Melbourne’s live music scene at risk

Melbourne’s live music scene at risk
Ellen Sandell

Whether you love sticky carpets and getting sweaty with a room of punters or sitting down with a nice glass of wine and listening to an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, we are so lucky to have so many incredible live music venues in Victoria.

But right now, many of our local pubs, bars, and local stages are under threat.

Rising rents and the cost-of-living is playing a part. But exorbitant increases in public liability insurance are hitting the hardest. Some venues are paying more than $100,000 a year while others have copped a whopping 300 per cent increase in insurance premiums in the past year alone.

These insurance hikes have meant that some venues have had to close their doors forever, like the beloved Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood.

Here’s the deal: the Labor state government could actually help save our live music scene by offering cheaper insurance through the government’s public insurer, the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA).

They’ve done it before during COVID when the VMIA covered events from cancellation, and they’ve done it with the construction industry, so we know they can do it again. All it takes is a letter from the Minister.

However, Labor is choosing to let live music venues across Melbourne die a slow death, by not stepping in to help.

Our live music venues are more than a stage and a place to dance. They are community meeting spaces and pivotal starting places for emerging artists and culture. They make Melbourne uniquely Melbourne.

In the lead up to the state budget in May, the Greens and I are calling on the government to step in and save live music in Victoria. You can help by signing the petition at

We have to protect our local live music venues, and the artists they support.

If there’s anything I can do for you, please get in touch. •

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