Brisbane’s live music scene has slammed Queensland’s new lockout laws, which it was confirmed yesterday will soon be signed into legislation. Venue owners and musicians are saying the new laws will strike a significant blow to Brisbane’s vibrant music community.

As Tone Deaf reported yesterday, after striking a deal which ensured crossbench support, the Queensland government is set to impose 2am last drinks (3am for designated entertainment precincts) and 1am lockouts on pubs and clubs in certain areas of Brisbane.

The laws, which are harsher than the Sydney lockouts which have severely affected business in places like Kings Cross, will take effect in areas like Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, where many of the city’s small and mid-size music venues are situated.

“Most live music venues open as a bar, a normal bar, between midnight and 3:00am or midnight and 5:00am on Friday and Saturday nights. Those three hours are when we make most of our money for the week,” Dominic Miller, musician and booker for several Brisbane music venues told ABC News.

“It allows us to subsidise those gigs that may only get 100, 200, 300 people on a Wednesday or Thursday night.” Miller said the new laws will ensure the next big Australian success story will not come from Brisbane as all the bands will have moved.

“If there’s no gigs, the bands are going to move… or they are just not going to make that next level in the first place, and we will miss out on those great exports that we have at the moment, bands like Violent Soho.”

Miller said that before finding international success, acts like Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala both failed to sell out mid-week shows at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge. “Either they will go somewhere else, or they will break up before they get a chance,” Miller added.

Meanwhile, QMusic’s Joel Edmondson said the organisation was “immensely disappointed” with news of the lockouts. “About 70 percent of an artist’s income is derived from live performance because of the state of recorded music sales in the world now,” he said.

They say good help is hard to find :(

Posted by The Brightside onWednesday, February 17, 2016

“What’s happened in Kings Cross [with the closure of venues], there’s really absolutely no reason that’s not going to happen here, particularly in the Valley.” Indeed, unlike Sydney, where a the majority of venues exist outside of lockout zones, a great number of Brisbane’s venues are situated in the Fortitude Valley.

“It’s less likely that a band … will rise up, and if they do, it’s going to happen in Melbourne after they’ve moved there because they are going to have somewhere to play,” Edmondson added.

Brisbane venue The Brightside has already mobilised on social media, announcing a ‘Last Party Before The Lockouts’. “Does anyone know of any work going in our local Casino’s [sic]? I’m asking for 6000 friends,” the venue wrote on Facebook, a reference to casinos being exempt from the lockouts.

“These laws are the ultimate red herring, distracting us from the fact that they are unlikely to have any direct impact on violence,” venue owner Jesse Barbera told FasterLouder. “These laws are about political compromise, they are about the Labor Party being seen to be ‘doing something’.”

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“But do not mistake their desperation to pass these laws as having anything to do with the public good, safety or health or their constituents, it was about saving their own skin.” Barbera said the lockouts mean the inevitable closure of Brisbane venues.

“[Lockouts] means venues closing because they do not have the foot traffic to support their business in The Valley – we’ve seen this happen Sydney’s Kings Cross,” he told FL.

“If venues close it means less infrastructure to support up and coming and established bands, it means the loss of key social hubs in the community where like minded people meet and bond and form bands.”

“It means that a fragile arts community loses a few parts to the puzzle and that is enough to collapse the ecosystem.” However, despite the criticism and horror stories from NSW, it appears the QLD government is looking forward to the rollout of the lockout laws.

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