Embargo until 6am, Thursday 7 May 2020
Greens Councillor Mithra Cox has proposed "ten weeks of live music" as part of Wollongong's economic stimulus plan after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
"Council would subsidise local bars and cafes to pay musicians to perform over a 10 week period, to encourage people to come back into our central shopping districts," Cr Cox said.
"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.
"The idea is that venues would be clustered together, to encourage people to come out and be confident that there will be lots going on, like you get with 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.
"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.
"At award wages, three nights a week, half a million dollars could fund approximately 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.
“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 we can support our community and stimulate our economic recovery when the pandemic is over, and I believe that the direct support to musicians and the hospitality industry with this initiative is one of the most cost effective ways that we can do that," Cr Cox said.
More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322