It is with an equally sad but hopeful heart that I begin my weekly music updates for the Tangent blog. Here in Sydney, the times aren’t so much a-changin’ as continuing to their logical conclusion.
Punters, bands, even staff were shocked on Monday September 28th to find the Hopetoun Hotel locked, bearing a misspelt sign announcing the venue “closed until further notice.” Within a couple of weeks, the owners of the legendary Annandale Hotel, Dan and Matt Rule, announced in the Sydney Morning Herald that it was likely the Annandale could suffer the same fate. The reaction to both announcements was immediate and widespread. Sydney music fans are devastated.
These two venues, the most prominent in Sydney for new and local musicians, were the nests of the independent scene. Every week, a flock of tight black jeans, band shirts, leather jackets and Converse All Stars would congregate within these venues for the promise of cheap beer and exciting new music. These venues are institutions – shining lights in an often-bleak scene – and we can’t afford to lose them.
The reasons for the venue troubles are too deep to get into here, but they stem from a lack of community and council support, and perhaps, I wonder, patron support as well. Those of us in Sydney need to take action, instead of just getting outraged. Now is not the time to get jaded; now is the time to act. Join the various online groups to save these venues (see below). Sign the petitions. Email your local coucil member. But more importantly: go out to your local venue. See more bands. Support your scene. Put your money where your mouth is, Sydney.
Together, we can save our scene. We shall overcome.