The Brag Media
News March 22, 2019

Unhappy Hour: Sydney venues plan final bid to sway NSW voters

Former Executive Editor
Unhappy Hour: Sydney venues plan final bid to sway NSW voters

In a move branded Unhappy Hour, about 34 Sydney bars will cease service and music at 6pm tonight (March 22) for five minutes, with more venues expected to participate.

The move is part of Unite for the Night, on the eve of the NSW elections, to draw voters’ attention to the future of Sydney’s night-time economy. 

The campaign is led by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) with members who operate over 100 venues that support their mission.

At 6pm, the lights go on, the music stops, and venue owners will take to their stages to chat with patrons about the challenges to the night time economy.

Among the 34 bars to participate are Oxford Art Factory, Rosie Campbell’s, The Royal Albert Surry Hills and Pocket Bar.

NTIA chair Michael Rodrigues declares, “This is our chance to do something positive with this election and start reviving Sydney’s nightlife.

“Festivals restrictions and lockout laws, have framed the debate so far, but it’s more than that; we’re looking at a $16 billion dollar opportunity and potential bigger vision for the night time of this city.”

In the meantime, a coalition of music industry associations has presented a report on which parties are most concerned about the state’s live music sector.

The group is made up of the Australian Festival Association, Live Performance Australia, Music NSW, APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office.

It went directly to select candidates, including those in some of the most marginal seats, and posed a number of questions to them:

  • What are you doing to support live festivals?
  • Have you or members of your family been to a music festival lately? 
  • What is your view of the new music festival regulations recently introduced by the government?
  • Would you support a disallowance of these regulations in the new parliament and ensure any future regulatory changes involve a properly structured industry consultation process be undertaken, which includes representatives of festival organisers and bodies?

The music associations reported: “We received positive responses from Labor, the Greens and Keep Sydney Open candidates who all stated their strong support for live music and music festivals, support for overturning the NSW government’s regulations, and a commitment to working collaboratively with the festival industry in future.

“Most Liberal or National party candidates did not respond, or restated the Government’s current position, with no commitment to engage with industry on our concerns.”

The music coalition reiterated it will work with whoever wins the election to ensure that the state “is not subject to such clumsy and rushed policy development again.

“The music industry deserves better.

“For a sector that touches the lives and enjoyment of millions across the state, generating millions in economic and tourism revenue, we have been appalled at the NSW government’s lack of consultation.”

The coalition’s #VoteMusic campaign had by yesterday reached 465,000 people across targeted city and regional electorates.

The campaign video was shared widely and viewed more than 218,000 times.


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