Image for Local Mayor Wants Live Music Venues Exempt From Sydney’s Lockout Laws, But Doesn’t Think All DJs Should CountKeep Sydney Open Rally 2016 / Photo By Ashley Mar

Local Mayor Wants Live Music Venues Exempt From Sydney’s Lockout Laws, But Doesn’t Think All DJs Should Count

Written by Emmy Mack on February 22, 2016

A Sydney mayor supports the idea that live music venues should be exempt from the city’s lockout laws, but reckons that the definition of “live music” should exclude some DJs.

As SMH reports, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne wants live performance venues to be unshackled from the lockout legislation, but believes an official definition of what constitutes “live music” should be narrowly drawn up to avoid pubs and clubs abusing a loophole by “paying some guy to play a Spotify list”.

“To be frank, we may find that not every DJ will qualify as a performer of live music and the definition might end up being more supportive [of] bands and other performers,” the Councillor told SMH.

Byrne will present a proposal to Council next week, before submitting it to the Baird government’s independent review of the lockout legislation.

And his calls have also been backed by backed by Sydney Fringe Festival director and venue owner Kerri Glassock, who thinks the state government should differentiate between venues that are “a risk for violence”, and those that aren’t.

Like old mate, she believes there’s a difference between a proper live music venue, “which charges for tickets and has lower drinking rates”, and a venue “with just a DJ in the corner and people are just there to drink and the music is ancillary”.

According to the SMH, research conducted at her own Venue 505 on behalf of the City of Sydney, reportedly shows that alcohol consumption during live music events is different that of a pub (more like a theatre).

“People come in and have a drink, and then bar sales drop while the band is performing. During the intermission they have another drink,” she explained.

Byrne and Glassock’s recommendations come on the back of a Live Music Office report that shows live music ticket sales have plunged 40 per cent since the lockout laws were introduced.

And Byrne wants inner-city councils to commission more research to prove that “unhealthy binge drinking” is less likely to occur in performance venues.

“The government is not going to just abolish the laws and we need smart, nuanced amendments if we want to save Sydney’s nightlife and music scene,” Byrne told SMH, saying that live music venues with no record of violent incidents “are being punished for the mistakes of Kings Cross beer barns”.

Beer barns?


Yesterday, an estimated 15,000 people took to the streets of Sydney in a mass demonstration against the lockout laws.

Despite the bastion of fair and balanced journalism that is The Daily Telegraph painting protestors as a “swarm” and a “vocal minority” of rabble-rousers (“including Kings Cross nightclub owner John Ibrahim”) and pitting them directly against “a coalition of doctors, police and paramedics urging Mike Baird to keep the life-saving laws in place”, Keep Sydney Open’s Tyson Koh made it clear during his rally speech that the movement was “on the same side” as the emergency workers.

“We don’t want to get punched when we go for a night out”, he told the crowd of thousands at the rally, reiterating KSO’s credo that they want “smarter, safer solutions for a global city”.

Some of their recommendations include the implementation of a 24-hour public transport system, the introduction a night mayor and police who work with, not against, the responsible venues who provide safe nights out for punters.

Gallery: Keep Sydney Open Rally 2016 / Photos By Ashley Mar

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