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Greetings Music Victoria members and subscribers
We hope you had a good break and are refreshed and ready to tackle another exciting year for Victorian music.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, St Kilda was the live music epicentre of Australia, spawning its own distinct sound. Music Victoria is celebrating this era of individuality, enthusiasm and creativity with a panel at the St Kilda Festival’s Live N Local week called Saints and Sinners – St Kilda’s Musical History at the Prince of Wales Mink Bar at 5pm on Sunday 5th February.
Former promoter Dolores San Miguel, author of Ballroom: The Melbourne Punk & Post Punk Scene, will do a reading from her book and musicians Paul Stewart (Painters and Dockers) and Bohdan X will regale the audience with stories and lessons from the era.
Michelle Harrington, founder of the St Kilda Live Music Community and editor of St Kilda Rock Chronicles, will also be on the panel to describe the issues facing the music scene today and what young musicians and promoters can learn from the DIY attitude of the 1970s and 1980s.
It is a free event but RSVPs are recommended via firstname.lastname@example.org
The good news about the St Kilda music scene is that the new owners of the Prince Bandroom have reaffirmed a commitment to live music with the signing of new band booker and live music seven nights a week in the public bar. You know the deal southsiders: use it or lose it.
Sadly, one of the north’s best mid-capacity venues, the East Brunswick Club, will officially close its doors on Wednesday 29th February with a show by Oscar + Martin, Parking Lot Experiments and Milk Teddy.
The room has hosted memorable performances by local acts including The Mess Hall, The Drones, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Lisa Mitchell, Jet, Cloud Control, the Hard-Ons, Angus & Julia Stone, Boy & Bear, the Temper Trap and Urthboy. The owners Pete and Pam are retiring and the new owners have decided to not continue it as a band room and have put in an application to build apartments.
There is always lots of churn in the live music industry. What we need to focus on is that the venue operators that want to continue trading, and new ones that want to open up, have the regulatory framework and support to do so.
This year Music Victoria will be working with councils and the government to allocate resources to identify the state’s key “cultural clusters” and manage community expectations around them. Clearly neighbours in Balwyn should expect a different level of amenity than residents in a cultural epicentre like Fitzroy.
One of the concerns is the difficulty in starting up a new venue. The Phoenix Public House recently opened up in Sydney Road Brunswick, and the Regal Ballroom is set to open up in Northcote this weekend, but they had existing licenses. We need to ensure that new licensing procedures are not so cumbersome that potential new licensees are scared off from starting new venues.
Music Victoria is getting behind the first National SLAM Day on February 23rd. If you’re a band, venue booker, promoter or licensee and want to support this historic event by hosting a show on 23rd February, register your gig at slamrally.org. It’s free to do so!
Otherwise, please make sure you head out on the 23rd and show your love for your local.
Music Victoria is also looking at ways to increase musician’s income. We have recently completed our report into musician’s access to Centrelink, and are currently researching tax concessions that professional musicians receive in countries such as Ireland and France, and what the highly subsidised film industry receives in Australian. Our Student Committee is also researching the state of play with the underage gig scene.
Music Victoria featured in a recent front page Melbourne Leader story on a recommendation from a recent City of Melbourne report that a music incubator should be built on crown land behind the Victorian Arts Centre. We argued that the Victorian contemporary music industry is comprised of hundreds of inter-related micro businesses that are spread out all over the state. The benefits of an incubator would range from economies of scale to shared resources, ideas and collaborations. We need a hub that everyone from young creatives to tourists could migrate to, with live music, seminars, education and exhibitions. There’s plenty of evidence that incubators provide an excellent and inspiring environment to work in, away from the isolation of working at home.
CEO, Music Victoria