Perth’s entertainment industry is struggling as the state endures a technical recession, and tours start to stay away. The pressure on professionals working across events and production is building, evidenced by an outpouring on a Facebook page called ‘100 percent upfront’.
As reported in CX, audio operations manager Andrew Chambers named several event producers who he claimed were underpaying production suppliers. His employer, Audio Technik then fired him, he claims after being pressured by the event producers.
Chambers says the producers set prices for major outdoor concert production so low that his former employer could not get a reasonable return. Another large Perth audio firm AAA Productions would not work for the prices offered. Boss Neil Campbell said his firm rejected the producer’s offers.
The W.A. Events Industry Association weighed into the Facebook stoush. “This really needs to stop. The Events Industry Association is not in favour of name and shame especially when our members are being unfairly treated, association head Cassandra Brennan said.
“We do stand up for the industry even though many of you choose not to join to support the work we do. Rather than making vague references to wrongdoing how about you explain what you mean. You are not helping by doing this.”
But the other side of the story is margins falling and in many cases losses accruing for the promoters and producers. Earlier this week, TheWest reported that “WA has fallen off the tour list for some acts as music promoters complain the cost of staging concerts in Perth is too high and too many tickets are left unsold in tough economic times.”
The report goes on to quote promoters and producers detailing how ticket sales have slumped, and many shows can only be viable on a weekend – if at all. Performers want to go there; but the financial risks are usually born locally.
The production industry in Perth suffers from the tyranny of distance. Where an east coast company can prep a tour and wave goodbye for weeks, a Perth show is often a one-off. Prep and return labour costs are sky high for one show. Even in New Zealand most shows run across a few towns at least, helping to defray the one off costs.
Camille Symmons, Managing Director at Concert and Corporate Productions said: “the cost of putting on an event certainly has gone up but it’s not the production costs that are increasing. All our costs have gone up wages, rent, lease’s, equipment, superannuation etc,but the prices we are getting for production has gone down considerably.”