Public discussion has ramped recently about the livelihood of the Newcastle live music scene.
Well-known figures from the Australian music scene have stepped forward to voice their concern for the live music culture that put Newcastle on the map.
Going from a time when there were more than 20 live music venues operating on, or near, Hunter Street as many as four nights a week, nowadays finding live music is like finding a guitar pick in a haystack.
Newcastle is growing as a city which is great news for the economy, but at the same time, the live music scene is in decline.
With residential developments popping up next to the most well-known live music venues like The Cambridge, The Wickham Hotel and The Lass, the city risks losing the very qualities that bring people here.
Newcastle-grown guitarist Grant Walmsley (Screaming Jets) attributes his three-decade career to Newcastle’s live entertainment scene.
“People love to talk about The Screaming Jets, people love to talk about Silverchair,” he said.
“They love to talk about success stories, but the only reason any of us were successful is because we have had a live music scene.”
It is not only the cultural side of Newcastle at risk, employment for locals is also of concern. The Wickham Hotel is one of a handful of live entertainment venues still operating and employs 18 staff in the hotel.
Owner Marcus Wright says live entertainment was linked to these jobs, not only staff jobs, but also those up on stage performing.
Newcastle City Council is currently developing an After Dark policy to create a “safe and vibrant” night time economy for the city.
The policy outlines six strategic areas – none of which make mention of existing live music venues.
The council has called for public input into the strategy via a link on its website. However, the link, at the time of writing, is not working.
It appears the council has undervalued live music and live performance venues in the CBD.
These venues not only contribute greatly to the night-time economy of the city; they also contribute to supporting the abundance of talent living here.
As ‘musos’ ourselves, Long Legal support those fighting to keep the music scene alive in Newcastle.
We are offering a free consultation with the new generation of musical entrepreneurs looking to open live-music venues. We can also assist existing venues who have been notified of proposed development next door and want to know what they can do about it.
Give our office a call.
Rock on Newcastle!