Newcastle has always been renowned for its live music and arts scene, which thanks to the dreaded virus, has been unable to go on as usual since March. The artists, however, did not just go away. They have been writing and performing live on Facebook and once again coming up with innovative ways to keep us entertained.
There are signs that in July, restrictions will ease even further and you may be able to get out to your favourite venue and not have to use a megaphone to talk to the person at the next table. However when are next buying tickets remember all the people and places that kept you sane these past few months. Buy tickets to a show of an artist that you watched for free. Golden Guitar winner Andrew Swift actually gave up his platform once a week to let artists that he loves perform to his fans. All your favourite Newcastle solo performers are also slowly getting back to work, so check their social media and all the local guides for where you can see them perform.
Buy tickets from a theatre company who went out of their way to roll with the punches delivered to them during this crisis. Very Popular Theatre Company aired online performances that we could all watch in our PJ’s, and when we can fling open the doors of the Civic Theatre again next year, they are also producing Chess The Musical.
Most of the big festivals that you were looking forward to have moved to next year. Under the Southern Stars featuring Live, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush has already announced a date for April 2021 on the Newcastle Foreshore.
Human Nature has announced brand new dates in September 2021. There is also a whole host of your favourite comedians with rescheduled dates starting from October this year including Lady Julia Morris, the sensational Tim Minchin, Tommy Little and one of my idols, writer and creator of The Young Ones and Black Adder, Ben Elton.
Our favourite intimate venue, Lizotte’s, has opened the door to reduced numbers of people but have spent their downtime putting in a system for live streaming which is available on the website for selected shows.
I’ve been talking with several venues, and they have lists of artists being booked now for when we are finally ready to have bands on again including Shoal Bay Country Club, The Beaches and all of your favourite local haunts. Wickham Park Hotel has a Spy vs Spy show on sale now with strictly limited tickets.
There is even talk of new bars opening up in Newcastle in the coming months - The Ship Inn and The Rum Diary Bar. I think it all proves that the arts and music community is resilient. Despite not being mentioned by those in charge, despite being one of the industries hit the earliest and the hardest, they are still optimistic. I, for one, gave them a standing ovation! Which, of course, they wouldn’t have seen as I was at home alone wearing my comfortable pants and applying hand sanitiser at the time. But not for long…
Postscript: As we go to print, the federal government has finally announced $250 million worth of grants and low-interest loans. Although the arts sector was one of the hardest hit, this is the first time it has been directly addressed. Better late than never!