The NSW Government initiative, delivered by tourism and major events agency Destination NSW in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), produced more than 1100 live music shows in 140+ NSW towns and Sydney suburbs in November.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said Great Southern Nights was an ambitious project that demonstrated NSW’s capacity to hold events in a COVID-safe manner.
“NSW has led Australia, and even the world, in getting live entertainment back on stages, from Great Southern Nights’ 1100 gigs across NSW to musical theatre reopening in Sydney,” Minister Ayres said.
“The NSW Government continues to provide opportunities to reboot the NSW economy in a COVID-safe environment, and it’s fantastic that so many people have supported the thousands of artists, venues, roadies, tech workers and tourism businesses behind Great Southern Nights.
“We have demonstrated that live music is crucial to NSW’s social, cultural and economic well-being and can be enjoyed while following the health advice, which supports NSW’s approach to further easing restrictions in recent weeks.”
More than 2500 artists performed at 300-plus venues across NSW from Katoomba to Kingscliff, Goulburn to Gosford for Great Southern Nights.
The live music industry has praised the initiative, including artists Jimmy Barnes who performed to hundreds of fans at the newly re-opened Sydney Coliseum, Rooty Hill, and Tones And I who impressed music-lovers in Newcastle.
“Like many industries, 2020 has been very difficult for musicians and all those who work with them. Great Southern Nights was a good idea, well executed and I was happy to be part of it,” Mr Barnes said.
“Thanks to Great Southern Nights for bringing me and so many other artists the opportunity to get back out doing what we love best – connecting with live music and our fans,” Tones And I said.
Venues, rehearsal studio owners, roadies and technical staff reported significant growth in business as a result of Great Southern Nights, with bookings ongoing for many beyond November as a result of increased confidence.
“It was an amazing month for our business and I am so grateful to have been included. In the six and a half years owning the business, this has been our biggest November on record,” owner of Flow Bar on the Mid North Coast, Stephen Doessel, said.
ARIA CEO Dan Rosen said the feeling of optimism, camaraderie and positivity spread throughout NSW as the program unfolded during Australian Music Month.
“It is extremely heartening to see the impact that the Great Southern Nights initiative had on all areas of the live music industry in NSW – from artists and venues to sound and lighting crew. This program helped kick-start the live music industry, by getting thousands of artists and music industry professionals back to work and ensuring music fans could experience our great Australian artists in a live environment once again,” Mr Rosen said.