More on Melbourne Music Scene

by | 25 Sep, 2009 | 1 comment

Here is another note from Dave Stevens of Pure Pop Records about the impact of the change to licensing regulations in

As advocates of live music in Melbourne, we thought it wise to send you a note regarding a recent change to licensing and live music regulations that has slipped a little under the radar in the last month. We’d love it if you could spend a couple of minutes reading about this situation and lend your support to the cause.

It’s come to our attention thanks to a letter from 3RRR Stalwart Johnnie Von Goes, that a recent change in liquor licensing laws in Victoria has become a genuine threat to live music in this city. Of course it seems that a threat to live music in Melbourne arises every couple of years. 3am Lockouts and gentrification of our glorious inner suburbs cause a reasonable amount of media hooplah but it’s certainly worrying that these latest changes are happening with barely a whimper.

In the past few weeks small pubs and licensed premises around town have had visits from Consumer Affairs in attempt to curb alcohol related violence. These pubs have been told they must provide security guards if they are going have live music, any sort of live music, any size crowd.

A security guard gets paid around $250 per shift. Bands in small pubs these days don’t get much more than a rider and a meal. It’s not hard to do the maths. At least one pub has already stopped hosting live music and it seems a matter of time before a whole lot more will be forced to follow suit.

This problem extends further. A Bazooki player in your local Greek tavern will require the venue to hire security. That means we’ll need a security guard to watch over 4 families eating the mixed grill and greek salad. Blues at The Rainbow Hotel to 15 people on a Tuesday night will require security. We’re talking jazz, rock, punk, afro-beat, dub, reggae, lounge, abstract pointillism, folk and classical music. We’re talking open mic nights in front of friends and family. These places don’t attract violence or large crowds. Although we agree there is a need to stamp out alcohol fuelled violence, taken to this level, it’s ridiculous. Clearly there’s a need within the policy to differentiate between large venues with the potential for violence and small venues that will be adversely and unfairly affected by these regulations.

So, you get the picture. The healthy cultural life of a city requires grass roots artists to be embraced and nurtured. The real possibility of small venues losing live music forever will impact the development of emerging artists as well as those playing niche and culturally diverse genres. The effect will be felt throughout the music community.

Please feel free to forward this email to other interested parties. Dave Stevens, Pure Pop Records, 221 Barkly Street, St Kilda Vic 3182.

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    Indeed one of our local pubs in Warragul stopped hosting an open mike on a Sunday afternoon for those reasons.