Enough is enough. If you, like myself, have found yourself constantly banging your head against a brickwall when it comes to the Queensland Government’s hypocritical rules and double standards against the Music Industry – the time has come to have your voices heard in mass with a Protest Rally coordinated by the Qld Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Association.
Over the 17 months, we have seen the music industry descimated by COVID – which don’t get me wrong, impacted every single business/organisation around the country – but in that time, we’ve seen the sporting industry helped back on its feet and return to a thriving business with full capacity stadium events that claim to be COVID safe – yet are full of patrons not wearing masks or social distancing, sitting inches away from each other and cheering when their team scores. No fines have been issued and it’s like everyone in our Government has turned a blind eye to it all. Sports stars are allowed close contact playing and fans in their tens of thousands are able to watch – but what about the Arts and Music Industry?
For the past year we’ve seen our friends in the industry struggle to find work and make ends meet. JobKeeper stripped from their grasp, shows/tours canned left, right and center and they’ve been urged by government officials and ‘Boomers’ to “get a real job” when the reality is that the Arts Sector in Australia adds Billions of dollars to the economny through various shows, gigs, events and stacks of behind the scenes procedures that go unnoticed.
"gEt A rEaL jOb" – The Arts in Australia contributes BILLIONS to Australia's economy, so why is it not being treated with the same respect and dignity as Sport or Mining? @AnnastaciaMP @StevenJMiles @LeeanneEnoch! Still awaiting reply on my follow up email too! https://t.co/E2G20RmURI
— Paul 'Browny' Brown (@brownypaul) July 21, 2021
This isn’t a direct stab at the Sporting sector either – it’s just highlighting the unfair bias the music industry has faced throughout the COVID pandemic and how their calls for help and a fair go are being unanswered.
Just this week alone we’ve seen families of NRL/AFL players being ushered out of COVID hotspots, to join their sporting partners/fathers in Queensland, while musicians and everyday Australians are having their exemption requests to see dying loved ones denied. It is legitimately – one rule for them and one rule for the rest of us.
Enough is enouh and it’s time for us to take a stand and have our voices and concerns heard.
On Sunday, July 25th at 11am organisers behind the Qld Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Association have called for the community to join their peaceful protest march to Ditch the Double Standards as they walk from Queens Park in Brisbane to Parliment House where there’ll be public speeches, encourgaing government officials to play fair.
When speaking with Nathan Ward (Founder of QAHTA) he reiterated to us that the process that lead to this protest rally was because of the scary and hard-hitting reality his friends and peers in the industry were facing:
“It was honestly a slow built up, I had a bad experience of 2 young guys I work with & for attempt suicide, seeing all my peers & friends social post of the double standards we face & having no answers from either politicians or so called industry governing bodies here in Queensland of our way out of this.”
If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google…
His frustrations reached breaking point this week when the QLD Government held a celebration for Brisbane’s 2032 Olympics Bid Announcement which consisted of over 2,500 patrons attending an event that was broadcast on TV, showing some attendees not social distancing or wearing masks.
Congrats #Brisbane2032 hopefully by then the entire Entertainment and Events industry you have completely ignored in the past 17 months will have recovered to help deliver it for you.
— Chriswhatavibe (@chriswhatavibe) July 21, 2021
Nathan vented his frustrations involving the blatant double standards surrounding the event (and those leading up to this week) with Wall of Sound:
“Seeing full capacity sporting stadiums with no social distancing & small live music not allowed 200 in to operate, seeing Governments allow NRL & AFL families border passes approved but not allow artists into QLD to perform at festivals or allowing loved ones in to see dying families…”
“The Olympic celebration in South Bank with dancing & no social distancing while cafes & restaurants in the same area (metres away) were restricted to 1 patron in 4 square metres was infuriating.”
And it’s not just those in our state feeling the frustration of not receiving a fair go – we’ve recently seen Full Tilt Festival postponed for a second time despite selling out at the Eatons Hill venue, BigSound 2021 is officially canned and more notably, The Amity Affliction‘s SOLD OUT concert which was forced to postpone until later in the year LESS THAN 24HRS AFTER THE STATE OF ORIGIN WAS HELD AT FULL CAPACITY (52,000) AT SUNCORP STADIUM!
“Mr Miles said there will be nine AFL and NRL matches played in Queensland venues with capacities greater than 20,000 seats this weekend.”
— Joel Birch (@JoelDTD) July 22, 2021
— BIGSOUND (@BIGSOUNDtweets) July 19, 2021
Honestly, I've never felt more disenfranchised by government in my entire life. State and federal level, fuck the lot of them. My industry has been left for dead. The support is abysmal. And what happened in Brisbane last night is a slap in the face.
— Josh Smith (@northlanejosh) July 22, 2021
Enough is enough – Wall of Sound is a Brisbane-based Australian music publication – we champion all alternative bands from our city/region and we encourage everyone who has been affected by these double standards to link up on Sunday from 11am and join the protest for change. How long must we watch our industry suffer at the hands of out of touch “Leaders” who seem to care more about the instant income from sporting events as opposed to helping the music industry salvage what’s left of it with the minimal support they’ve received so far.
Nathan says it’s more than just the musicians and fans who should take part, explaining:
“Anyone that enjoys cafes, restaurants, clubs, pubs, going on holidays should be supporting us right now & showing up. Because all these small to medium businesses are about fall over financially & they won’t be here much longer.”
Perfect time to write, but all these lockdowns, tour cancelations and release campaigns postponing has really drained all positivity and inspiration I had. 2 years of nothing for some artists is truly a death sentence. So many bands will never recover from this 💔
— John. (@JohnFloreani) July 20, 2021
More details can be found below. I’ve also reached out to local government officials about the double standards and am awaiting reply for a follow-up piece.
Written by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Ditch The Double Standards Protest March – Brisbane
Sunday July 25th from 11am at Queens Gardens, Brisbane
Note: All people attending Sunday will need to bring & wear a face mask due to new rules our State Members have announced. P.S. Wear your best band merch or business clothes!
The Qld Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Association was conceived to help fight Double standards between the damaging restrictions imposed on venues and live music events compared to the leniency and exemptions allowed to stadium sporting events. Unreasonable capacity restrictions imposed on venues, while Casinos are allowed to trade at full capacity. Venues being forced to pay full licensing fees despite restrictions with no compensation. Total lack of initiative and transparency from the QLD Government to implement solutions and provide assistance to the Arts, Hospitality and Tourism industries. Lack of financial assistance during lockdowns for business owners, employers and sole traders in the wake of Job Keeper’s end.