The inner-west Sydney suburb of Marrickville is looking to lend its support to live music, with a local council meeting taking place last night that sought to identify the problems and struggles of recently closed Sydney live music venues in a bid to reinvigorate the local music scene, including the suburb’s well-known penchant for hosting ‘illegal’ warehouse parties.

As The Music Network reported yesterday, Marrickville Council convened last night to discuss the range of illegally run warehouse venues in the suburb with a motion put forward to explore a way in which such venues can be ‘formalised’ through fire, safety, and accessibility requirements as part of doing its part for the recently proposed ‘live music hub’ on Parramatta Road.

An initiative of Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne in light of the Annandale Hotel’s ongoing saga, the development of a live entertainment precinct stretching between Taverner’s Hill and Sydney University has already been approved by local council in Leichhardt. Mayor Byrne calls the proposed music mecca  “a vision for Parramatta Road which will see it become for Sydney what Broadway and Tin Pan Alley have been to New York.”

Mayor Byrne has been liaising with NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and Marrickville’s Mayor Victor Macri in helping roll out plans for the live music hub, which was also part of Marrickville Council’s meeting agenda last night, put forward by Labor councillor JO Haylen, as The Music points out.

The proposed motion for last night’s meeting suggested that “Council undertakes research to understand reasons why legal venues… have closed down in recent months.” The motion specifically refers to the cases of Notes nightclub, which first closed its doors earlier this year, and the embattled Sandringham Hotel in NewtownMarrickville Council were then to discuss how to “assist with the development of programs and policies that could support the proposed Parramatta Road initiative.”

The research into the deceased venues would look at “economic sustainability, liquor licensing laws, BCA requirements, and accessibility requirements.” Marrickville Council were then to discuss how to “assist with the development of programs and policies that could support the proposed Parramatta Road initiative,” with Marrickville representativs working with Leichhardt Council to develop policies to support live music, including looking at extended trading hours, looser noise restriction policies, and licensing.

Speaking to The Music Network, MusicNSW’s Executive Officer Kirsty Brown said that “Marrickville Council putting the Parramatta Rd Live Music precinct motion on the table” was another “indication that the issue is being taken seriously… that a whole-of-government approach to creating a solution is just around the corner.” While adding, “it’s been great to see the various councils of Sydney working together in coordination around live music.”

Marrickville Council’s motion also looked at exploring why “alternative music venues such as Dirty Shirlows and Median,” popular warehouse venues located in the suburb’s industrial area, “were not able to meet the requirements to make the venues legal and permissible.” The aim being to develop a culture where warehouse raves and music functions in “fostering the live music industry,” reads the motion.

Marrickville’s Deputy Mayor Emanuel Tsardoulias commented to The Music yesterday that there needed to be a balance between fostering the alternative live music culture of warehouse parties, at venues like Dirty Shirlows and Median, while satisfying operators of ‘legal’ venues who seek approval through necessary council permits and regulations.

“I strongly support the warehouse stuff,” said Councillor Tsardoulias, “I think we need to look at both sides and come up with some sort of balance… as far as I’m concerned they’re a business.” “We need to allow live entertainment in local pubs and bring back the culture and make it viable for the venues.” – Marrickville Deputy Mayor Emanuel Tsardoulias

The Deputy Mayor also highlighted the council’s aim was to support the culture of live music in the area. “We need to allow live entertainment in local pubs and bring back the culture and make it viable for the venues,” he said. “There’s a lot of great entertainers out there who are limited to be venues they play, but also venues need to be sustainable. [If we can achieve this] it’s a win-win situation.”

Meanwhile MusicNSW’s Kirsty Brown also spruiked the suburb’s viability as a strong supporter of live music. “Marrickville is home to some of the best music venues in Sydney – and it’s once-thriving warehouse scene has been incredibly important in providing a platform for emerging, independent and experimental musicians to flourish,” she said.

“These warehouse spaces re-purposed unsightly industrial landscapes into an incredible underground scene that’s vital to the growth of the music industry, while providing space for independent collectives, artists and all manner of creative types to practice their art,” added Ms Brown.

“The pressures of gentrification on these spaces has been substantial, and they have been frequently overlooked for their contribution to the local arts and music culture that Marrickville is so proud of. MusicNSW will be following the results and hope to support Marrickville Council as they work towards fostering an environment of support for live music.”

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