The Arvo Flow's Clayton Bester knows all too well the hard time performing artists have had during COVID-19, interviewing them regularly for the show and on the FlowMusic podcast. He picks up where Jimmy Barnes left off as he cancelled his nationwide tour - with a serve for the South Australian government for failing to provide compensation for tour organisers and staff like Victoria and New South Wales do.
For me this is a very emotive topic as I have got to know artists on a personal level.
In an average week, I’ll chat with 4-5 artists, from around Australia and overseas, signed, independent, established careers or just starting to build one.
We talk about the current situation with Covid and lockdowns, shows planned and then cancelled is a common, if at times unavoidable, topic to discuss.
You can hear Clayton's conversations with emerging and established artists from around the world on the FlowMusic podcast player below. Clayton's defence of the performing arts industry continues below.
It has been a major topic for over a year now, and often in any chat, on-air or off, no artist have vented to me their true feelings and frustration they are feeling and going through.
A situation where they are relying on ever diminishing savings, a day job, finding a day job, some small income from website-based sales or the generosity of family and friends.
No soapbox rants, no swearing and carrying on, no hate-filled speech towards governments and medical officials, instead, it is a stoic optimism, that things will get better, that others are worse off than them.
For some every week they’re ‘performing’ via Facebook Live events for their fans or anyone who wants to watch and enjoy, others it is continuing to write new songs, recording at home or scraping together funds to pay for a producer, funds at times that should go to more important areas, like food for themselves, fuel for vehicles, heating bills an such.
But not one artist wants this to be their narrative, there are others worse off than them.
I have been on the end of tearful times and moments of despair and have found myself going from interviewer to counsellor to coach to dedicated fan on numerous occasions. It becomes hard to separate yourself from these individuals, you think about them and worrying about them often as any empathic person would.
While none of the artists I have chatted with have vented frustrations, I tend to do it for them.
It makes me very angry towards my Governments Federal and State for their lack of support towards an industry that generates so much revenue, around $4 billion annually, money that for the most part gets put straight back into the economy via accommodation, fuel, food, taxes, airfares, car hire et cetera
But it's more than money that they bring to the table.
How do you begin to put a price on the enjoyment they provide, across all generations, young or old?
How do you determine the value provided by the young country singer singing their debut song, or a young dancer performing for the first time on the stage at the Opera House?
Priceless would be the response from parents, grandparents I would think - as a start.
The Arts collectively are the blood that pumps and circulates through our communities and economy. To treat the industry with such disdain and contempt confirms in my mind our leaders lack vision, empathy and character.