights is a much-needed injection of life into an industry that’s suffered badly lately. Not only do they put on big headline shows but more importantly they support hundreds of smaller venues and artists who are trying to grow their fan base from the ground up. Those venues are their lifeline. Hopefully there’ll be more initiatives like it in the future.”
Despite navigating the pandemic and floods, only a handful of Great Southern Nights shows were postponed and have since been rescheduled. George Sheppard, of Australian streaming sensation Sheppard who performed in the flood ravaged Northern Rivers region commented “Thanks to Great Southern Nights, we were thrilled to play our first NSW headline show in years at The Kingscliff Beach Hotel. Because of this, we were able to provide some much-needed music and positivity to a region which has recently been decimated by the floods. As we all know, music is a great tool for healing, and it was so wonderful to see families in the crowd smiling, singing, and having a fun night out together. Great Southern Nights is a fantastic program assisting the music industry to return to live stage after a decimating few years, and in turn enables them to bring some much-needed joy back to their audiences.”
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the success of Great Southern Nights was just the tonic the live music industry needed and key to reigniting the NSW visitor economy. Further stating, “Live music supports an entire ecosystem of our visitor economy, from artists and crew to venues and their staff and suppliers, to surrounding businesses and whole communities, which is why the NSW Government launched the inaugural Great Southern Nights initiative back in 2020. This year, Great Southern Nights has once again helped to rebuild and reinvigorate live music and provide practical support for the music industry following the challenges of the past two years. It has also provided a much-needed economic boost to our regions, which is key to our recovery roadmap for the NSW visitor economy.”
ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd said Great Southern Nights has had a massively positive impact on all aspects of the industry which has been decimated over the past couple of years.“Great Southern Nights has certainly played a major role in reigniting the NSW live music scene after an extraordinarily challenging time for the industry. ARIA is so proud of the initiative and what it has achieved despite a raft of challenges. It’s well and truly made a difference to the lives and livelihoods of artists and communities across the state” Ms. Herd said.
Great Southern Nights is a NSW Government initiative through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association.