The Venue Collective, a booking agency responsible for booking live music for some of Australia’s most frequented venues, has announced they will be dissolving their business. The news comes as a bit of a surprise left hook for the local industry, which can’t seem to get a break.
Based in Melbourne, The Venue Collective booked for nine venues including Max Watts in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, Shebeen, The Corner Hotel, 170 Russell and both the Northcote and Newtown Social Clubs. Ben Thompson, who founded the company, revealed to Tone Deaf that it was indeed a sign of the times in terms of Australia’s live music atmosphere.
“We’ve lost a heap of big festivals, therefore we’ve lost a heap of international acts touring the country. The Aussie dollar’s dipped down below 70 cents and I think there’s a few factors of why that mid-sized touring’s been a bit slower, but to be honest that’s not the be all and end all of the business. It’s not going broke and it’s not in any kind of bad way.”
Thompson reveals, “I don’t think there’d be any venue operator out there — who relies on those types of tours — that would say they’re absolutely killing it,” which is a concerning reality considering just how few there are left.
Without the massive boost in business that comes with festival season bookending each year, and the side shows that come with it, venues are feeling the burn of a stifled industry. The Venue Collective has actually saved the day in the past, stepping in with Max Watts to save The HiFi venues from becoming apartments.