Gold Coast has a new live music plan

Live Music Action Plan

At this week’s full Council meeting, the City of Gold Coast endorsed a Music Action Plan, which will guide investment, resourcing and regulation for music through to 2021.

The plan is the result of the work of a Regulatory Taskforce which examined the planning environment under which live music venues currently operate. In addition to incorporating those planning and regulatory aspects, the Music Action Plan also includes a range of actions to celebrate the Gold Coast’s vibrant and creative music scene as well as to empower local creatives to develop meaningful careers as residents of the City.

The plan has also designated parts of the Southport Priority Development Area as Special Entertainment Precincts. For those who aren’t aware, Southport was long ago identified as the city’s CBD meaning there’s been special incentives and investment for businesses to set up and stay in the village. It’s believed that this designation of Southport as a Special Entertainment Precinct will give live music venues the confidence to host more gigs while also allowing council to encourage a thriving live music scene in the city’s CBD, which has been earmarked for a 24hr economy.

Arran Woollams, who runs two Southport venues – Last Night On Earth and Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop is hopeful as to what the changes might bring for the CBD.

“We are hoping this will bring to the CBD a resurgence of small venues with live music similar to West End in Brisbane where you have the likes of The End and The Bearded Lady,” he told Blank Gold Coast.

Last Night On Earth has a capacity of 100 people and Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop has a capacity of 250 people and currently hosts live music 4 – 5 times a week.

“Last Night On Earth currently does not have live music,” Arran said, adding that was due to previous regulatory limitations. “Thus we pushed for an amplified busking position in front of the venue to get around the db limit, as they were not on the licensed venue when playing.”

“With the Live Music Plan, we would then be able to play solo / duo music on the rooftop at an enjoyable level.”

“We have, however, just applied for an increasing db levels to be inline with Mr PP’s where we are limited to 87dbC,” he said.

Arran is excited about the gig posters situation as well.

“Bill posters are also going to be an important part of the live music culture, while we rely heavily on social media these days,” Arran said. “I feel there is something about bill posters that help support that culture.”
“At Last Night On Earth, we are putting up a bill poster wall on the outside to allow venues like Vinnies to post up coming gigs. It’s similar to picking up a Blank GC mag, there is texture and a smell of the newsprint that can not be forgotten,” Arran said.

The City already delivered a music-specific round of its Regional Arts Development Funding earlier this year, which saw eight artists awarded a share of $75,000 to record and release new music, target new markets, engage publicists, produce film clips, tour new music and work with acclaimed producers.

San Mei, who received funds to work with producer Oscar Dawson on her latest single ‘Heaven’, and who recently performed to international delegates at BIGSOUND said she was “blown away” with the support.

“I am so grateful to have this assistance from the Council,” she said. “It’s going to be a huge help with progressing my music, as being an independent artist can really be a strain financially.”

“I’ve had all these plans for recording and releasing new music, touring etc. and having this grant takes a lot of the stress off of being able to achieve all that.”

Aquila Young, IVEY, Adolescent, Ella Fence, Benny D Williams and ELSKA also received financial support in that round. In addition, Gold Coast Music Awards (that’s us – the same team behind Blank GC) also received a triennial grant to support a focus on sector development for the next three years.

All in all, we reckon it’s a damn exciting time to be working and playing in the music scene on the Gold Coast. And we’re thrilled that a regional city like the Gold Coast has a Music Plan at all, let alone something so progressive.

There are four key outcomes identified in the plan.

  1. The outcome ‘everyone can experience great music‘ includes activity around co-hosting industry networking events, identifying city-owned Music Bills Zones (yes, we’ll have public spots to put up posters soon), activating industrial spaces for creative hubs and advocating for all-ages gigs at city venues.
  2. The outcome ‘Gold Coast artists and music businesses thrive‘ includes activity around mentoring programs and support for music businesses, skills development programs, partnering with music bodies, providing direct RADF grants to support new work and the establishment of a Music Business Improvement Grant for venues to undertake live music acoustic audits.
  3. The outcome ‘positive national and international perceptions‘ includes activity such as hosting inbound industry delegations to the city, partnering with the Gold Coast Music Awards and investing in showcases at events like BIGSOUND and building relationships with organisations such as Screen Queensland to leverage opportunities in the film industry for local music talent.
  4. And the final outcome ‘coordinated City commitment and delivery‘ focuses on resourcing a dedicated music unit as a single point of contact within the city as well as implementing a policy that embeds locally-produced music in all city-supported marketing campaigns as well as prioritising Gold Coast artists for engagement at City events.

What’s even more exciting than actually having a Music Action Plan that Council has put its money where its mouth is. From now until 2021, a total of $2.3 million will be invested in implementing the plan.

The final document is still being pulled together as a designed publication, but for now you can check out what was approved via City of Gold Coast council agenda documents. Go to page 11 for the discussion, background and budget and page 17 for the plan that was adopted.

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