Rise of the Pub Gig – a national tour featuring 500 shows at 100 pubs throughout June and July has kicked off with the aim of reinvigorating live entertainment around the country.

Muso, the Australian-developed live entertainment booking and management platform, has announced the line-up and venues for the highly anticipated Rise of the Pub Gig tour. 

The tour features well-known and emerging local artists at a number of the nation’s favourite pubs and venues including The Chippo Hotel (Sydney), Lazybones Lounge (Sydney), Lucky Coq (Melbourne), Imperial Hotel (Melbourne), Kings Beach Tavern (Sunshine Coast), Regatta Hotel (Brisbane), Parkside Hotel (Adelaide), The Aviary (Perth) and many more.

The tour aims to give venues the kick-start they need to host ongoing live music, in turn increasing income for musicians and offering more gig experiences for punters, according to Muso.

Muso co-founder Brandon Crimmins told Australian Hotelier, “We are overwhelmed with the interest and enthusiasm of all of the venues that applied.

“It’s evident that many venues are keen to introduce live music back into their spaces and provide the best possible experience for their patrons. It’s great to hear that many participating venues are planning on booking gigs post-campaign too.

“To play a part in facilitating more live music and possibly creating brand new live music experiences around Australia is the ultimate goal of the campaign and is a great source of pride for everyone here at Muso.”

All 100 venues will receive funding for their five gigs to cover the cost of artist fees and social media promotion, and the recently opened Camellia Hotel in Sydney’s Rosehill is among them.

“The reasoning behind it is to get live music back into venues and to make it affordable, so we’re going to trial it on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons,” says the venue’s marketing manager, Kathleen O’Hara.

“It’s just another element of the pub experience to entice people to go out.”

A new platform

Earlier this year, the Woollahra Hotel in Sydney (pictured above) welcomed back Live Music Sundays in its newly refurbished Front Bar as a platform for local, established, and emerging performers.

Although the pub provides entertainment upstairs, live music is back by popular demand in the pub’s freshly renovated art deco front bar from 4pm to 8pm every Sunday.

“The locals were pretty keen to see the live entertainment come back. We listened to our locals,” general manager of the family-owned pub Simon Barbato said.

With 16 years with Keystone Group, Barbato understands the potential of live music.  

“I know how good it can be when it’s done well,” he said. “Like pubs, performers have suffered greatly over the past couple of years. If we can contribute to helping others, everyone’s a winner.

“In terms of music, this is the first consistent programming of live music the hotel has introduced, and it’s great to see locals of all ages returning week on week, up having a dance, and creating a fun atmosphere on a Sunday arvo.”

Shake-up needed

The live entertainment sector has faced years of immense challenges, deficit business models and inequity, according to The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), resulting in a need for structural change.

With this in mind, the NTIA and the Sydney Fringe Festival are joining forces to map out strategies to help boost the sector.

With unprecedented Covid-related support from government, they say, the industry has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make real and sustainable change to benefit the sector and others in its ecosystem.  

To this end, they have embarked on a strategic action plan to help re-engage a new generation of night owls.

“Solving complex problems takes true collaboration and inclusion,” said NTIA chair Justine Baker.

“The NTIA gathered stakeholders from the arts, music, hospitality, policy, accommodation, festivals, tourism, associations, beverage, government and property to workshop the key issues surrounding recovery of our nightlife.

“The output will be distilled into a concise action plan that the NTIA will lead in collaboration with our members and other key players.”

Sydney Fringe Festival director and CEO Kerri Glasscock said that the pandemic had already resulted in some positive reforms, but more needed to be done.

“The NTIA looks forward to being able to represent our community and work with government in shaping the future.” 

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