World Musician Day

(12.30pm, Saturday 6 April 2013, Sydney Park)

Thanks, John [Rose, MC]. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the first-ever World Musician Day. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

What a fantastic day this is, and what an amazing demonstration of the breadth and depth of musical talent that we have in Sydney. And we have a grand piano in Sydney Park. What a powerful symbol that is!

Music, and musicians, play a huge role in our cultural life. Live music remains Australia's most popular live performance activity with a staggering 48 million attendances across the country.

It provides employment for many, and pleasure to the rest of us! It contributes $1.2 billion to Australia's economy, with NSW, accounting for 32 per cent of that contribution.

It can enrich lives, help develop and strengthen neural pathways, and can benefit mood, concentration, creativity and the ability to learn. It also makes for a livelier, more diverse city.

So it is time we celebrated Sydney's musicians!

World Musician Day comes at a time we're on the cusp. Many live venues have closed or are under threat. At the same time, there are more people than ever learning an instrument, performing or making an audience for live music.

Sydney needs to make sure those people can be heard, and that we protect and promote the venues they need.

We've established a Live Music Task Force with John Wardle as the task force chair - he was the brains behind the Raise the Bar campaign.

When I proposed the Task Force, I quoted Paul Kelly's 2010 words: "You don't learn how to write a song in school. You can't do a TAFE course on how to play in front of an audience…" You learn it, he said, in the small live venues. So we are determined to expand opportunities for emerging artists to work in the City.

At the city we've championed small bars as venues for performers and provided spaces for creative in Oxford Street, William Street, Woolloomooloo and in 107 Redfern.

We're also restoring the Burton Street Tabernacle as the new Eternity Playhouse, and keeping the Darlinghurst Theatre as a performance space.

I would also like to pay tribute to Kahne Raja, violinist and software developer, creator of the Musomap, and of this festival.

The Musomap is an on-line map where you can find a music teacher, start a group, promote a gig, trade instruments. It's for amateurs, professionals, hobbyists, students - and for audiences.

Over 2000 musos around the world are already listed, 500 of them in Sydney.

It represents the kind of inspired, ground-up thinking that will make Sydney the creative, inspirational place we all know it can be.

So congratulations, Kahne, and I declare World Musician Day launched and have a great day, everyone!