Image for Keep Sydney Open Announce Massive Rally Against Lockout Laws This WeekendReclaim The Streets' September Rally / Photo: Tolmie MacRae

Keep Sydney Open Announce Massive Rally Against Lockout Laws This Weekend

Written by Michael Carr on February 15, 2016

The legends at Keep Sydney Open have just announced they will be holding a rally against the lockout laws on Sunday 21st February in Belmore Park near Sydney’s Central Station.

Making its way up into the CBD at around 1pm, the march will stop by soon to be closed venue Bar Century to conduct a mock funeral for all the bars, venues and small business that have shut their doors since the laws were put in place.

Set to feature performances from Art vs Science and Royal Headache as well as speeches from the likes of The Preatures frontperson Isabella Manfredi, Hoodoo Gurus‘ own Dave Faulkner, Bernard Keane the political editor of and of course Keep Sydney Open’s own Tyson Koh. More speakers are set to be announced during the week.

This all follows last week’s perfect storm of factors that saw public opinion turn against the laws. First there was CEO Matt Barrie’s essay condemning the laws for killing business and nightlife. Then came Premier #CasinoMike Baird’s response via social media, which drew a lot of criticism online.

What really seems to have set it all off though was Police telling Paddington wine bar 10 William Street that they are encouraging “anti-social behaviour” for promoting their ‘organic Wine Free Wine’.

The Keep Sydney Open rally will be calling for the following:

– Lockout exemptions for licensed premises that are predominantly live music venues
– An end to the new license freeze for predominantly live music venues and small bars
– The lifting of restrictions on retail hours
– Late-night public transport, like in Melbourne
– The introduction of a Night Mayor, like in Amsterdam and Berlin
– An invitation from government to discuss next steps in partnership with those whose livelihoods depend on the music and cultural industries thriving in Sydney
– Police to work with not against the responsible venues who provide safe nights out in a global city

According to a statement from organisers the rally will aim to emulate a similar anti-lockouts one staged by that live music advocacy group SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) in Melbourne in 2010.

That protest was estimated to have drawn in 17,000 people and is believed to have been instrumental in the removal of the Melbourne lockout in favour of other measures.

Building on that momentum in Sydney over the past few weeks, the Keep Sydney Open rally is an opportunity for those unhappy with the laws and living through the city’s cultural death throes to have their voices heard. See the Facebook event page, here.

Listen: Art Vs Science – You Got To Stop

Keep Sydney Open Rally

Sunday, 21st February – 12.30 pm
Belmore Park, Sydney

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