Victorian Music Industry Still Waiting For Government Election Promise
Tonight Melbourne’s The Toff in Town will play host to the first ‘Music Activism: Save Live Australian Music’ discussion forum.
The event will feature prominent industry figures and provide a free forum for industry workers and the general public concerned with the state of affairs regarding live-music in Victoria.
This meeting comes over two years after the SLAM organisation held rallies in opposition to the then Labour Government’s controversial introduction of mandatory liquor-licensing restrictions on live-music venues, which saw the closure of Melbourne’s renowned Tote Hotel as a catalyst for active opposition to the laws.
Since then Premier Ted Baillieu’s newly instated Liberal government made good on election promises by passing legislation that acknowledges the importance of “licensed hospitality and live music”.
The current state government has failed to deliver on other relevant election promises however, in particular a pledge to hold regular “round table” meeting’s that would include representatives of Music Victoria, liquor-licensing bosses, Victoria Police, planning authorities and state government representatives.
This concept of consistent “round table” discussions was welcomed amongst SLAM and Melbourne’s live music supporters, who are still awaiting an official government commitment to the plans, with state Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien reporting to The Sunday Age back in February that meetings would commence “in the near future”.
Tonight’s forum at The Toff will touch on the importance of the government acknowledging election promises such as the “round table” concept, as well as looking at ideas such as first occupancy laws, which will serve to recognise the rights of live-music venues that were established before neighbourhoods surrounding them were developed for residential use.
Many live venues that have seen residential development in their surrounding areas have become the subject of noise complaints to Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority.
First occupancy laws, which have been effectively implemented in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, would enforce that residents moving into areas occupied by long serving live music venues must accept the audio status-quo.
The Toff Talks Music Activism: Save Live Australian Music will run from 7:30-8:30pm tonight and is free to attend. Guest speakers and panellists will include:
James Young (Cherry Bar)
Helen Marcou (co-founder SLAM)
Dr Kate Shaw (ARC Research Fellow, University of Melbourne and music activist)
Councillor Ken Ong (Chairman Future Melbourne Planning Committee)
On 23rd February 2010, the SLAM rally saw 20,000 people march through Melbourne to the tune of AC/DC’s definitive ‘Long Way to the Top’, in protest against the Victorian Government’s misguided policy link between live music and violence. Out on the streets of our city, we showed our support and love for a truly great live music community. The SLAM rally was the largest cultural protest in Australia’s history. Now all of Australia has the opportunity to participate in a national event that celebrates our local musicians in our small venues.
Thursday 23rd February 2012, is National SLAM Day and a huge number of gigs are being held around the country to support local artists and venues. You can see a ful gig guide here of the day here. To celebrate our friends at SLAM have got together some of Australia's best musicians and asked them through a series of speech bubble photos what live music in small venues means to them.
Check out their answers on the following pages, and on Thursday help support the industry by getting out and experiencing the spontaneous excitement and intimacy you only get at a small venue. Watch this slideshow »