THE frontman of a Horsham rock band says when live music returns to the Wimmera's pubs, clubs and halls, so too will key social opportunities for some residents.
It follows a Horsham live music venue receiving grant funding in the first round of the Victoria government's Live Music Venues program.
The $9 million program offers grants of between $4000 and $50,000 to help venues cover overheads, put COVID-safe measures in place and help them host events once allowed to.
Robert Millar, lead singer and guitarist of quintet Johnny Thunder and the Lightnings, said a lot of the band's party bookings had been postponed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
"It is a good outlet to catch up with friends, so that has probably been a bigger impact," he said. "A lot of the bookings we had cancelled were for events where a lot of people come together and might only see each other once a year, like a car show or a bike show.
"Live music just gives people that option for a bit of a release, so when the live shows pick up again bands and the community will benefit: To do something that isn't your day to day job and is a bit of an emotional release can be really fulfilling for some people."
Mr Millar, also acting chief executive of the Centre for Participation, said Wimmera venues would benefit financially if and when they welcomed back live bands.
"It depends on the night and the venue, but once we can get bands back in there, it will stimulate a lot of economic output," he said.
Wilson Street's Bull and Mouth Hotel is one of 106 venues across the state to receive funding in the first round of the program. The pub's Simon Mitchell declined to comment.
In July, Mr Mitchell told the Mail-Times he was renovating the pub's front bar and accommodation.
READ MORE: Wimmera pubs welcome live music support
Another $3 million round of grant funding for artists, managers, promoters and other music industry workers is now taking applications.
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