Touring musicians to get a further $1.5m in Covid support

Corazon Miller
Source: 1News

The Government's announcing additional support for the hard-hit music industry, where many artists struggled to make ends meet as the ongoing pandemic saw curtains pulled closed for months on end.

Music festival file image.

Arts Minister Carmel Sepuloni will announce a $1.5m package at the Pacific Music Awards event in Auckland on Thursday night.

It will help give touring musicians more certainty, subsidising their performance costs until June next year. It's an extension of an already successful Aotearoa Touring programme that's supported more than 250 artists through the pandemic, and seen more than 1700 shows go on.

"There's still some uncertainty for our artists," she says. "[This package] is really beneficial to all New Zealanders. Musicians knowing they've got support, being able to go on tour, to put on concerts in places outside of our main urban centres.

"This will mean that all New Zealanders get to enjoy good New Zealand music."

Singer Hollie Smith says the Government's financial support has helped her keep going through the pandemic. And she says this extension will help give her certainty in what remains to a quite insecure time for many performers.

"It's already quite risky touring in New Zealand, with it being such a small country," she says. "That risk is 10-fold now with the different variables that have come in with Covid."

The singer says people's purchasing habits have changed, with many not buying till the last minute, or having to unexpectedly cancel.

"A successful tour in New Zealand is breaking even you know?"

It comes as a performance-packed Pacific Music Awards gets underway at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau on Thursday evening, celebrating a return to the stage in person for the first time since Covid emerged.

There are 25 finalists up for an award, including first-time nominees Sam V, Mo Etc. and long-time show veterans Tomorrow People.

Event producer Petrina Togi-Sa'ena says it's a celebration of Pacific music, family, and achievement.

"Our hardest job for the night is working out the show, because we just have so many good artists."

RnB singer Sam V says it's a privilege to be nominated for the first time given the artistic calibre.

"I'm keen to get amongst some of the Pacific giants, to be sharing a stage with them."