Hawkesbury venues are invited to apply to be part of a live music initiative which will help get artists back on stages around Sydney and regional NSW.
The NSW Government's Great Southern Nights will return in March and April 2022, creating jobs and revenue for artists that have struggled through COVID-19 lockdowns.
Bowen Mountain singer-songwriter Imogen Clark encouraged Hawkesbury venues to apply to host artists like herself, following the success of the inaugural Great Southern Nights festival in late 2020.
"This pandemic has stripped professional musicians of not only a source of income, but also a sense of purpose," Ms Clark told the Gazette.
"Great Southern Nights was an incredible way of rejuvenating the Australian live music scene at the end of 2020 after our first wave of lockdowns, providing so much hope and optimism to our struggling industry, and now we could really use the help kickstarting again.
"I'd love to see venues in the Hawkesbury, the same venues which housed my earliest gigs, embracing the Great Southern Nights celebrations. I'll be there with bells on."
The first artists to be announced as part of the lineup are ARIA-award winning indie pop artist Amy Shark and Yolngu rapper Baker Boy, as well as Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes, Missy Higgins and Peking Duk.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said Great Southern Nights would be welcomed by industry and music lovers alike following another challenging year of COVID-19 restrictions.
"Great Southern Nights celebrates the very essence of live music in Australia - it's about getting artists on stages, gigs in venues, and audiences back enjoying performances by our talented creatives right across the State," Mr Ayres said.
"Last year more than 75,000 tickets were sold for 1100-plus gigs at over 300 venues, and we know the appetite is there to get out and enjoy live music in Sydney and regional NSW which is why we must continue our vaccination efforts in coming weeks and months.
"Great Southern Nights was designed with COVID-safety in mind, supporting shows of all sizes, in all kinds of live music venues, and giving industry a leg up to get back to work.
"The NSW Government has delivered a range of support measures to businesses and individuals to lessen the impact of the latest COVID-19 restrictions, and earlier this year we delivered the $24 million Live Music Support Package to 162 venues demonstrating our commitment to the sector."
Great Southern Nights will feature live music performances from household names, emerging talent and grassroots local acts. It will be delivered by the NSW Government through Destination NSW in partnership with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
Shows will be held from March 18 to April 10, 2022.