The year 2014 hasn’t exactly taken successful flight thus far within the industry. Agreed, we’ve been blessed over the past few months with an incredible cocktail of touring talent both home-grown and abroad, however, a few persistent issues surrounding Australia’s live music scene have taken centre-stage.
Our live performance scene has been plagued with the on-going and growing crisis of the ‘large scale festival’. Tickets aren’t selling, causing such Australian classic road shows such as The Big Day Out to cull Perth from their future-touring calendar.
Artists have fallen like flies from festival line-ups, Blur and DIIV from The Big Day Out emphatic examples.
The once impenetrable juggernaut Soundwave continues to suffer, having lost Sevendust, The Stone Temple Pilots and most recent wounds, Megadeth mere weeks before the national tour commences.
Australia’s live music venues have also been under a difficult climate both on and off the stage. Sydney took an unprecedented beating with a harsh lockout introduced as a bid to rid the CBD and Kings Cross ‘entertainment precinct’ of alcohol-fuelled violence.
So it goes, it is now Melbourne’s turn to face the music, or lack thereof, as the historic Collingwood Venue ‘The Barley Corn Hotel’ of Johnston St hangs its head as its doors close for a final time.
Having operated for some 140 years, the Hotel is remembered by many as a “we played our first gig there” type venue, and its closure stings as a sentimental loss to Melbourne’s live music scene.
Despite earlier laid-out plans to cosmetically make-over the Collingwood venue, The Music reports The Barley Corn Hotel will be transformed into accommodation as the owners decided it was a more ‘sustainable financial option’.
In addition to this, co-owner Jesse Pascoe told Fairfax “due to a combination of problems with council … it was too hard to fight an uphill battle. I can’t put into words the love and plans we had for the place and it was all crushed.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the only loss for Melbourne music lovers this year, with The Great Britain Hotel in Richmond set to close at the end of June.
The Church St venue’s current publicans Chris and Penny Hodges took to the Hotel’s Facebook page to confirm after 18 years of operation, the pair had failed to renew any lease agreements post-June of this year.
Chris Hodges could not confirm the future for the beloved cosy-couched venue after their lease expires, telling fans “while it appears that the new owners are some way from commencing their redevelopment we are unsure what the immediate future holds for the pub once we have moved on.”
The Great Britain Hotel’s days are numbered with the curtains set to close a for the final time in June; so make sure you get down for a pint of the infamous house beer ‘Piss’ and have your last hurrah.
Melbourne’s double-loss sadly notes as another statistic in the ever-growing list of live music venues within Australia that have closed over the past few months.
Despite live music fans raising their hands in jubilation from the shock Victorian Government ‘Agent of Change’ planning principle to protect venues from noise-complaints as well as the saving-grace of Melbourne’s The Palace Theatre, it appears Australia is still losing local artists’ first and frequent performing platforms at an unhealthy rate.