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Business rivals unite to map out return of live entertainment

Australia’s largest live event businesses have today announced the formation of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) to ensure fans can return safely to live entertainment, music, theatre, festivals and sport events following the industry’s complete shutdown due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.

LEIF’s mission is to support the COVIDSafe reactivation of events with live audiences across Australia as restrictions are eased from July.

According to the forum, it will put in place “a comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry re-opening and risk management strategy that meets the needs of the public, governments, sporting bodies, venues performers and industry, with safety at its core”.

LEIF has been formed by Australia’s biggest promoters of entertainment and sport, venue managers, and key peak bodies including: TEG, Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, AEG Presents, WME, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Adelaide Oval, ASM Global, Venues West, Venues Live, Michael Cassel Group, Live Performance Australia, Venue Management Association and the Australian Festivals Association.

The executive committee has appointed veteran sports administrator and former Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland to lead the development of LEIF’s strategy as chair.

LEIF said it would develop industry-wide measures regarding cleaning and sanitisation, crowd management, physical distancing plans, health monitoring and contact tracing.

The objective is to safely restart an industry which supports over 175,000 Australian jobs and feeds other sectors hit hard by COVID-19 such as tourism, transport and hospitality.

Sutherland said there needed to be a clear road map to get the industry back to work, while playing a bigger role in the post COVID-19 economic recovery of the nation.

“We are committed to working with all states and territories, especially with their chief medical and health officers.

“We will develop COVIDSafe best practices and a world-leading response to revive our industry, get people back to work and bring fans back together throughout Australia through the unbeatable power of live events.”

TEG CEO Geoff Jones said industry players must put aside natural competitive instincts so they can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people safely.

“We want to bring fans back and jobs back, safely.

“Live entertainment and sport at scale is the beating heart of Australian culture.

“From footy grand finals to outdoor festivals and from The Ashes series to stadium concerts like Fire Fight Australia, the live experience unites us with our fellow Australians and lifts spirits as no other experience can.”

Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field said live events and mass gatherings are not solely for recreational purposes – they play a crucial part in the fabric of Australian life.

“Just as sport plays an important role in promoting healthy behaviours, so too do music and the performing arts.

“The positive impact culture brings to society is not only seen both psychologically and in social well-being, but in the fact that the live events industry contributes hundreds of thousands of jobs, which flows on and effects the whole economy.

“I am proud that we stand united to work together to make the return to events a reality and for the people of Australia to enjoy the power of live once again.”

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