News

Live Music's Pandemic Challenges Brought Into Focus By Australian Filmmakers

 Australian flag music 2016
Paul McConnell/Getty Images

A music festival-goer displays an Australian flag in Sydney, Australia.

With flights grounded, venues shut and music fans told to stay at a distance, the live music industry has been crushed by the pandemic.

A pair of new, short films, takes us behind the closed doors, and into the lives of Australia’s music professionals.

The first in the two-pack is Radical Hope, which follows Western Australia-based promoter John Zaccaria as he staged SummerSalt and ByTheC in early 2021, two of the first national, COVIDsafe tours following the global lockdown.

Guest speakers include Missy Higgins, John Butler, Live Nation Asia Pacific Roger Field, Icehouse tour manager Larry Ponting and Felix Riebl of The Cat Empire.

The second, Back To Live explores the sacrifices, challenges and the future of touring, and features commentary from the likes of You Am I frontman Tim Rogers, award-winning Indigenous artist Emily Wurramara, Ticketmaster head of strategic partnerships Rob D’Orazio and others.

As Australia’s vaccination rates climb, and with it, governments prepare to easy restrictions, there’s hope the industry will bounce back in 2022, if not before.

“No, I don’t fear for the industry,” says an optimistic Field in Back to Live. “I’m not worried at all. Pretty early on, it became clear to all of us that we’re not going anywhere. We might be treading water for a little while, but all that’s going to come out of this is overwhelming improvement, whether it’s the way we mobilize, the way we work together, or technology.”

Commissioned by Ticketmaster, and directed by Graham Watson of Jam TV, the films coincide with the announcement of the first leg of Zaccaria’s SummerSalt 2022.