An assortment of Melbourne millionaires, philanthropists and business leaders have thrown financial support behind the Music for Victoria Fund, to help the struggling sector.
A joint initiative from Arts Centre Melbourne, James Morrison AM, the Aussie Pops Orchestra and Jane Gazzo, the fund aims to support the state’s 700 live music venues by subsidising fees to get bands back on their stages.
It has launched with $500,000 in donations so far, from figures including Just Jeans founder Craig Kimberley OAM, the Pratt Family Foundation, Show Travel, retail juggernaut Solomon Lew, the Deague Family, the Beck Family Foundation and engineering entrepreneurs Denis Roche and Ken Roche AO.
Broadcaster Eddie McGuire AM, designer Creina Cadden, stockbroker David Evans, Athletics Australia president Rob Fildes and Melbourne Football Club president Geoff Freeman are also among the donors listed on the Arts Centre Melbourne website.
The fund will offer grants of up to $2,000 each to venue owners. Grant applications can be made here and are open from now until June 30, unless the funding is already exhausted.
“The objective of the fund is to provide recovery support for the live music sector in Victoria following the significant disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to the operation of live music venues,” Arts Centre Melbourne said in a statement.
“The fund aims to support venues to book a live performance by providing a grant to cover the costs of booking an artist or band.
“The venue will pay the artist directly and be reimbursed by the fund.”
In February, figures released by APRA AMCOS revealed that live music in Victoria has been operating at four per cent of pre-COVID levels. Around 100,000 gigs were cancelled in the state during 2020, losing the sector $1.42billion in economic gain.