UPDATE 26/09/16: Alison Wonderland, Flight Facilities and more have spoken out about Sydney’s lockout laws after plaques with their names were placed outside several now-closed venues.
A veritable justice league of internationally renowned Aussie musos (and one of your favourite Kiwis) have backed a move by the crew at Keep Sydney Open to turn up the heat on Government officials currently keeping Sydney’s lockout laws in place.
ICYMI: since the 1.30am lockout and 3am alcohol curfew came into effect just two years ago, no less than 18 of Sydney’s most iconic live music venues have bitten the dust.
And in a demonstration of the damage that these catastrophic laws have wrought upon the city’s nightlife, KSO have recruited a corresponding 18 big-name artists – each who got their start at one of the now-shutdown venues – to endorse a move to install a bunch of commemorative plaques out the front of the buildings’ decomposing corpses.
Among the artists to back the move are Flume, Flight Facilities, RUFUS, Anna Lunoe, Alison Wonderland, Peking Duk, Art vs Science, The Presets, Nina Las Vegas, Jagwar Ma, The Preatures, Yolanda Be Cool, Hayden James, Bag Raiders, You Am I, Sneaky Soundsytem and Lorde (who played her very first showcase at Goodgod Small Club, FYI).
Keep Sydney Open volunteers will be installing the plaques outside each fallen venue tonight – alongside a tribute of flowers and candles – which will allow Sydneysiders the chance to mourn and pay their respects to a once-vibrant culture that is increasingly under threat of extinction.
“We want to show that live music cannot survive without venues for artists to hone their craft,” KSO says in a statement.
“More Australians attend live music annually than sporting events, with over 40 million attendances for contemporary music performances each year. Live music contributes $2 billion annually to our economy and accounts for nearly 40,000 full-time jobs.”
You can swing by to pay your respects at one of the candle-lit vigils tonight outside the skeletons of Hugos, Piano Room and Soho in Kings Cross, Phoenix, 34B, Q Bar, Spectrum and Flinders in Darlinghurst, The Lansdowne, Club 77 and Goodgod Small Club in the CBD and many more.
The whole thing comes hot on the heels of Calilnan Review into Sydney’s lockout laws, which – despite backing claims that the lockouts have decimated Sydney’s night life – has also been criticised for being unfairly swayed towards the pro-lockout agenda.
In a recent op-ed for News Corp, KSO founder Tyson Koh argues that the report was “lopsided” with “contradictions peppered throughout”.
“On reading Callinan’s report, we discovered anything we said was not to be accepted as readily as opposing voices,” Koh writes, continuing:
Mr Callinan’s report, while protracted, is neither thorough nor fair. It is disappointing given that it was prepared by someone for whom I still have the utmost respect.
It also has as its premise the opinion that lockouts are the only way of reducing assaults, something Keep Sydney Open and urban planners all over the world know to be false.
As this document forms the basis for Sydney’s ability to once again keep in step with global cities and their dynamic night-time economies, Premier Michael Baird and Deputy Premier Troy Grant ought to think very carefully.
Keep Sydney Open’s new plan to install plaques outside each of the city’s shutdown venues was devised as a direct response to the Callinan Review, with the goal of highlighting the devastating impact that the lockout laws are continuing to wreak upon Sydney’s live music culture.
In addition, KSO have also announced an “urgent” anti-lockouts rally for Sunday, 9th October, following their last one which drew around 15,000 punters.
Hopefully it helps drive home the KSO message, and pressure the government into considering smarter, more forward-thinking solutions to combat the issue of violence while preserving our night time culture, before Sydney loses any more venues.
Watch: This Time-Lapse Video Will Make You Weep For Sydney’s Night Life