I Lost My Gig today revealed the findings of its second survey initiative, painting an alarming picture for the immediate future of Australian live performance and events due to the impacts of COVID-19.
In a national survey of almost 2,000 professionals, 23,000 gigs and events were found to have been cancelled, equating to nearly $64M of lost income since July 1st this year – or $16M per week. Of this lost revenue, survey results showed 99% had no income protection or event cancellation insurance.
Since March 2020, just 7% of professionals working in the live performance and events industries have been able to operate at pre-COVID levels. Border closures, capacity restrictions, and quarantine issues continue to devastate live performances and events across the country, wreaking havoc on touring schedules, and creating what respondents describe as a never-ending cycle of unpaid show rescheduling.
This continues to decimate industry confidence, with 60% of respondents saying they’ve recently looked for work in other industries.
Melbourne musician Hannah Crofts from All Our Exes Live in Texas/Baby Velvet said: “After 16 months of cancelled gigs and reduced capacity-shows, this latest round of lockdown has truly hit the hardest. What the general public, and the government, don’t realise is that I don’t just lose work for the weeks we are in lockdown but the devastating ricochet effect it has on my career the following days, weeks and months. All but one of my shows have been cancelled for the remainder of the year - it's crushing both professionally and financially and hard for all musicians around me to see a path forward”.
Government support programs are also leaving many respondents feeling unseen, unsupported and undervalued. Over 67% claimed they were ineligible for the Federal Government’s Disaster Relief Payment, and over 50% said they were unclear about the funding being offered by their state/territory governments.
A significant number of respondents expressed frustration at what they perceived as government prioritisation of sporting events in lieu of meaningful support of the creative industries. Desperate pleas for a return of JobKeeper, poor mental health and well-being, ongoing financial distress and a lack of hope were also common themes.
Phil English from Showcall Crewing stated “Cafes and restaurants can operate at 20-30% capacity through lockdowns by opening for takeaway. Our business can’t do takeaway. Lockdowns cause an unsustainable domino effect on bookings. We even pivoted to crewing reality TV shows, and now that’s also gone in NSW. We need continued support for the industry, or there will be nothing left to save”.
The industry is yet to fully recover from the devastating impacts of 2020 restrictions, with one survey respondent saying “It’s hard to qualify loss when gigs aren’t necessarily cancelled but we’re not getting new bookings. We don’t know how many we’re losing when the shows aren’t booked in the first place”.
Without immediate support, certainty and significant state and federal intervention, the world-renowned Australian music and events industries could take up to a decade to return, signifying thousands of lost jobs and a grim future for creatives and audiences alike.
Below is a snapshot of data collected through I Lost My Gig up to July 29. This is an ongoing data-capture project and updates will be released weekly.
|Events cancelled since July 1, 2021||23,100|
|Lost income from these cancellations||$63,743,750|
|Employees directly impacted by these cancellations||23,657|
|Shows cancelled between July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021||82,983|
|% of respondents with insurance to cover loss||1% with (99% without)|
|Able to operate normally since pandemic began||7.40%|
|Eligible for Fed Disaster payment||33% Yes, 67% No|
|Eligible for state packages||16% Yes, 50% Unsure, 25% Not eligible|
|Recently looked for work in other industries||60%|
|Seeking opportunities OS due to delayed reopening||35%|
I Lost My Gig Australia (ILMG) is an initiative of the Australian Festivals Association (AFA) and Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN). It was established in March 2020 as a short-term quick response data capture project to quantify the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australia’s live event and entertainment industries. It is supported by industry-leading bodies including ARIA, PPCA, APRA AMCOS, Live Performance Australia, Support Act, Crew Care, Electronic Music Conference, Sounds Australia, NAVA and more.
Find out more or fill out the survey: ilostmygig.net.au