The impact of COVID-19 on music venues in regional South Australia

A case study




live music, regional, venues, COVID-19, South Australia


As spaces of social, cultural and economic production, small regional music venues are an under-explored research area that can offer insights into changing music and performance practices, place-making, and the connections between urban and regional communities. Within the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the state of precarity in which such venues operate is emphasized and exacerbated. This article will present preliminary findings from our case study of a small, regional music venue in the mid-north of South Australia that has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated government restrictions. The pandemic has dramatically changed the way that live music is both performed and experienced, and a case study such as this offers an opportunity to discuss its impact on niche cultural and community spaces that are geographically and socially removed from the urban milieu and its policy settings. Preliminary findings suggest COVID-19 brought about both challenges (capacity restrictions and disruption of interstate travel for audiences and artists) as well as opportunities (strengthening the presence of rural voices in policy settings). The case study also highlights the need for further research on strategies for developing and sustaining regional touring pathways throughout South Australia.

Author Biographies

Rosie Roberts, University of South Australia

Rosie Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of South Australia. Her work focuses on issues of diversity, equity and belonging in a range of cultural contexts (transnational migration; regional communities; and the live music sector). She has recently published a sole authored book (Springer 2019) and a co-edited collection (Routledge 2021, forthcoming) on the spatial, temporal and relational dynamics of middle-class migration.

Sam Whiting, University of South Australia City

Sam Whiting is a popular music scholar and a Lecturer in Creative Industries at the University of South Australia. His published papers explore issues of access, identity, gender, heritage, live music, and scenes through the lens of popular music studies. His PhD focused on the social and cultural value of small live music venues and was awarded by RMIT University. He is currently working on a book about small venues for Bloomsbury Academic.


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How to Cite

Roberts, R., & Whiting, S. . (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on music venues in regional South Australia: A case study. Perfect Beat, 21(1), 25–32.