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Kelly turns southern shutdowns into sell-outs across Queensland

Culture

NSW and Victoria lockdowns have proved Queensland’s live music gain, with singer-songwriter Paul Kelly leading a move by artists to replace gigs that have become Covid casualties with more Queensland performances.

 

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The Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts (HOTA) will host Kelly on Friday for a repeat show of his On the Road Again tour, only made possible after cancelling sold-out shows south of the border.

In a rapid-fire response to flip shows to Queensland, Kelly has also added a performance in Caloundra on Saturday, with further dates in regional Queensland in Bundaberg, Biloela and Maryborough.

The band’s planned seven gigs in Victoria have been pushed to September, while NSW shows have been postponed indefinitely.

Kelly said Queensland was the only viable alternative for many artists.

He said with the ability to travel in Queensland, the band wanted to play at regional areas where many live music venues had been devastated by the Covid-19 handbrake on touring.

“We want to go to the regions in Queensland, it’s always good out there,” Kelly said.

Kelly will be joined by sisters Vika and Linda Bull for the Gold Coast performance on Friday.

“The show’s running close to two hours so we get a chance to play quite lot of the old songs and new songs,” he said.

“In theatre shows we can do more intimate songs as well as the more upbeat. There’s quite a lot of variety in the show from more atmospheric songs to real stompers. It’s a pretty mixed-up show.”

The live music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the impacts of Covid-19, with venues across the state under threat of closure because artists can’t tour and hefty restrictions on audiences and shows.

The downturn has decimated Brisbane’s live music industry, which alone is worth around $428 million to the Queensland economy within the $8.5-billion arts, culture and creative sector.

QMusic chief Kris Stewart said the past 15 months had been a disaster.

“(It’s been) absolutely devastating for the live music industry, from our venues functioning with severely reduced capacities to our local musicians seeing considerably less work than pre-COVID,” Stewart said.

The State Government last week opened a new round of funding support for live music venues across the state.

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