Echuca's Riverboats Festival has joined thousands of music and live entertainment industry workers in signing an open letter to the federal government asking for an extension to the JobKeeper program.
More than 3500 music industry artists, workers, venues and businesses signed the letter which aims to highlight the continued devastation the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entertainment sector.
Among the signatories are musicians Kate Miller-Heidke, Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett and Paul Dempsey as well as events such as Port Fairy Folk Festival and Echuca's Riverboats Festival.
"At present, live music alone is operating at under four per cent of pre-COVID levels as a result of continual border closures and social distancing regulations," the open letter reads.
"Since March last year there has not been a single national tour undertaken by an Australian artist and there has not been a single festival run at full capacity. The music and live entertainment industry remains in lockdown.
"It's all completely understandable. But for music and live entertainment, the last twelve months has devastated our industry.
"Extending JobKeeper, or providing an industry specific wage subsidy package, will keep the show on the road. This doesn't just make cultural sense, it makes economic sense."
Riverboats Festival director David Frazer said the live entertainment industry was the first sector to shut and will be the last to re-open.
"Last February, we were one of lucky ones. We picked a three-week window between bushfires and the pandemic and that got us through," he said.
"But we are finding so much uncertainty swirling through about when we can actually properly trade. Every time there is a cluster, a hotel quarantine breach or cluster or lockdown, our entire industry is halted."
Mr Frazer said if JobKeeper wasn't extended in March, it could spell the end for some festivals and events.
"(The government) has to start looking at industry-by-industry support (for JobKeeper) rather than blanket coverage," he said.
"Events and festivals won't be seen again. They can't hibernate another 12 months - that was the impetus for (the open letter) to happen.
"We had to make call in October to cancel the 2021 (Riverboats Festival). At end of March, with no JobKeeper, where does that leave us? The harsh reality is I could still be a year from being paid."