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New nightlife boss appointed to revive live music scene

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New nightlife boss appointed to revive live music scene

A nightlife boss is set to oversee Queensland’s after-dark economy in a welcome boost for live music following the closure of venues and festivals, including on the Sunshine Coast.

In a move that has already reaped success in NSW, a Night Life Economy Commissioner will be appointed to work with businesses, live music venues and entertainment precincts across Queensland.

“I know small businesses are doing it tough and none more so than arts businesses and live music venues, which are the lifeblood of precincts and communities across the state,” Premier Steven Miles says.

The move comes as the state’s nightlife venues struggle to stay afloat amid cost of living pressures including high rents and less consumer spending.

The most recent victim is Brisbane icon The Zoo, which is set to close its doors next month after 32 years due to rising operational costs and decreasing returns.

Music festivals are also feeling the pinch with the Caloundra Music Festival cancelling its 2024 event after 17 years, following the likes of Groovin the Moo, which took in regional areas including the Sunshine Coast. Popular live music venue NightQuarter also closed in late 2022.

Mr Miles says the new commissioner will focus on supporting and enhancing the night-time economy and aim to prevent further closures of beloved venues.

“A thriving and safe night-time economy means a thriving city – one that keeps our young and brightest in good jobs, delivering for Queensland,” he says.

Cultural sociologist Dr Ben Green says creating a direct point of contact between policymakers and the sector is vital to the nightlife economy.

“It is really crucial to bring all the different authorities and levels of government and stakeholders together because something like live music involves law and policy at a local level and planning at a state level,” the Griffith University researcher says.

“It is a historic opportunity to actively shape the future and try to support a sustainable and diverse night-time economy.”

Dr Green says having someone with intimate knowledge of the night-time industry, which traditionally governments are not set up with, will make a major difference to policy formation.

“Over recent years, we’ve seen things really thrive and grow where there is that point of contact,” he says.

NSW has already introduced a 24-Hour Economy Commissioner who works with government partners, local councils, industry and the community to create a vibrant nightlife in the state.            – AAP.

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