Entertainment, News

Iconic Fairy Meadow pub scraps live music

WOLLONGONG musicians are calling for city leaders to show greater support for local original live music, following an announcement by ‘The Patch’ today that the venue was unable to continue booking bands.

The ban on amplified music at the Cabbage Tree Hotel at Fairy Meadow, a popular venue for touring bands, came from the NSW Office of Gaming and Racing, which wrote to the pub’s management after noise complaints.

The Patch is the latest venue to cease local original live music, following closures of The Oxford Tavern, Drop Bar, Sol Studios and Good Jelly (the last three because of police intervention as well).

While musicians have expressed concern about an increased police presence during performances, many  were pleased when representatives participated in the annual State of the Music Scene Forum late last year.

Over 150 musicians attended the forum at the Music Farmers gallery in Wollongong.

Live music advocate Jessie Hunt said police have shown greater support for the music scene since the forum.

“After speaking with police officers at the forum, I realised that there was definitely a lack of dialogue between musicians and young people like myself,” Ms Hunt said.

“At the Licensing officers’ invitation, I visited Wollongong police station where we talked about noise restrictions in residential areas. The LA10 condition, unfortunately, is at the root of the Patch’s noise complaint issues. This latest closure is symptomatic of inadequate legislation and a licensing policy which is still being enforced despite being outdated. But we’re hopeful we can keep working at it to resolve venue issues.”

At the highly successful Music Forum, musicians supported the idea of developing of a Live Music Accord as a way forward, by bringing all stakeholders together to discuss and agree on a set of principles about how to make venues more sustainable, and ensure long-term viability of the music scene more generally.

In the process they gained support from the Federal MP for Throsby Stephen Jones, who wrote in a letter of support: “I mourned the closure of the Oxford Tavern, a place where I spent many nights watching live music and seeing mates kick start their careers in music and entertainment. I have been pleased to see the re-emergence of music venues, but more needs to be done.”

Mr Jones agreed an accord was a good idea.

Live music advocate Robert Carr says the accord is the result of input from and dialogue with hundreds of community members at the forum, at gigs and online, as well as ongoing conversations with venue owners and police.

“The accord is a vision statement. It’s about facilitating a healthier, more vibrant arts sector. It is an opportunity for city leaders to show their support for the Wollongong music scene – to work through a range of issues associated with live music spaces, to help kick-start the night life economy and create opportunities for young people while recognising the needs of policing,” he said.

Ms Hunt plans to address Wollongong City Council in the next few weeks about issues facing the music scene.

“We are hoping for venues, councilors, police and local music businesses to sign up to the accord as a show of support for the long term viability of the music scene,” she said.


About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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