Illawarra performers losing gigs, income due to the coronavirus pandemic - Illawarra Greens

Illawarra performers losing gigs, income due to the coronavirus pandemic

Like many others in the performing arts, Veteran comedic performer Dave Evans and country musician Benn Gunn are facing a loss of income as events are cancelled because of COVID-19.

The Greens are backing calls by the arts and creative industry for an urgent $500 million rescue package to prevent collapse of the sector in the face of COVID-19.

Wollongong Greens councillor Mithra Cox, also a musician herself, said a lot of artists and performers had used up their savings to get through the summer after the bushfires led to many event cancellations.

This was compounded by upcoming events not going ahead, and less typically taking place in winter, meaning it was a "scary time" for those within the gig economy.

"One of the things the Greens have been calling for is a rent amnesty and no evictions during the crisis, because there will be people who just simply can't pay their rent," Cr Cox said.

"People should also buy music from independent artists... Because that's a way of ensuring that people like musicians are still having some income coming in."

Read the article by Brendan Crabb in The Illawarra Mercury, 17 March 2020.

PERFORMANCE: Each year, Dave Evans and Tamara Campbell present the K.I.S.S. Arts Festival.
PERFORMANCE: Each year, Dave Evans and Tamara Campbell present the K.I.S.S. Arts Festival.

"I'm seriously considering getting another job and doing something else," he said with a laugh.

"There are going to be a lot of artists who are out of work and looking to make money through other means.

"At the moment, all of our work has just been cancelled."

Each year, Kiama residents/performers Evans and Tamara Campbell present an interstate and international line-up of comedy, circus and music as part of the K.I.S.S. Arts Festival.

The pair also tour the UK and Europe each year.

Evans said they were booked for work in the UK in June/July, which he said was looking unlikely due to potential event cancellations and quarantine restrictions.

Evans said they hadn't made a decision on whether the K.I.S.S. Arts Festival at the end of April would go ahead, but said it was "looking increasingly unlikely".

He said the annual festival attracts thousands over the weekend, and such event cancellations would "cripple" the economy of some small towns.

The Greens are backing calls by the arts and creative industry for an urgent $500 million rescue package to prevent collapse of the sector in the face of COVID-19.

APPEAL: Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox has encouraged the public to support working musicians by buying their music.

APPEAL: Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox has encouraged the public to support working musicians by buying their music.

Wollongong Greens councillor Mithra Cox, also a musician herself, said a lot of artists and performers had used up their savings to get through the summer after the bushfires led to many event cancellations.

This was compounded by upcoming events not going ahead, and less typically taking place in winter, meaning it was a "scary time" for those within the gig economy.

"One of the things the Greens have been calling for is a rent amnesty and no evictions during the crisis, because there will be people who just simply can't pay their rent," Cr Cox said.

"People should also buy music from independent artists... Because that's a way of ensuring that people like musicians are still having some income coming in."

INCOME: Kiama musician and teacher Benn Gunn is already feeling the effects of gig cancellations. Picture: File image

INCOME: Kiama musician and teacher Benn Gunn is already feeling the effects of gig cancellations. Picture: File image

Kiama country musician Benn Gunn performs around the region, and teaches guitar at Fairy Meadow.

On Tuesday, Gunn said he'd lost two gigs that day, and many musician friends were experiencing the same.

"I'm starting to get students concerned about it... I've got some that are going to be doing it via livestream," he said. "That may be just for the older students, or anyone who's concerned, to have that as an option just until things blow over."