Sydney Venues Host ‘Unhappy Hour’ To Discuss The Future of Live Music

More than 40 of Sydney’s most vibrant live music venues and bars have turned off their house music as a sign of protest in recent weeks. The NSW Liberal Government’s recent crackdown on festivals and live music has seen an increased number of punters spearheading protests across the state.

This campaign, Unite For The Night, was coordinated by Night Time Industries. Night Time Industries’ board members are comprised of some of Sydney’s most decorated event coordinators including Kerry Glassock of Sydney Fringe Festival, Justine Baker of Solotel Group and Greg Khoury of Century Venues.

Venues that took part in this initiative included popular live music venues and bars, Oxford Art Factory in Darlinghurst, Jacoby’s in Enmore, Venue 505 in Surry Hills and Lansdowne Hotel in Chippendale.

The act of turning off the music at these venues was to allow for patrons and staff to be informed about the Liberal Government’s policy on lockout laws, alleged ‘war on festivals’ and engage in a discussion about the state of NSW’s entertainment scene.

Sydney local, Kat Hunter was amongst the thousands of patrons that were present at a Unite For The Night event and said, “It didn’t feel like we were doing something out of the ordinary.

“A place that we trust let us know that there was no excuse to be uninformed just as we went into that election.

“Going in blind wasn’t an option and it wasnt gonna change anything and i didnt know that or care before we were apart of the discussion.”

Full list of venues that participated in Unite For The Night: https://tinyurl.com/yyda4kej

Joe Sloan, bartender at Lansdowne Hotel was working the night of the ‘Unhappy Hour’ and said “Everyone was excited to be a part of something they usually wouldn’t be able to have control over.”

Since 2015, more than 176 venues across Sydney have been forced to close their doors after the strict lockout laws were introduced in the state of New South Wales.

Lansdowne Hotel in Chippendale was one of the venues to close just following the implementation of the law enforcing “the ‘lockout’ of new patrons at 1:30am with last drinks to be served before 3am,” and limitations on the types of drinks served between those times.

Lansdowne Hotel reopened in June 2017, and regained its popularity amongst locals and live music fans. The venue was bought by entrepreneurs and business owners, Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, who also own tourist attraction and popular local spot, Mary’s in Newtown and equally successful venue, The Unicorn Hotel in Paddington.

Joe Sloan went on to speak to the culture of Sydney since the lockout laws were introduced, “We just want Sydney to feel alive again. We’re not Adelaide; we’re not a ‘nanny state’.

“We’re cool, we’re exciting, and we’re full of culture. Our nightlife needs to reflect that,”

“I’d hate to think that this is the end of an era, so I’m not gonna say that it is.

“With live music fans fighting for what they believe in, maybe we’ll cause enough noise – mind the pun – so that the people with the power might just do something to save us”

______________________________________________

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS:

Kat Hunter, Sydney Local

Interviewed at: Lansdowne Hotel.

Why did you feel it was important for you to be present during the act of protest?

I go to bars at the end of the week uh to catch up with my friends, were all super busy and it’s the only time we get to wind down and have some fun. I really appreciate that we were literally hand fed this really important information in a safe space that we’re accustomed to, so it didn’t feel like we were doing something out of the ordinary. A place that we trust let us know that there was no excuse to be uninformed just as we went into that election. Going in blind wasn’t an option and it wasnt gonna change anything and i didnt know that or care before we were apart of the discussion.

How have the lockout laws affected you personally on a night out?

I found myself on more than one occasion being physically locked out from my friends and from safe spaces that i know because of lockout laws. My friends were on the inside of a club and i was standing on a street with no phone, no money, and no way home and no way back in.

Now that the Liberal Government has been re-elected, what do you think this means for the NSW live music scene?

From what i can gather, this government doesn’t care about live music, and doesn’t want us to have it. I know that they think they are keeping us safe, but it’s changing the culture and not in a good way. I don’t think that they’re gonna change their minds and that sucks, so i guess it’s up to us to keep getting in their face and telling them like this is not ok

Joe Sloan, Bar Staff

Interviewed at: Lansdowne Hotel

How did you find the patron’s reception of the information presented during the “unhappy hour”

I don’t think anyone was turned off by it and i think for the most part, everyone was pretty excited to be a part of something that they usually wouldn’t be able to think they have control over.

How has the behaviour of patrons shifted since lockout laws, and further since the ‘war on festivals’ and pill testing debate

It’s definitely different, i reckon sydney punters are finding it more difficult to have a good time than before it. It hasn’t stopped people going out, but it’s definitely more difficult once you’re out to find a safe place to land

Now that the Liberal Government has been re-elected, what do you think this means for the NSW live music scene

Look – i think people are pretty pissed about it, especially my people. We just want sydney to feel alive again. Were not adelaide, were not a nanny state. Were cool, were exciting, and were full of culture. Out nightlife needs to reflect that. I’d hate to think that this is the end of an era, so i’m not gonna say that it is, but with any luck, and with live music fans fighting for what they believe in, maybe we’ll cause enough noise – mind the pun – so that the people with the power might just do something to save us

HELPFUL LINKS:

Concrete Playground ARTICLE: A Heap of Bars Will Stop Service Tonight to Highlight How Much Sydney’s Nightlife Is Struggling

https://concreteplayground.com/sydney/food-drink/nightlife/bars-stop-service-tonight-highlight-sydneys-nightlife

Parliament of Australia WEBSITE: Sydney Lockout Laws

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Personal_choice/Interim%20Report%20b/c02

Music Feeds ARTICLE: Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel Reopening As A Live Music Venue

Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel Is Reopening As A Live Music Venue “With A Fucking Vengeance”

Night Time Industries Association WEBSITE: Unite For The Night Campaign

Home

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s