Musicians are slowly coming out of hibernation with a "bumper summer" of gigs and events expected to lift the Illawarra economy.
Kiama artist Joe Mungovan is among those ready to brave the stage though has chosen a more relaxed approach to start, and will promote his debut album A Flower In The Weeds over coffees and bacon and eggs.
His Breakfast with Joe tour will see the independent singer-songwriter play "chilled, laid back" gigs for free at cafes with outdoor spaces like Little Earth in Kiama on November 13 and Bulli Beach Cafe on November 14.
"It was my idea due to having uncertainty of how many people we were going to fit in the venues and if it was even going to go ahead," he said. "I was trying to think what would be the easiest way to bring the music to as many people as possible in a really casual way ... and not have to worry too much about restrictions and capacity limits."
Mungovan's new album is released on November 10 and will play a full-scale national tour in February with details to be announced at a later date.
Concerts and major events are worth millions to the region, with the pandemic leaving a supermassive black whole in the region's economy to the tune of $30 million last financial year, according to the area's peak tourism body.
"It has been a devastating period for the industry, both in terms of the visitor economy and for local event operators," said Jeremy Wilshire, major events manager for Destination Wollongong (DW). "It is, however, a sector that can bounce back quickly."
Mr Wilshire said confirmed events for the next six months include a foodie festival, multiple sporting events, the Yours and Owls festival plus "another cutting edge music event", an exciting announcement in the tech/arts space, and a "glut of bookings" for the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and WIN Entertainment Centre.
General manger for DW, Mark Sleigh, added it would be a "bumper summer" as people prioritise short domestic breaks with renewed confidence.
"There is no doubt that demand for new experiences, particularly outdoors is without precedent and Wollongong is perfectly positioned to capture that opportunity given our relative proximity to Sydney and a population of six million people," Mr Sleigh said.
CONCERTS CONFIRMED FOR NOVEMBER, DECEMBER
- Karma Country's 25th anniversary tour, Bulli's Heritage Hotel, November 6
- Kate Ceberano, Centro CBD Wollongong, November 7
- The Soul Movers + Leadfinger, Bulli's Heritage Hotel, November 13
- John Williamson, Anita's Theatre Thirroul, November 19, 20, 21
- Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates, Centro CBD Wollongong, November 27
- Luke O'Shea & Amber Lawrence, The Oaks Hotel Albion Park Rail, November 28
- APIA Good Times Tour, Anita's Theatre Thirroul, December 2
- Grown Ocean, The Music Lounge Wollongong, December 10
- Neverending 80s vs 00s, Towradgi Beach Hotel, December 10, 11
- Thirsty Merc, Centro CBD Wollongong, December 16
- Travis Collins, The Oaks Hotel Albion Park Rail, December 19
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