Queensland Infuses $1.06 Million ‘Lifeline’ to Support Struggling Music Venues, Local Scene

Queensland injects cash into struggling music venues
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Queensland injects cash into struggling music venues
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Photo Credit: Romain Terpreau

Still reeling from the cancellation of several music festivals and venues, Queensland infuses $1.06 million to support local music businesses.

Queensland has taken perhaps the biggest brunt of Australia’s recent music business pressures, including the closure of The Zoo, the cancellation of Caloundra Music Festival, and other cancelled live events. But now, the Queensland government has pledged $1.06 million ($1.6 million AUS) as a “lifeline” for local music businesses.

The cash boost is detailed in the state budget, which was presented Tuesday, June 11. QMusic, producers of the annual Bigsound showcase event and conference, and the Queensland Music Awards, has welcomed the funding package, which will “support Queensland live music venues and our local musicians, alongside the establishment of a Nighttime Economy Commissioner,” according to CEO Kris Stewart.

“We’ve had the opportunity [over the last three years] to speak to both sides of the aisle through events like the Parliamentary Friends of the Music Industry,” said Stewart. “We’ve always felt there is a genuineness in their passion for the industry and commitment to seeing it succeed.”

Stewart admits the money is “not a magic bullet fix,” but “the ability to directly target this $1.6 million to where it can make a real impact means it’s a great lifeline for our artists and venues that need it most.”

The funding package was revealed on the heels of the government’s announcement of a Nighttime Economy Commissioner, a new role to help support venues and festivals that have been “navigating tough times.” And the timing couldn’t be better — The Zoo, a beloved Brisbane venue, will close its doors on July 8.

“[The] financial reality of keeping music venues afloat in 2024 is all too stark,” reads a statement from The Zoo released earlier this year. The news was surprising, given that the venue had posted its highest ticket sales in its 32-year history just last year, which was “still not enough to combat rising operational costs and decreasing returns.”

Similarly, the Caloundra Music Festival, initially planned for October, was cancelled, with organizers citing “punishing operating costs and cost-of-living pressures.”