News November 26, 2018

Newcastle Live Music Taskforce to use census data to expand live scene

Newcastle Live Music Taskforce to use census data to expand live scene
Image: theherald.com.au

The findings of the 2018 Newcastle Live Music Census will help the city’s Live Music Taskforce develop strategies to strengthen its live music scene.

The census was undertaken with the Sydney-based to take a snapshot of its gig activity through June.

State member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp, said: “Live music in Newcastle has been under threat in recent years, that is why I established the Newcastle Live Music Taskforce.

“The Taskforce has brought together stakeholders from across the industry including live music venues, promoters, local artists and youth venues.”

He said that setting up a baseline of venues was one of the first priorities for the Taskforce in its mission to ensure the live scene flourished.

“The Taskforce will aim to grow the number of gigs in Newcastle over the coming years.

“This is an important step in ensuring the live music scene does not just survive, but thrives in Newcastle and we are able to maximise the benefits the night economy delivers for the city.”

Key findings include:

* 460 gigs were presented across June featuring 700 separate acts.

* 80 venues hosted live music.

* The Hamilton Station Hotel presented 54 separate acts, The Cambridge Hotel 41, the Lass O’Gowrie 36.

* Lizottes and Battlesticks bar presented the most gigs, with 19 events each.

*Hotels had 41 venues (51%), 16 clubs had performances (20%), and 11 small bars with live music (13.75%).

* Newcastle city centre has the most live music venues (25), with Hamilton (7), Merewether (6) and Wickham (4).

* Carrington, Cooks Hill, Lambton, Mayfield, New Lambton, Wallsend and Adamstown all have 3 venues each.

John Wardle of Live Music Office noted the major role hotels play in showcasing live music, over clubs and small bars.

He added, “Programming is very diverse, featuring major touring acts, strong support for grassroots local bands, and a wide range of genres across rock, jazz, electronic, country, classical, blues, many of whom are presenting original music.”

Carol Duncan, councillor of City of Newcastle said aside from  “(giving) us a great understanding of where we are” the census also would “help frame the work we need to do to ensure that our live music industry not just survives – but thrives into the future providing jobs, ongoing economic development and opportunity in creative industries.”

Former Screaming Jets guitarist Grant Walmsley congratulated the “concerted effort” by the local music industry, fans, and the local member to provide the comprehensive data.

Nikki Taylor, Newcastle rep of the Australian Hotels Association NSW said it was imperative to go back to the time “when our hotels, pubs and clubs were home to hundreds of live acts each and every week and it’s so important that we continue to honour and respect the soundtrack of our city.”

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