Monday's COVID-19 alert level announcement make or break for live music industry

Monday's decision on COVID alert levels will be make or break for many businesses, and none more so than those in the live music industry.

For a business group that relies on gatherings, the limit of 100 people has been limiting.

On any normal weekend in just a few hours live music venues would be looking busy.

But clubs like Auckland's Neck of the Woods remain shut.

"Feeling a little bit nervous and a bit scared but ready to re-open when we can," Neck of the Woods manager Courtnee Bolton says.

During the first lockdown the wage subsidy and crowdfunding campaign 'Save Our Venues' were lifelines for clubs across the country.

"It saved our venue, it literally saved our venue, I don't think we'd be here now having this conversation was it not for them for sure," Neck of the Woods promoter Dave Hudgins says.

But that support is running out and if a move down alert levels isn't announced on Monday a lot of jobs will be on the line

"Promoters, lighting guys, sound guys, cleaners - the knock on is huge, not to mention the artists, DJ's, band members. Everyone's feeling the pinch," Hudgins adds.

To say the next few months are crucial for the live music scene is a bit of an understatement. For many musicians the summer festival circuit is their last big chance to earn a wage.

"October to February is a really big busy time for us. And we need that money more than ever especially because of the crazy year that we've had," says artist MC Tali.

During the 100 days we had no COVID cases venues were selling out night after night.

"Literally from the from the minute Jacinda said go there was a gig that weekend that I was playing at and it was sold out. It was amazing and then this was perpetuated with the announcement of festivals with all local bookings," MC Tali says.

But the latest outbreak has shown how easily plans can be derailed.

Whether it's fans buying and streaming albums or radio and television playing more Kiwi music, MC Tali says the team of 5 million will decide the future of the scene.

"People love New Zealand music, people love New Zealand artists. And when that support and encouragement there our scene can really flourish," she says.

And with another week of cancelled shows a real possibility that support is more important than ever.