Freo band San Cisco chasing $25,000 from Queensland Government over NightQuarter shutdown
Fremantle indie pop trio San Cisco is seeking compensation from the Queensland Government after a Sunshine Coast venue was closed by health officials less than 24 hours before the band’s scheduled concert on June 12.
The popular outfit claim the sold-out performance for 1250 fans at NightQuarter in Birtinya would have grossed about $60,000.
Queensland health authorities and police stormed the venue on Friday night, ordering the snap shutdown over alleged “multiple breaches” of COVID rules after footage of hundreds of fans moshing at concerts the previous weekend went viral on social media.
According to reports, police ordered NightQuarter to hand over any CCTV footage of sold-out concerts by Perth band Spacey Jane on June 4 and 5.
NightQuarter was given no right of reply or an opportunity to enforce stronger COVID restrictions, nor was San Cisco given adequate warning to shift the show to a different venue.
The band, which was forced to postpone four shows in Victoria earlier this month due to the recent COVID outbreak, incurred travel and accommodation costs.
San Cisco, Select Music and their management have contacted Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Government to request approximately $25,000 in compensation to enable the band to return to the Sunshine Coast to play a rescheduled concert.
The Freo trio’s manager Philip Stevens cited the precedent of the New South Wales government paying compensation to the Byron Bay Bluesfest after this year’s event was shut down with only 24 hours notice, with suppliers paid in full and artists receiving around 25-50 per cent of performance fees.
“We are not in a position to pursue legal action,” he told The West Australian today. “We are in a position to make noise and highlight the plight of the touring musician.
“As an independent band, like many others, San Cisco rely on live music as their primary source of income,” Mr Stevens said in a separate official statement.
“The loss of the NightQuarter show will mean the band will lose money on this tour.”
Shows on the tour in support of their latest album, Between You and Me, have been shifted several times due to the border and venue closures.
Mr Stevens added that there was a double standard in how state governments have treated arts and sporting venues during the pandemic.
The over-policing of live music events needs to be addressed immediately.
“The behaviour of patrons at the NightQuarter is no different to that experienced at sporting events around the state in the very same week,” he said.
“As of this point in time no cases of COVID have been attributed to gatherings of people at music concerts throughout Australia.
“So why are venues and concerts still being targeted by state governments as dangerous activities in comparison to major sporting events that are occurring every week?
“The arts industry is suffering, especially the hundreds of musicians who have no clear pathway forwards for their careers.”
San Cisco booking agent Stephen Wade said he would support the band’s fight to “get a resolution to the overreaction” from Queensland Health.
“The over-policing of live music events needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.
“We are still yet to see any documentation from Queensland Health or any health department in Australia giving us an explanation as to why our events are deemed so dangerous to the health of the general public.
“All we are asking for is a fair go, bearing in mind that there has still not been a single transmission of COVID-19 at a ticketed live music event in Australia ever,” Mr Wade added.
San Cisco lead singer Jordi Davieson said he was disappointed by the last minute cancellation of the biggest show of the band’s national tour.
“We had already had to cancel once already, so it was upsetting to have to let our fans down again,” he said.
Tour support act and Queensland-based artist Jaguar Jonze said the struggle to play contracted shows in her home state shows how little support there is given to musicians as “active employers and participants in the economy”.
“The arts industries have been decimated and it’s amazing that we continue to try to push through,” she said.
“Queensland should be proud of the work we continually put in to bring live music to all parts of this state and we expect the Queensland government to make fairer assessments of the risks associated with live events and offer the same consideration to music events as they have shown to other industries.”
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