Fans Fuming After Canberra Venue Abruptly Shut Down
Wave goodbye to yet another chapter in the life of the infamous Greenroom in Canberra, which today was told by management at the Woden Tradies Club where it was based that their services would no longer be required.
The club had decided to trial resurrecting the Greenroom, refurbishing part of the club and hosting live bands over the past few weeks, but despite strong numbers and the fact that Karnivool were booked to play their in June, management have decided enough is enough.
Greenroom manager Garry Peadon said the decision by club management to shut to project down was “very disappointing” and that he had been very successful in using his connections to book a number of high profile acts who usually skip Canberra in their touring schedules.
“The issue is that a lot of acts skip Canberra because venues are too expensive, or they don’t like the area or they don’t like the management, and we got around that,” he said.
According to Peadon, management at the Woden Tradies Club had already approved renovations to the room so that the Greenroom could become a permanent fixture at the club before the plug was pulled abruptly yesterday.
But a spokesperson from the club told the Canberra Times that there was nothing underhanded or sinister about the decision, saying the project simply wasn’t commercially viable. “We are very supportive of the music industry and we wanted to make it work,” he said.
“Although we ran a month-long trial (as advertised) during March,” he continued. “The club’s administration went over the results and determined that it wasn’t within the interests of the club to lock-in a long-term agreement. As disappointing as that may be to some, the decision allows us to focus on true benefits we can offer our members now and in the future.”
The spokesperson conceded that the major contributing factor was that management had underestimated the cost of turning the performance space into a permanent performance space, including air conditioning, lighting and soundproofing.
“This was strictly a business decision, it’s not a sinister thing,” he said, also pointing out that while numbers had been good to the event, feedback from the rest of the club’s members had been mixed with numerous complaints about the behaviour of live music patrons.
The news comes against at a time of nationwide turmoil with live music venues, particularly in Melbourne including the East Brunswick Club which said goodbye last month, The Arthouse, and The Public Bar. Also in the last two years Brisbane has lost The Troubadour, Sydney has lost Low Bar, Tone Bar, the Gaelic, The Hopetoun, and the Abercrombie Hotel.
Some of those patrons jumped onto social media on hearing the news to express their frustration and disappointment with the decision.
“The Greenroom would have attracted so much attention, especially with bands like Karnivool playing there. What a terrible decision,” one user said.
“You should be ashamed of your treatment of the Greenroom, Chaos Act was the first time I have been back to your club in 20 years. I will not return,” another comment read.
“You have not only turned away business and lost money, you have now angered a LOT of people and word of mouth flies in this town,” wrote another. “Not only yet another dark day for Canberra live music but this is also the day you will be kicking yourself about in the months ahead. Good job.”
“Well I was going to become a member of tradies.. Guess i will spend my beer and pokie money elsewhere…” said another patron.
Ticket holders to the Karnviool show at the Greenroom will be contact to arrange a refund. No replacement venues in Canberra could be arranged.
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 »