Venues Unlocked, jointly delivered by Sound NSW and the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, is making $5m available for soundproofing and skill-building for NSW live music venues.

Minister for the Arts and Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy John Graham spoke about the importance of live music for NSW venues.

“We’ve already lost half our live music venues in NSW. I’m talking to five or six of the best operators who survived the era of lockouts and lockdowns but may not survive noise complaints. Here’s one practical way we can help venues to survive and to back our live music industry,” Graham said.

The Venues Unlocked program is part of the NSW Government’s proposed Vibrancy Reforms, which aim to support live performance in NSW venues. The proposed reforms will reduce the current red tape surrounding noise disturbance complaints, with one set of laws for all venues, a higher threshold imposed for complaints to progress, and no avenue for a single complainant to force closure of a venue.

The program consists of two schemes to help fund and support established and emerging live music venues.

Delivered by Sound NSW, Soundproofing Grants for Live Music Venues is a $2m program which allows eligible live music venues to apply for grants of up to $100,000. The grants enable venues to establish industry best practice sound management through infrastructure improvements, new equipment, and sound mitigation procedures.

Emily Collins, Interim Head of Sound NSW said: “This much-needed program will provide a boost to the State’s vital live music ecosystem by supporting venues to access expert acoustic advice and necessary soundproofing upgrades. Better sound mitigation will help venues open their doors to more local and touring artists, while ensuring a carefully considered approach to impacts on their community.”

The Live Performance Venue Program is a two phase program delivered by the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, with a grant pool of $3m.

Phase one, the Live Performance Venue Accelerator, consists of specialist workshops that will enable eligible hospitality businesses to develop skills, confidence and capacity for hosting live music. These workshops will cover aspects such as marketing, programming and essential equipment training.

Phase two, the Live Performance Venue Grant Program, has a funding pool of $1.6m, with eligible businesses able to apply for grants of up to $80,000. The purpose of this program is to support the development of live music-related skills and concretise them in the business.

NSW’s 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues, explained the importance of the program.

“We’re on a mission to support future live performance and music venues in NSW so they can focus more on customer experience and reap the benefits of hosting live performance. We’ve also learnt through our Uptown program that there’s a lot to be gained by building the capability of the sector and then supporting that skills development with grant funding. It’s excellent to be partnering with Sound NSW to really focus on rebuilding our grass roots performance culture. It means more options for consumers when it comes to a night out,” Rodrigues sai.

Applications to the program opened on 13 November 2023, with further details are available through the Venues Unlocked website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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