Australian artists reveal their financial and mental health problems during Covid-19 lockdown

‘My whole life is over’: Struggling artists and musicians break down after seeing their careers ruined by lockdowns and so bankrupt they have to beg for money from their parents

  • Artists and performers have made a passionate plea for support in viral video
  • Video describes their financial and mental anguish of working in the gig-to-gig industry
  • Creator James Bustar says artists ‘fell through the hole’ during lockdown
  • Entertainers claim there is a double standard for sports and the arts industry

Artists and musicians who have been out of work for months staring into successive lockdowns have tearfully explained how they struggle to keep their heads above water.

Some said the pandemic with advancing lockdowns and site closures ruined their careers and forced them to borrow money from parents to make rent.

Performers 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 away tears as he describes being unable to find work after his career came to an abrupt halt overnight.

Circus performer Marcella Scheuner, 26, collapsed after telling how she was forced to rely on her parents’ support.

“I kind of rely on my parents, who 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 situation as other industries reopened, but the arts sector remained closed, describing the period as “a very stressful time” due to the uncertainty.

Fem Belling, a jazz vocalist and violinist, said artists were always the last to qualify because it was believed that “we don’t do important things.”

“I challenge anyone to go through a lockdown or a harrowing time for their entire lives, without music, without Netflix, without newspapers, without books,” she said.

‘Those are the artists who make those things.’

Fem Belling and Australian Jazz vocalist and violinist in the video challenged viewers to spend lockdown without music and netflix

James Bustar, the creator of the video, said there was a lack of understanding of the arts sector and how many artists have contributed to the community.

He put together the video to give a “face to the emotion” of the artists left behind during the pandemic, in what he describes as a “forgotten industry.”

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

“We fell through the hole,” he said.

He also wondered why the government allowed sports bubbles for the AFL and NRL players, while denying artists ‘rehearsal bubbles’.

“There is a double standard here for exempting sporting events,” he said.

“It’s one rule for us and one rule for them.”

James Bustar has been performing as a comic book juggler for over 15 years. His major appearances include comedy and variety shows on cruise ships around the world.

“It’s time for our voices to be out there.” Bustar told Daily Mail Australia that.

Comedy Juggler James Bustar created the video based on more than 30 hours of interviews with artists and performers who have struggled financially and mentally during the pandemic

Comedy Juggler James Bustar created the video based on more than 30 hours of interviews with artists and performers who have struggled financially and mentally during the pandemic

NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian extended Sydney’s lockdown for a further 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 are limited to intimate partners or single bubbles.

Prime Minister Steven Marshall has announced that South Australia’s lockdown is over after the state failed to register new cases of Covid-19 and introduced mild restrictions.

There will be a 25 percent capacity for restaurants and cafes, where diners must be seated at all times.

Home gatherings and caps at funerals and weddings will be in effect with masks required on public transportation.