Thousands of people have marched in protest against Sydney’s lockout laws today, as part of a huge rally organised by the advocacy group Keep Sydney Open.
Beginning at Belmore Park near Sydney’s Central Station, the Keep Sydney Open rally made its way through the CBD while paying tribute to venues, small businesses and jobs which have been lost since the lockouts began in February 2014.
Keep Sydney Open’s Tyson Koh estimates 15,000 people attended the rally, while NSW Police estimate it was closer to 5,000.
Despite a touch of rain, the rally featured performances from the likes of local rockers Royal Headache and dance trio Art vs Science, who dropped a cover of the Beastie Boys’ (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!). Here’s a snippet:
— Vanessa Lawrence (@nesslawrence) February 21, 2016
Aside from performances, the rally also saw crowds listen to speeches from the likes of The Preatures’ frontwoman Isabella Manfredi, the Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner and DJ Nina Las Vegas.
Speaking to Music Feeds Reporter Emmy Mack at the rally, 25-year-old Chloe explained why she was in attendance, saying, “It’s super important, especially for the live music scene. We need to show the government that they can’t baby us like this. They’re so out of touch, they need to open their eyes.”
Future Classic DJs rounded out the rally with some tunes, including DJ Tom Budin’s spot-on Keep Sydney Open theme song, which is appropriately titled Mike Baird and is available to stream below alongside photos from the rally.
Today’s protest also saw the crowd rockin’ some A+ signs and outfits, including these masterpieces:
— Bek Duke (@bek_d) February 21, 2016
— Beefy76er (@beefy1976er) February 21, 2016
The Keep Sydney Open rally called for the removal of the city’s 1:30am lockout, and for 3am cease of service exemptions for licensed premises which are predominantly live music venues. It also called for Sydney to improve its late-night public transport, and for the Government to consult the creative and cultural industries before it makes its next steps.
With Sydney’s lockout laws currently up for review, the NSW Government has encouraged members of the public to have their say on the regulations as it formulates its final report, which is expected to be handed down in August.
Earlier this week, new data revealed a 40 per cent drop in live music revenue for Sydney’s CBD lockout zone since the city’s lockout laws were introduced.
Advocacy group Reclaim The Streets are set to host another anti-lockouts protestival in Sydney this March.
UPDATE 21/02/16 8:40pm: Here’s a gallery of the funniest anti-lockout banners from the ‘Keep Sydney Open’ rally.
Gallery: Keep Sydney Open Rally, 21.02.16 / Photos: Ashley Mar
Listen: Tom Budin – Mike Baird (Keep Sydney Open Theme Song)