In the 80’s, the Sydney live “pub” scene was the breeding ground for 2 iconic Australian rock groups, INXS and Midnight Oil. However, in recent times, there is no argument that Sydney has suffered creative drought of live music, and the archaic liquor licensing laws have been the core factor of blame. The 1st of July signalled changes to the laws that offers to reinvigorate a bright future for Sydney’s (and statewide) music scene.
Apra’s website reports, “Smaller venues will welcome the new On-Premises Entertainment Venue liquor licence that slashes application fees from $60,000 for a Sydney nightclub licence under the old regime, to $500. The new licence brings liquor licenses for Theatres, Cinemas, and music venues together in one simple and inexpensive category.
Young up-and-coming music creators will welcome the changes that allow under-18’s to perform as musicians in licensed areas without committing an offence (provided their parent or guardian is with them). This will enable younger musicians to work alongside established professionals, gain valuable performance experience and build a fan-base, while earning an income from their music. It will raise the standard of musicianship and professionalism in the industry….
The new $500 general bar licence and the long overdue reforms to the NSW restaurant licence will create many opportunities for musicians from all genres to perform within the restaurant and hospitality environment. Genres that are generally overlooked, such as multi-cultural live music, jazz, classical guitar and piano repertoire, singer songwriters, may find their niche within this new environment.”
The action group “Raise the Bar” (raisethebar.org.au) applauded the changes and recognised politicians and public figures who were instrumental in pushing these changes.
Creating a better environment and opportunities for live venues, will start a change reaction of benefits beyond the venue owners. Bands and artists have their stage to not only share their craft, but develop their songs with an audience. In growing their audience and fan base, a positive circle of growth occurs that will benefit the artist, venues, suppliers of music instruments and lovers of music. Coupled together with supporting tools such as the internet, the future seems bright for Australian music.