BRISBANE, Australia — Get vaccinated, get back to concerts. That’s the message behind a new campaign, which gathers the leading players from Australia’s music and entertainment industries, and hundreds of artists.
#VaxTheNation launches today (Aug. 6) with a TVC featuring the music of Aussie rock favorites Powderfinger, and a push across the social channels of its many supporters.
It’s all carrot, no stick, an enticement for music fans to roll up a sleeve so live entertainment can return as it did prior to March 2020, when the pandemic shut down venues and borders around the country.
“Help us stop the interruptions and get vaxxed as soon as you can,” reads a campaign statement. “Every jab makes a difference, and every Australian can play their part.”
It’s powered by the newly-formed LIVE Alliance, which includes reps from organizations including ARIA, APRA AMCOS, Assn. of Artist Managers (AAM), Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC), TEG and others.
Sworn rivals Frontier Touring and Live Nation are core members of the Alliance, and both have buried the hatchet for the campaign.
“To see all the main organizations across all facets of the industry come together and work together to drive this, it’s great to see,” enthuses Matt Gudinski, CEO of Mushroom Group, parent of Frontier Touring.
For the music business, he tells Billboard, “there’s really no pathway out of this apart from seeing everybody get vaccinated. The only way to move forward is for a number of us to get together and use our reach to get the right message out there.”
#VaxTheNation was formed when advertising professional Russel Howcroft shared his thoughts on the live industry’s woes on national TV, Live Nation president Asia Pacific Roger Field reached out, and a strategy was drawn-up.
The fresh TVC was created by the Mushroom Creative House and Good One Creative agencies, and framed around Powderfinger’s signature song “My Happiness.”
The Brisbane rockers are among more than 225 acts throwing their support behind the project, a turnout that includes Courtney Barnett, Amy Shark, Midnight Oil, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Tim Minchin, Human Nature and many more.
“If we can use science to fight cancer and disease and fly to the moon and grow food and battle climate change and eradicate other deadly diseases and on and on,” says Baby Animals’ Suze DeMarchi, “then we can use it to fight this war. We want to get back on stage. Back to work, back on the road, back on the bus.”
PNAU’s Nick Littlemore adds, “It is more important than ever to get the vaccine. We can beat this horrific disease together, save lives and return to the world anew. Please get the jab.”
The health crisis has crushed Australia’s live entertainment industry. According to data published in LEIF’s Live Entertainment Industry Report, two thirds of industry jobs (79,000) evaporated by the end of 2020, while A$23.6 billion of economic output and A$10.7 billion of added value simply vanished.
During stages of August 2021, more than half of Australia’s population was in lockdown, due to outbreaks of the highly-infectious Delta strain. Currently, residents of Sydney and Melbourne, the country’s two biggest cities, are under strict stay-at-home restrictions.
Those restrictions are expected to be relaxed once 70 percent to 80 percent of locals over the age of 16 have been vaccinated. And with nearly 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arriving on these shores overnight, part of an arrangement with the U.K. and Singapore for a total of about 4.5 million doses, the nationwide vaccine rollout will gather pace.
“It’s been a long road to get here, but the end is in sight,” reads the campaign statement. “With a vaccinated nation, live events can and will happen. We’ve missed them. They’ve missed us. Let’s roll up our sleeves, get vaxxed and bring them back.”
For more, visit vaxthenation.com.au.