Wollongong live music venues have joined a fight for survival and are calling on the NSW Government for funding to help an industry on the brink of collapse.
North Wollongong Hotel, Anita's Theatre, Franks Wild Years and the UOW Unibar have united with another 57 independent venues and written an open letter to the government begging to ensure their "ongoing survival".
They've also launched an online petition, Save Our Stages, which has gathered tens of thousands of signatures in less than a week. It comes as a MusicNSW survey found 85 per cent of venues predicted forced closure within the next year if crippling trade conditions persisted.
"The expenses haven't stopped, we're still paying all our expenses as if we were operating and you've got no income," said managing director of Anita's, Nick Josifovski.
"It's difficult. We don't want to be in that position but it's the reality we're facing, we don't want to deny things as well."
Even after last week's announcement theatres, concert halls and cinemas could increase capacity for shows to up to 50 per cent, Mr Josifovski said it still wouldn't be viable for some of their postponed gigs.
"From December onwards we want to start putting on shows, and whether we make money from those shows, time will tell depending on [restrictions]," he said.
Yours and Owls co-founder and Illawarra booking agent Ben Tillman said the future was "bleak" for venues, jobs and people's mental health.
"We're not able to function ... as soon as JobKeeper goes and there's no financial support we will lose a lot of places," Mr Tillman said.
"If [the government] does value art and culture they do need to provide support to make sure it stays."
Member for Wollongong Paul Scully has thrown his support behind the campaign as "live music is part of the vibrancy of our communities".
"It is actively supported in Wollongong and importantly gives acts the opportunity to play their music and support local employment," Mr Scully said.
"Live music contributes around $3.6 billion to the NSW economy annually and employs 23,000 people. To support the industry and support those jobs it is important that a package genuinely aimed at supporting the industry is developed and implemented."
Other venues in the campaign include the Oxford Art Factory, The Enmore Theatre, and The Metro Theatre in Sydney.
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