Melbourne Music Week extends program to support struggling arts sector

The 2020/21 event will run from December to February

Melbourne’s annual Music Week event will be extended to three months this year to support Victoria’s struggling arts sector in the wake of COVID-19.

Initially slated to take place across seven days in November, the City of Melbourne has today (October 12) announced that the festival will now be held from December 9 to February 28, 2021.

The longer event, dubbed Melbourne Music Week Extended, will enable a greater volume of artists, businesses and venues to get involved, with the program to comprise of 100 per cent local talent.

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Most of the shows will be held outdoors to comply with COVID guidelines, with some smaller, intimate gigs taking place in venues, as permitted. Organisers have assured that the program will move through a “phased COVID-safe approach” and adhere to any restrictions in place for the duration of the festival.

The lineup of free and ticketed events is set to drop at the end of November.

Speaking of the festival in a press statement, City of Melbourne CEO Justin Hanney expressed the importance of supporting the local music community in these trying times.

“Melbourne’s live music scene is renowned internationally and employs thousands of people. We really want Melburnians to get out and support our venues this summer because it’s been an incredibly tough year,” he said.

“I think Melburnians will relish the opportunity to again see live music again. Summer is a crucial time of the year for our live music venues and we want to maximise entertainment across the city.”

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Victoria’s live music sector has been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Greater Melbourne has been under stage four lockdown since August, meaning businesses, venues and musicians have been unable to host gigs or perform shows.

The industry generally contributes $1.7 billion a year to the state’s local economy and creates 42,000 jobs. Those numbers have been drastically affected by the pandemic.

The Victorian Government have been supporting the industry through a series of $13million, $15million and $857,000 funding packages, with City of Melbourne also providing $2million in coronavirus grants.

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