When Adelaide live music venue The Jade Monkey closed in October 2012 it marked a major blow to the city’s cultural scene and became the primary exhibit in the case agains the strict liquor licensing and regulations suffocating live music venues, its demise demonstrating a ‘worst case scenario’ cautionary tale for operators facing pressures from Government red tape and property developers.
Adelaide City Council, Premier Jay Weatherill, and even a local property developer all acknowledged The Jade Monkey’s plight and vowed to help when the venue was forced to shut down when owners of the building it was housed in obtained permission to build a $65 million hotel next door.
Now, nine months later however, the Jade Monkey has been saved, getting a new lease of life after a drawn-out struggle in acquiring a new location and liquor license and will be reopening soon in Adelaide’s Flinders Street, reports In Daily.
Co-owner Zac Coligan confirmed with the paper that the new premises would be opening in a matter of weeks after an expensive fit out. “We need to do some major works before we open to deal with the required sound-proofing,” said Coligan.
The new location is a small church building near the former St Pauls Anglican Church that’s been vacant since early 2012 after nightclub Heaven closed down, but Coligan had been in a deadlock with the nearby Bethlehem Lutheran Church over liquor license negotiations in opening the venue.
The Jade Monkey proprietor had claimed that the Church’s conditions were unreasonable; “the church with their solicitors and barrister drew out the process by continuing to change their minds and make new demands,” he says, while telling Radio Adelaide last May that “the business is not looking financially viable.”
It was only after intervention from the Australian Hotels Association that negotiations were smoothed out, leading Coligan to aquiesce to the Lutheran Church’s request. “We were left with no choice but to agree to everything until they finally withdrew their objection,” he says, adding that the struggle “has been very difficult for our family but hopefully now we will be able to proceed without further interference.”
Ian Liddell, a representative of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church said that they were “delighted with the work our Barrister and Solicitor did” to reach a final agreement. “Their job was to protect the Church’s position that has been there since 1872,” he said.
“The Jade Monkey originally applied for a licence with no conditions,” remarks Mr Liddell. “We were not given any notice by [them] that they intended to open and found out through a third party in December of their intent. All that said and done we wish The Jade Monkey every success. As we said all along we just want to continue our church activities in a pleasant environment.”
Premier Jay Weatherill welcomed the news of the Adelaide live music venue being rescued from its period of doubt; “It is good news for South Australia’s live music scene that the Jade Monkey has secured a home after a period of uncertainty.”
“Government representatives have been assisting the Jade Monkey with relocating and it is pleasing that they can now get on with doing what they do best – supporting our up-and-coming musicians.”
Former Renew Adelaide head and current National Live Music Advisor Dr Ianto Ware had specifically used The Jade Monkey as an example of the serious problems with the current legislative systems in Adelaide that constrained the abilities of venue operators in acquiring licensing. “The Jade Monkey, a 120-capacity venue in Adelaide, was shut-down… Even with pretty high-levels of support, it [hadn't] been able to get through the regulatory system. It isn’t a good time to run a live music venue.”
It will remain a difficult time thanks to the Late Night Trading Code Of Practice, a proposal that was first shown by the SA Government last November, which once officially passed, introduces a ream of tough security and licensing measures to Adelaide live music venues as of 1st October 2013, including 3am lockouts, metal detectors, increased CCTV surveillance, and drinks restrictions.
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