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Aussie music venues struggling after insurance premiums increase by more than 500 per cent

Velentina Boulter

| Last updated 

Aussie music venues struggling after insurance premiums increase by more than 500 per cent

The owner of two of Melbourne’s notable live music venues has spoken out about struggling to keep up with hiking insurance prices.

For many music lovers, Melbourne is known as the heart of the live music scene, with enough gigs and concerts to keep fans busy all year round, but a 500 per cent increase in insurance premiums poses a risk to the future of live music in Melbourne.

James Young, the owner of Cherry Bar and Yah Yahs, spoke out about the premiums increase on Tuesday night’s A Current Affair.

“This issue is the greatest threat to live music in Australia that we've seen in decades and if it's not addressed now, we'll lose 30 per cent of live music venues in Australia, that would be a tragedy," said Young.


This time last year insurance premiums at Fitzroy’s Yah Yahs were $600 per week. Now, Young says he pays $3500 a week in premiums to keep everyone’s favourite Thursday Night venue open.

“It’s just unfair that last year’s profit is paying this year’s public liability insurance,” said Young.

Similarly, weekly insurance premiums at Melbourne’s legendary Cherry Bar have also gone up from $400 to $2500 in the past year.


“What I’m really worried about is if it went up 600 per cent this year, what's going to go up next year? Because if it goes up just 50 per cent, we’re all screwed.”

These premiums are increasing for Young despite him having not made an insurance claim in 23 years.

There are estimates that up to 400 live music venues could close or restrict the amount of live music they can host due to the insurance hikes.

“If you’re a new and upcoming band, you need a small venue that’s in your local area,” says Andrew Bassingwaigthe, Australian Live Music Business Council board member.


“So if they do close down, it’s going to be very difficult,” said Bassingwaigthe.

Considering huge acts like ACDC, Midnight Oil and INXS started on the small stage, many in the industry fear the damage closing live music venues could have on the next generation of stars.

Young has called on the government to provide assistance and support to the music industry.

"Come on Albo, I know you love live music. Put your money where your mouth is and help save us. We need your help mate."

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Yah Yahs / Facebook/Cherry Bar

Topics: News, Music, Australia, Business

Velentina Boulter
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