Australian artists criticise RISE funding after $1.35million granted for Guns N’ Roses tour

Illy was among those who hit back at the federal government's decision to grant promoters TEG Dainty the large sum for the rescheduled arena tour

Numerous Australian artists have criticised the federal government’s RISE arts funding scheme, after it was revealed concert promoters TEG Dainty had been given $600,000 in the sixth funding round to go towards their rescheduled Guns N’ Roses Australian tour.

Yesterday (December 22), NME reported that TEG Dainty had received the money to assist with rescheduling the US band’s arena tour, which has long been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour was initially scheduled to kick off last month, but was pushed back to a year to November 2022 due to the pandemic.

It marked the second time TEG Dainty had received funding for the Guns N’ Roses tour as part of the RISE initiative – they were awarded $750,000 in the fourth funding round back in July. Together, the promoters have been granted, meaning all up, the federal government has provided $1.35million towards the tour.

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On Instagram yesterday, Australian musician Illy criticised the decision, sharing a screenshot of official documentation detailing the $750,000 in funding for the tour that was awarded back in July.

“Hey guys! Remember the last 2 years where the entire music industry has been on its knees and beaten to within an inch of its life?” the rapper captioned the post. “And how many people working in the industry fell through the qualifying cracks for support and have barely scraped by, or had to change industries?”

“And how gigs and festivals EVEN NOW are canceling at a moments notice, with NO insurance for the promoters/venues/artists involved? Well good news, the fkn Guns N Roses got three quarters of a million in grants from the government.”

Many other artists commented on Illy’s post voicing their disapproval for the funding being directed to touring an international act at a time when the Australian music industry is still struggling with the effects of the pandemic over the last two years.

“They gotta feed the sweet child of theirs,” wrote Lime Cordiale, while Kira Puru commented, “Thoughts n prayers for the boys hope they’re ok.”

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“Pretty sure I first discovered these young lads on triple j unearthed only a few years ago! Well deserving of the 1.3 million obviously,” joked producer and DJ Benson. “Love when the underdog gets a win,” wrote KYE, while CXLOE added a succinct “Cool cool cool.”

They aren’t the only ones to hit back at the allocation. On Twitter yesterday, Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke wrote: “Yesterday the Govt announced who gets taxpayers’ money for the Arts RISE grants. $600k for the Guns N’ Roses tour.

“And still not a dollar to support a COVID insurance scheme for Australian artists. Does Mr Morrison know what’s happening to the sector?”

Camp Cope drummer Sarah Thompson retweeted Burke’s statement, adding: “Ah yes, the little known struggling Australian band Guns N Roses.”

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher told NME the government was “unapologetic about wanting to see arts and entertainment events reach out to the widest possible audiences” when reached for comment.

“The Morrison Government’s objective, in providing this record level of funding for arts and entertainment, is that as the vaccine rollout continues at a strong pace and states and territories open up, arts companies, promoters and festivals are ready to go.

“This is an important stage in the resurgence of Australia’s arts and entertainment sector. The purpose of the RISE program is to put our performers on stage and get backstage crew back at work – as well as the front of house staff, ushers, box office and security.”

NME has also reached out to TEG Dainty for comment. Originally announced in June of 2020, the government has been routinely criticised for the way it has handled its $200million RISE Fund since the program was first outlined.

In July, it was revealed that, 13 months after first being announced, only half of the funding the government promised to help salvage Australia’s struggling arts and entertainment industries had actually been delivered.

Some have also questioned the allocation of over $1.4million (across two separate funding rounds) for Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught of Nine’s Lego Masters, for an exhibition of Jurassic World scenes recreated with LEGO along with a national tour of his favourite LEGO sculptures.

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