'The public is starved for live music'; Joe Creighton positive for future of industry

For musician Joe Creighton, the past few months has been the longest period of time he has not played a live gig.

STAYING POSITIVE: Musician Joe Creighton has been spending his time working on songs and recording backing tracks in his home studio in Golden Point. Picture: Adam Trafford

STAYING POSITIVE: Musician Joe Creighton has been spending his time working on songs and recording backing tracks in his home studio in Golden Point. Picture: Adam Trafford

Creighton toured as part of John Farnham's band for 13 years and more recently joined international tours with Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John.

He has played for a number of other musicians, fronted his own bands, played solo shows and toured with his band Into The Mystic that plays the music of Van Morrison.

"There has never been a period to this degree where you can't actually do a gig other than putting up a video on Facebook," Creighton said.

"We really don't know where it is going to go. I had a call from a promoter last week in Melbourne asking me to do a solo show at some point. I don't know how that is going to work. It will be interesting to see."

I think the public is going to be starved for some live music, so I have a feeling there could be a little bit of a boom after this really.

Joe Creighton, musician

Creighton moved to Ballarat just over two years ago after a relationship break up, seeking a change from Melbourne.

He was familiar with the feeling of a smaller town, having grown up in a seaside town outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Since COVID-19 hit, Creighton has spent a lot of time working on songs in his home studio, recording backing tracks for his album and solo shows and posting videos of home performances on social media.

He said he was grateful to continue to be able to afford regular payments, when many other musicians were struggling financially and unsupported by most government stimulus packages.

"The music industry is pretty crippled, but probably no worse than retail or the restaurant industry," he said.

"The most important thing is trying to maintain positivity and not worry. There were a few times last month I looked at the situation and woke up in a cold sweat, but you have to forge ahead and trust the next thing is going to come up and do what you can to create new opportunities.

"I think the public is going to be starved for some live music, so I have a feeling there could be a little bit of a boom after this really."

Creighton said he believed people had developed a new appreciation for live music during the pandemic.

"I think if people feel confident enough they are safe at the venues I think there will be a surge," he said.

"People have been in their houses and now they want freedom. I think when they hear there is going to be a venue doing live music it will be better attended than ever, but we have to get over this and make sure there are no new outbreaks."

Creighton said he had been performing casual Sunday afternoon gigs at his local pub The Grapes Hotel in Golden Point before COVID-19 hit.

He has performed at Her Majesty's Theatre in the past with his band Into The Mystics and hopes to bring the show back to Ballarat soon.

"I think Ballarat will probably be much the same as everywhere else in that people will want to go back to venues and hear live music," Creighton said.

The Victorian government is gradually easing restrictions. From Monday, up to 20 patrons will be allowed in entertainment venues.

Premier Daniel Andrews said if community transmission rates continued to remain low and testing rates continue to remain high, he would look to further relax restrictions from June 22.

This story 'The public is starved for live music'; Joe Creighton positive for future of industry first appeared on The Courier.