With events and performances being cancelled in our region, a whole sector of artists, performers, event techies, tourism operators and food businesses are feeling the pinch.
Eastern Riverina Arts is reaching out to all 8 of our member councils with this simple request to support our sector.
I hope this finds you all in very good health! Firstly, thank you all for taking the virus threat seriously, and for your ongoing support of council staff who are on the front lines during this difficult time.
I write to articulate a very simple request that Eastern Riverina Arts has made to all Council General Managers in our region, to assist the local economy to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
As you are well aware, events are vital to our community’s livability, tourism and economic wellbeing. The often invisible sector of event-supporting businesses has just received a painful blow, with wide reaching impacts into our economy, including:
- Caterers and food vans
- Event hire companies
- Bands and performers
- Technicians, designers and marketing freelancers
- Arts, Cultural and sporting groups, clubs and professionals
We have been swamped in recent days hearing from people who have lost their entire year’s bookings in the last week. I am sure council staff will attest that should some of these businesses fold in coming months, it would be very difficult indeed for the region to revive its growing roster of events and festivals.
But there is a very simple thing Council can do to help:
We ask simply that you take steps now to rollover the funds that were allocated to now-cancelled events and cultural activities (eg Seniors Festival workshops, exhibitions, touring performances, sporting and cultural events) on top of the already budgeted funds for the 2020/21 financial year.
This will have two immediate benefits to our community:
1. As an economic recovery measure
For the freelancers who have just lost all their gigs, the knowledge that there may be opportunities coming later in the year, and into 2021, could be just what they need to hang in there. This simple change is cost-neutral to Council (we’re only asking you to spend what you were planning to spend anyway), but it essentially means that our events economy will get the same overall investment from Council this calendar year. We also believe that by rolling these funds over is an efficient way to scale up the work your teams are already doing.
2. As a forward-thinking investment in bringing the community back together.
It is going to be a long and lonely winter in our region. Once the social-distancing phase is over, it’s going to be important to our residents to have opportunities to come together to reconnect and celebrate. If these funds are rolled over, Council will have the ability to scale up the celebrations – and have some incredibly attractive offerings to get those visitors streaming back into our beautiful region.
I have included some data about the impact of event cancellations in our region, and nationally, in the attached media release. Please feel free to share this with your networks, and to encourage the artists and event people you know to log their lost gigs at www.ilostmygig.net.au.
My very warmest regards,
Dr. Tim Kurylowicz
Available for interview:
Dr Tim Kurylowicz, Executive Director, Eastern Riverina Arts
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | 02 6921 6890
For media general enquiries please contact:
Kate Howarth | Eastern Riverina Arts Communications Coordinator
E: email@example.com | 02 6921 6890
Image: Eastern Riverina Arts’ PLATFORM, a mobile accessible arts space, employs artists and arts workers to engage with crowds at regional events