Midnight Oil, Missy Higgins and more to have gigs rescheduled after WA government expands live music support

The government faced pressure from artists and music industry professionals after its support package only covered cancelled events, not rescheduled ones

Midnight Oil and Missy Higgins are among the artists that will benefit from an expansion to the Western Australia government’s Getting The Show Back On The Road+ (GTSBOTR+) initiative, announced this week after artists and music industry professionals criticised the programme over its previous restrictions.

GTSBOTR+ was launched in January 2022, itself a revamped version of a previous government initiative. It was described at the time as “a generous multi-million-dollar package” that “aims to reduce the financial risks associated with running ticketed events” and “encourage the safe continuation of public ticketed events”.

It would cover 75 per cent of ticket sale revenue lost due to events being cancelled, up to a maximum of $150,000 (with exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis).

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The programme did not cover rescheduled events, however, only offering grants to those that were cancelled outright. That spurred criticism from artists, promoters and touring companies hoping to host shows in WA, especially given the state’s unpredictability with COVID-19 restrictions being implemented, extended and lifted.

Midnight Oil were among the acts airing their frustration over the government’s treatment of the live music industry, after it was announced on March 1 that outdoor concerts in WA would have capacities restricted to 500 people for at least four weeks (though sporting events would be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity).

“It is imperative that the WA State Government helps local promoters and event workers get back on their feet by staging these shows at a later time,” the band wrote in a statement shared on social media.

Yesterday Western Australia announced that outdoor concerts crowds are capped at only 500 people for at least the next 4…

Posted by Midnight Oil on Monday, February 28, 2022

Missy Higgins also made her disappointment known, writing in a Facebook post that she and her team “feel bad for all the local suppliers and staff who will now miss out on work”. She too called on the state government to “help the local promoters find a way to reschedule these shows for a later date”.

McGowan’s government announced yesterday (March 15) that both Higgins and the Oils will have their shows rescheduled – as will a suite of other artists affected by WA’s current restrictions, including Crowded House, Hoodoo Gurus, Hunters And Collectors, Jimmy Barnes, Mondo Rock, Ian Moss, Birds Of Tokyo and The Waifs. According to a press release, those shows would have been cancelled outright were it not for the expansion of GTSBOTR+.

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Under the programme’s refreshed guidelines, promoters can apply for remuneration of up to 30 per cent of a rescheduled event’s pre-approved box office value, up to $150,000. McGowan said in a statement that the initiative would “[give] organisers more certainty to put on shows in the current environment”, and “reduce risks for organisers by enabling them to access financial support when shows need to be rescheduled”.

We’ve expanded our support for the live music industry – giving organisers more certainty to put on shows in the current…

Posted by Mark McGowan on Monday, March 14, 2022

In his own statement, Brad Mellan – president of Live Entertainment WA, the newly launched association “established to represent the live entertainment industry in Western Australia” amid the ongoing pandemic – pointed out that “there’s still the problem of shortfalls in sales when sold out shows are rescheduled”, but praised the expansion of GTSBOTR+ for showing that the WA state government “listened to representations and has acted to provide assistance for rescheduling”.

He continued: “Hopefully, things will get back to something like normal in the next few months and Western Australia will again see international acts absent now for more than two years.”

David Templeman, WA’s minister for Culture and the Arts, said: “Live event organisers now have more certainty around putting on shows in Western Australia during this difficult time, knowing they are supported with the unrecoverable costs of rescheduling. We have listened to feedback from the live events industry and expanded the program accordingly.”

Additionally, the end date for GTSBOTR+ has been extended, with applications open until 4pm on Thursday June 30. More details on the program can be found here.

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