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News May 19, 2022

Big Funding Boost for Aussie Venues, Mark Gerber to Lead Music at Lansdowne Hotel

Big Funding Boost for Aussie Venues, Mark Gerber to Lead Music at Lansdowne Hotel

The return of live music got another major boost with a number of initiatives, and got confirmation that Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel will live to see another gig.

131 music venues throughout Victoria were this week given grants of up to $65,000.

These included some of Melbourne’s best-known meccas including the Corner, the Cherry Bar, Yah Yahs, 170 Russell, Prince Bandroom, the Athenaeum, Brunswick Ballroom, the Evelyn, 24 Moons, Howler, the John Curtin, La La Land and the Grace Darling.

“It’s a well-known fact that Victoria is Australia’s live music capital, this latest funding will ensure our live music industry can offer the best experiences and continue to attract visitors from across Australia and the world,” minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson, said.

“From blues trains to band rooms, halls to hotels, these venues mean that artists can get in front of audiences and punters can enjoy incredible live performances right across our state.”

Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel has yet another reprieve, with Mark Gerber and the Oxford Art Factory team taking over its music operations from June 25.

Previous tenants Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham of Mary’s Live announced in late summer that live music would fold in April as the landlord wanted to close the band room to make way for student accommodation.

Now Gerber is upgrading all amenities along with new audio and visual gear.

“Sydney doesn’t need to lose any more live music venues; it has suffered enough,” he said.

“The lockout laws and Covid-19 have severely impacted a once flourishing and vibrant nightlife, and I wasn’t going to let yet another music venue fall by the wayside, not on my watch!”

The team behind Brisbane’s the Triffid and the Fortitude Music Hall could well set up in Toowoomba in southeast Queensland.

Manager John ‘JC’ Collins visited last week at the invitation of independent candidate for Groom, Suzie Holt, about setting up a new venue to reignite the nighttime economy.

“We’re going to look at the existing venues, get a feel and see what’s required,” he told media.

It will most likely have a 600-1200 capacity, large enough to be included on national runs.

In August, Collins and his business partners are opening the Hindley Street Music Hall, also large enough (1,800-capacity) for national tours.

The live reboot also focuses on setting up or expanding some entertainment precincts.

In Tamworth, NSW, pub and club owners are holding talks to push the CBD as the country music capital’s first Special Entertainment Precinct.

In the NT, the City of Palmerston, a satellite city of Darwin, is holding meetings for its Arts and Creative Industries Strategy for 2023-2027.

An entertainment precinct is an idea suggested, as has better use of performance venues.

Canberra’s Hellenic Club unveiled plans to expand with an entertainment and office precinct that will include a 2,000 seat theatre to complement the Canberra Theatre in Civic.

Building will start in late 2023.

The Victorian government announced work will begin in June on the $1.7 billion Melbourne Arts Precinct transformation which will open in 2028.

There will be a significant revamp o the State Theatre, which will include improved accessibility and acoustics, new hospitality destinations and upgraded back-of-house facilities including new rehearsal spaces and loading docks for larger productions.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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