John Butler Urges Government To Support Struggling Musicians
After Federal Minister and former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett recently announced the Labor Loves Live Music Campaign, John Butler is urging the Federal Government to do more to support local musicians.
Butler will be awarded Support Act’s Excellence In Community Support Award next month which honours an outstanding contribution to the music industry through charity, joining the list of former recipients that includes Jimmy Barnes, Glenn Shorrock, Don Spencer, Richard Clapton, John Paul Young and Russell Morris.
Formed in 1997, Support Act is a non-profit organisation that aims to raise funds to provide relief arising from hardship among workers in the Australian music industry. The organisation is supported by ARIA, PPCA and APRA|AMCOS, and run by volunteers.
The roots musician and activist told The Music musicians needs a safety net for when times are tough. ”A small contribution from every ticket sold to contribute to Australian culture to support those who have made Australian culture? That doesn’t seem so outlandish to me,” Butler said.
“Why should the federal government not think about putting a small portion of the trillions of dollars we make from resources and everything else to the true footprint we’ll leave behind?” he said. “Which is not about how good our iron ore is but how good AC/DC was and how good Midnight Oil are and how Jet and Wolfmother rocked the world for even a brief moment in time. That’s the contribution that we as Australians leave behind. That’s the mark we leave.”
Butler founded the Seed Fund in 2005 to assist Australian artists to create art and music and to establish themselves as self-sustained professionals. The organisation offers grants annually to “bona-fide practicing artists and arts practitioners” who are Australian citizens.
“People who contribute to culture like musicians and artists make a massive contribution,” Butler said. “When they do hit times of struggle and are in need I feel we need to acknowledge those years of contribution to our society and our lives and help them out.”
Announcing Butler as this year’s recipient of the award, Support Act said: “Undoubtedly, John is making a difference, and will no doubt continue to make a difference, for Australia and Australians.”
Meanwhile Meryl Gross, Chair of Support Act, said the board were “proud to honour John’s immense contribution to Australian culture.”
“John believes Australia has a dynamic and unique arts community and by empowering artists to create life long careers we enhance Australia’s cultural life,” she said.
On the touring front, John Butler Trio will be headlining this year’s Woodford Folk Festival who recently announced their mammoth lineup, and Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival later in the year.
Music has often been used as a vehicle to convey messages beyond those that are artistic. Whether it is through their craft or simply using their star power, musicians have continued to throw their support behind numerous social and political issues. Here’s a list of those musicians who wear their hearts on their sleeve and look to make an impact that reaches beyond making music. Watch this slideshow »