The fight to save Sydney’s night-time and cultural economy has taken to the streets again after more than 60 people gathered outside the NSW Parliament on Thursday.

The group gathered to protest the closure of Circular Quay music venue, the Basement; armed with mirror balls and ukuleles the group also protested some of the absurd licensing restrictions being placed on venues in the state.

Earlier this month TheShout reported on some of these conditions, including no mirror balls and no rock music, and that venues across the state are being called on to reveal the ‘absurd conditions’ that they have to operate under.

Yesterday’s protestors packed the public gallery of Parliament to hear a speech by Labor councillor, John Graham, who spoke of some of these conditions as well as the 40 per cent fall in performance revenue that Sydney has experienced since 2013.

“The music inquiry has heard about the impact of planning laws on small venues,” Graham said, “including these examples: multiple instances of mirror balls in venues being banned.

“This condition applied to Sydney’s radical arts festival, the Sydney Fringe: ‘no dancing, no DJs’.

“In Newcastle, a ukulele lesson for over 60s [was] banned, after a single noise complaint, at 5.30pm on a Monday afternoon.

“In Terrigal, a pub had to defend itself in court. It was accused of breaching this condition: ‘no rock music’.”

Graham thanked the House for supporting the resolution to save the Basement but added that “the risk here remains that Sydney ends up losing an iconic music space, and developing one more restaurant.”

The Managing Director of Time Out Australia, Michael Rodrigues, told TheShout: “While we haven’t given up hope that the space will continue as a live music venue, it’s troubling that it’s come down to this.

“And even if the Basement continues as a business in another space, or is sold to another party, it’s likely the liquor license will go with it. Any new operator whether bar, restaurant or music venue, is going to have to deal with the liquor licensing freeze which affects the Sydney CBD.”

Rodrigues has previously told TheShout that the NSW Upper House Parliamentary Committee looking into the music and arts economy is keen to hear from venues that have had strange licensing conditions placed on them, and that they can have their say on the Right to Dance website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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