Today Independent candidate for the seat of Groom Suzie Holt and her team visited venues around Toowoomba with music promoter Brett Gibson and John Collins, co-owner of the Triffid and the Fortitude Music Hall.
Collins and Gibson are looking at regional investment opportunities which will be of benefit both to regional night life and musicians.
Gibson says that “Before Covid, musicians would focus on touring capital cities and then want to travel to the USA and Europe. During the pandemic we had time to reflect on the fact that a lot of significant Australian acts have built their careers touring regional venues, such as Casey Chambers. There are a lot of opportunities for musicians to develop their careers here in Australia.”
According to John Collins, the biggest barrier to this is a gap in the market for venues in major regional centres. “Today we looked at some of the fabulous venues around Toowoomba, including the Rock, The Met, the Empire Theatre and the Goods Shed, but the region is currently lacking midsize venues that can accommodate approximately 1000 people. Today we were touring the region to look at opportunities to develop a venue similar in style and size to the Triffid.”
After the tour, Suzie introduced Collins and Gibson to local venue owners who own some of the premier venues in our town who can benefit from a larger venue coming into the middle of the market, forming an entertainment precinct that will provide trickle down benefits to local businesses and encourage a stronger nightlife in Toowoomba beyond Friday and Saturday nights.
Ms Holt, who is a Trustee of the Empire Theatre Foundation, is a passionate supporter of the arts and believes the Federal government needs to do more to support our arts sector and local businesses to help retain and attract the young workers our region needs. “Livability is a major issue for attracting and retaining workers, especially young professionals”.
When asked about the role of Federal government in funding for the arts, Ms Holt said “throughout the campaign I have been hearing from people how upset they are about cuts to arts funding by the current federal government, especially during the pandemic. If elected I commit to restoring appropriate arts funding across the sector".