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Perth Venue Action Meeting photo

Perth Venue Action Meeting overview and thoughts from WAM’s CEO

27 Feb


There were a tonne of impassioned ideas and opinions thrown about at the Perth Venue Action Meeting on February 23 2015 at the soon-to-close venue The Bakery, as you’d expect when media, politicians and music industry and fans alike gather to discuss what some are describing as a ‘time of crisis’ for Perth venues. With some of the back-story here, WAM’s CEO Mike Harris – and one of the panellists on the night – provides some further insight into the meeting and some of the relevant actions WAM is involved in.

*You can also catch Mike offering further thoughts on RTRFM’s Morning Mag this coming Tuesday soon after 9am.

“It was great to see such a strong turn out on the night, and most of the panel with Golden WAMis to their names. A variety of views were put forward as to the current state of the live music scene and what, if anything, needs to be done to protect that now and into the future. It was noted that it wasn’t only live music that had issues with venue access, with other genres of the performing arts feeling marginalised due to a lack of suitable space outside of arts festival seasons. You can read various accounts of the evening below.

At one point Simon Collins (Music Editor, The West Australian) asked what WAM was doing for audience development, as this was noted by Jason Cleary as a key issue. To answer that question in a little more detail, WAM unfortunately isn’t funded by the government to specifically undertake any audience development programs. As such, any such audience development-focused program needs to be funded through other sources. Previously Healthway supported this role in the youth arena, and we hope to reinstate it with support from the right sponsor. WAM is conducting a model of the schools programs with the support of WA based property group Hawaiian, as well as developing original music audiences in regional areas via programs like the Regional Touring Circuit and Sounds of series.

Programs such as the Music Industry Sundowner Series and the WA Music Conference are designed to empower the music industry at all levels with the tools, knowledge and networks to make their own positive contribution to audience development. Events like State Of The Art and the WAM Festival are ultimately all about creating new markets for WA music talent, and hence expanding audiences at a diverse range of venues and events. Such events and programs provide a brief snapshot, and we continue to explore ways we can expand and make them more effective.

Government support for venue establishment costs was a consistent theme at the meeting, with Luke Rinaldi suggesting production infrastructure support. On this point, WAM has called for bipartisan support from the government and opposition to work with the industry to smooth out or fund solutions to legislative barriers such as BCA, access and liquor licensing.

The next stage is pulling together an action group, and WAM looks forward to working with that group to secure the best possible long-term benefits to the music industry. We’re also reconvening the Music Council to discuss these issues and more.

Here’s to a venue-filled future.

- Mike Harris (CEO, WAM)

Some more accounts of the meeting and ideas raised from: RTRFM  II  @X-Press Magazine  II  The West Australian  II

Also of interest, PULMAC – Perth’s Underground Liver Music Appreciation Club – are currently running an online poll in the hopes of gaining better insight into what barriers some people find they have when it comes to attending local original gigs. This poll is specifically targeting responses from music fans/non-musicians.

More info here.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts Australian Government

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.