Entertainment, News

Council urged to back live music stimulus package to help kick start economy

live music band photo teelstudios

A proposal has been put forward for Wollongong City Council to fund ’10 weeks of live music” as a stimulus plan after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. Picture: teelstudios.com


A PROPOSAL has been put forward for 10 weeks of live music as part of an economic stimulus plan for Wollongong after the coronavirus pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Ward one Greens councillor Mithra Cox said under her plan Wollongong City Council would subsidise local bars and cafes to pay musicians to perform over a 10 week period, to encourage people to come back into central shopping districts.

“It’s about building a thriving live performance industry in our town, bringing people back together, and also helping our great small bars and small businesses get back on their feet,” she said.

mithra Cox

Cr Mithra Cox

Cr Cox said venues would be clustered together, to encourage people to come out and be confident that there will be lots going on, similar to the Adelaide Fringe Festival or Tamworth Country Music Festival.

“You wouldn’t need to look up what’s happening – you would know that every Thursday, Friday and Saturday there will be heaps on, you can just jump on the Green bus and come for a wander and there will be something to your taste, that is free,” she said.

Under the proposal, venues would be required to book musicians at or above Live Performance Award wages. Then the venues would receive the subsidy from Council after showing proof of payment. Cr Cox said at award wages, three nights a week, half a million dollars could fund about 10 weeks of free live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

“One key condition on the venue would be that there would be no cover charge – so it would be free for the public to go and experience live music, but musicians would be assured a decent gig fee,” she said.

“Creative industries, and bars and cafes have been absolutely decimated by the COVID-19 restrictions. This is something tangible we can do to enliven our city, to re-build locals businesses and get dollars and good times rolling again in our town. This initiative has the potential to build Wollongong’s reputation as Australia’s live music capital.”

Council is currently looking at how it can support the community and stimulate the economic recovery when the pandemic is over. Cr Cox said she believes that the direct support to musicians and the hospitality industry with the ’10 weeks of live music” is a cost effective way to achieve that goal.




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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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