2014-01-13 10:31:40 Releases

Musicians are calling on the City of Sydney to use its major festivals as a chance to promote local artists, rather than import a majority of acts from overseas.

“We would expect that if the City of Sydney is heavily subsidising certain festivals there would also be an expectation to represent the best of Australian arts and culture.” says Mal Tulloch, Director of MEAA’s Australian Freelance Musicians Alliance (AFMA).

Sydney’s festival programming has a strong emphasis on international acts, with Australian acts making up only 30% of the line-up in some cases. Naturally this is less than ideal for local performers and AFMA would prefer the figure reached over 50%.

A solution has been presented by the Live Music Taskforce in their Live Music and Performance Action Plan which is on exhibition until Friday, January 17. In November 2013 the City Of Sydney Live Music and Live Performance Taskforce tabled an Action Plan ‘Live Music Matters’ in Sydney Town Hall with 57 policies that support the development of live music and performance in the City of Sydney. One of these recommendations includes the following:

Recommendation 4.2.2:

In order to track the local employment benefits being delivered by Sydney’s festivals, the Taskforce recommends that festivals and events funded by the City of Sydney be required to report on the number of local artists and creative workers employed. The best mechanism for reporting this data could be the City’s grant acquittal process.

“Ensuring that festivals report the number of local artists employed in their programming is the first step towards increasing the number of local artists who are employed.” says Tulloch.

At a recent meeting of the Freelance Musicians Union (the AFMA) its Committee endorsed a campaign calling on City of Sydney to ensure that its funded festivals included a requirement for local artist content.

“The remarkable talent we have in this city should be showcased at every opportunity. The Council’s own Live Music Task Force has recently recommended local content for festivals. The Lord Mayor can make this happen and help build a vibrant local music industry in this city.” says Tulloch.

“During 2014 AFMA will ramp up the campaign to see this recommendation adopted. Musicians and members of the public will be putting a fair amount of pressure on the NSW Government and the City of Sydney to show support for our world class live music industry.”