Major funding boost for local live music venues

The Avoca Beach Theatre, Shady Palm’s, Hardys Bay Community Club, and Link and Pin café will share $150,000, part of the NSW Government’s Live Music Support Package.

The Avoca Beach Theatre has received the most considerable portion of the funding, taking home $120,000 to help expand and enrich their live music scene.

Owner, Norman Hunter, said they were excited about the announcement.

“We are so excited about this,” Hunter said.

“It will enable us to put in place the things we have been dreaming about, and we have ideas that we have been working on that this will facilitate.

“We already do a lot of live music, but it will allow us to expand and present a wonderfully diverse range of music, including top-line performers that we haven’t been able to obtain before, both internationally and domestic.

“One of the things we are really excited to be doing is to be presenting Local Legends, local people on the Central Coast, of which we have an enormous depth of talent, and we want it to be a platform to showcase our own local legends and to expand that greatly.

“We want it to be something that builds the central coast community, we want to bring acts in to enable local people to experience things that they can’t get locally, but we very much this platform to showcase local legends.  

“Essentially, the money will go into events and concerts and opportunities for bands.

Australian concert pianist, David Helfgott, accompanied by Yantra de Vilder, and local band, The Band Project, are just some of the acts the theatre has in store.

Apart from the Avoca Beach Theatre, $15,000 will go to Shady Palms, $7,500 will go to Hardys Bay Community Club, and $7,500 will go to Link and Pin café.

The Live Music Support Package is part of the NSW Government’s $51.5 million Tourism Support Package, providing funding to sectors engaged in the NSW visitor economy that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch said the four businesses are among the 77 regional venues to receive a cash boost.

“COVID-19 had a significant impact on every single business, but the pandemic has particularly devastated the live music industry,” Crouch said.

“Without a stage to perform on and audiences to entertain, there are no artists and support teams, so the Live Music Support Package is a lifeline for tens of thousands of people across NSW.

“On the Central Coast this funding will help four local venues bounce back and employ musicians, creatives and crew as well as cover operational costs.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the benefits of this funding would be far-reaching.

“We know that there is a whole network of businesses and professionals that are involved in staging live music shows, and many of these venues are pillars of their community and critical infrastructure that allows a whole range of events and activities to take place,” Ayres said.

“Live music is the beating heart of our State and this is the largest investment into grassroots live music in the history of NSW.”

Applications were assessed by an industry and NSW Government inter-agency panel, with funding allocated based on the size of individual venues, and whether the venue operates exclusively for live music or whether live music forms a significant part of the venue operations.

Jacinta Counihan