Australian performers reveal their financial and mental health struggles during Covid-19 lockdown

‘My whole life is gone’: Fighting artists and musicians break down after seeing their careers ruined by lockdowns and left so ruined that they have to beg for cash from their parents

  • Artists and performers have made a passionate plea for support in viral video
  • The video describes their financial and mental anguish by working in concert after concert
  • Creator James Bustar says artists have ‘fallen through the gap’ in lockdown
  • Entertainers claim there is a double standard for the sports and arts industry

Artists and musicians staring at months out of work in successive lockdowns have tearfully explained their struggle to stay afloat.

Some said the pandemic with rolling lockdowns and venue closures ruined their careers, leaving them to borrow money from their parents for rent.

Artists across Australia including musicians, comedians and magicians describe their financial and mental anguish in a series of disturbing videos.

Singer and saxophonist Michael Votano, 36, wipes his tears back as he describes how he can not find any work after his career stopped abruptly overnight.

Circus artist Marcella Scheuner, 26, broke down when she recounted how she was forced to rely on the support of her parents.

‘I trust my parents a little, which I hate, because I’ve never been that person,’ she said.

‘I cry every time I ask my mother for money.’

Chris Atkinson also shared his mental health as other industries began to reopen, but the art sector remained closed, describing the period as ‘a very stressful time’ due to the uncertainty.

Five Belling, a jazz vocalist and violinist, said artists were always the last to be considered when it was thought ‘we don’t do important things’.

‘I challenge every single person out there to go through a lockdown or an eerie time throughout their lives without music, without Netflix, without newspapers, without books,’ she said.

‘It’s the artists who create these things.’

Five Belling and Australian Jazz vocalist and violinist featured in video challenge viewers to spend lockdown without music and Netflix

Five Belling and Australian Jazz vocalist and violinist featured in video challenge viewers to spend lockdown without music and Netflix

James Bustar, the creator of the video, said there was a lack of understanding of the art sector and how much artists contributed to society.

He compiled the video to put a ‘face to the feeling’ of artists left behind during the pandemic, in what he describes as a ‘forgotten industry’.

Bustar collected more than 30 hours of footage from interviews with artists in an attempt to raise awareness and understanding of what it’s like for people working in a gig industry gig during the lockdown.

‘We have fallen through the chasm,’ he said.

He also questioned why the government allowed sports bubbles for AFL and NRL players, while artists were denied ‘practice bubbles’.

‘There is a double standard for sporting events that are exempt,’ he said.

‘It’s a rule for us and a rule for them.’

James Bustar has performed as a comic juggler for more than 15 years, and his most important concerts include comedy and various shows on cruise ships around the world.

‘It’s time our voices are out there.’ Bustar told the Daily Mail Australia.

Comedy Juggler James Bustar created the video from over 30 hours of interviews with artists and artists who have struggled financially and mentally during the pandemic

Comedy Juggler James Bustar created the video from over 30 hours of interviews with artists and artists who have struggled financially and mentally during the pandemic

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended Sydney’s lockout for another four weeks on Wednesday as the state registered a further 177 Covid cases.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews lifted the lockdown on Tuesday, but home visitors were limited to only intimate partners or singles bubbles.

Prime Minister Steven Marshall announced that South Australia’s lockdown is over after the state did not register new cases on Covid-19, with mild restrictions being implemented.

A capacity of 25 percent will be in place for restaurants and cafes where eateries are forced to sit at all times.

Home collection and caps for funerals and weddings will be in place with masks made mandatory for public transportation.

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