What the 2020 ARIA Awards will look like
The 2020 ARIA Awards are the latest marquee entertainment event forced to switch to a broadcast-only show because of pandemic restrictions on mass gatherings and border closures.
As the NSW Government and ARIA forge ahead with the ambitious Great Southern Nights calendar of 1000 gigs for AusMusic Month in November, the awards will be staged without a live audience.
Tones and I, Tame Impala and Guy Sebastian are among the artists predicted to score nominations for the 2020 ARIAs which will be broadcast on November 25 on Nine and to the world via YouTube.
Nominated artists who can travel to Sydney will perform live or pre-recorded on the ARIAs stage at the Star Event Centre, while it is expected others will be filmed interstate for inclusion during the show.
All award winners will be announced live during the telecast which will be preceded by a virtual red carpet.
There is no word yet on whether Standing With You hitmaker Sebastian will return to the host role.
ARIA CEO Dan Rosen said the organisers were determined to stage the awards to celebrate the resilience of Australian artists and the music industry which has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, and before that by the bushfire emergency which affected the summer touring season.
While artists have still been able to release new music, most have had their incomes slashed by more than 70 per cent because of the concerts shutdown.
Going ahead with the 2020 ARIAs will generate much-needed employment for hundreds of music and television workers.
"We've explored every scenario under the sun … to get a small audience in the room but borders are blocked and we can't get all the artists and people in the industry to Sydney," Rosen said.
"We all need this, a moment to celebrate because the industry is struggling but we will tough it out because artists and the industry are resilient and creative.
"We're going to build the ARIA stage at the Star and as many artists as we can get to Sydney depending on borders will perform on that stage and the awards will be announced live from there."
The good news for music fans is ARIA are also bringing them into the tent of their annual nominations event.
All the nominees will be revealed via a live YouTube broadcast on October 13 with the Teskey Brothers, Jessica Mauboy, 5 Seconds of Summer, Vika and Linda, Lime Cordiale and Paul Kelly likely to feature in the honour roll.
For the first time in almost a decade, the Fine Arts and Artisan awards - which include Best Producer, Best Jazz Album and Best Cover Art - will be presented with the major awards on November 25 instead of at the nominations event.
This will be welcomed by those artists working in the jazz, classical, world and soundtrack fields who have felt snubbed by the mainstream industry for not getting their moment to shine in front of a national television audience.
Meanwhile Rosen said ARIA and the NSW Government are still juggling the logistics of bringing Victorian-based artists including Tones and I, Tash Sultana and Missy Higgins into the state for their COVIDSafe concerts as part of the Great Southern Nights festival.
He said the industry had been buoyed by the government's recent announcements of a 24-hour city recovery plan and the increase in numbers of spectators allowed to attend the NRL finals seasons.
"These artists are hanging out to play in front of an audience and we are working through the challenges of getting them here and giving everyone as much time as possible so hopefully borders will be opened by then," Rosen said.
Originally published as What the 2020 ARIA Awards will look like