Following the announcement that The Annandale Hotel in Sydney would be entering into receivership due to crippling ongoing financial struggles, telling a private farewell party that the owners would be handing the keys back to the bank, a statement came from owners Dan and Matt Rule in clearing the air about the future of the iconic live music venue.

The pub’s owners took to social media, urging punters that “the hotel is not closed and our goal is to work with the bank to ensure the live music will continue through this period.” Having met with the banks of Monday to assess their financial situation, the Rule brothers are now stepping away from the Annandale with the news that receivers have been appointed today.

As The Music reports, the storied music site has been appointed to receivers Ferrier Hodgson, who have indicated their intentions to keep the Annandale open as a live music venue. “Ferrier Hodgson have come into the Annandale today and they want to keep live music at the hotel,” said Dan Rule. “We are working with them to ensure that live music does stay at this iconic Sydney venue.”

Rule also added that “existing staff and bookers are staying on at the hotel, while in stepping aside we wish the venue all the best for the future and urge Sydney music fans to continue to support live music.” Band booker Mark Smithers also told The Music that while details were still being sorted, he emphasised that “everything’s looking positive,” in regards to the venue’s future. All future shows and gigs at the venue are scheduled to go ahead.

The departure of Dan and Matt Rule marks the end of an era for the brothers, who became the venue’s new proprietors when they purchased it in 2000, reversing its fortunes from a poke-lined beer barn and returning it to its former 80s glory as a live music institution, working hard to bring live music to the area.

“Ferrier Hodgson have come into the Annandale today and they want to keep live music at the hotel.” – Dan Rule

Sadly a nasty eight year long legal battle with Leichhardt Municipal Council over late-night trading and noise complaints, led to crippling debts and legal fess tallying more than $250,000, leading to the launch of the innovative buy-a-brick scheme in a last ditch effort to rescue the live music venue.

Musicians and locals rallied behind the cause, and after looking to sell the business for over a year, come February 2012 the Rule brothers removed the ominous ‘For Sale’ sign above the Annandale’s doors after raising over $50,000 in funding, managing to pump some much needed finances back in to the venue, while relations with council had improved.

Evidenced by the support of newly elected Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne, who was one of the first to come out in support of the Annandale Hotel after catching wind of it entering into receivership earlier this week.

Cr Byrne distanced himself from the ‘fun police’ tactics of prior Leichhardt council, and took to the press to state: “I for one will be doing everything I can to make sure that the Annandale remains a live music venue, including working urgently with the receivers.”

“We are working with them (Ferriers Hodgson) to ensure that live music does stay at this iconic Sydney venue.” – Dan Rule

“So many Australian artists have had their start playing at the Annandale; its loss would be a body blow to young performers across Sydney,” he said. “It is crucial that the Annandale remains a live music venue, we want rock-and-roll not residential development.”

If Cr Byrne can follow through on his efforts, he can go some way to helping new receivers Ferrier Hodgson deal with their latest appointment. The receivers were the same group that handled the Allans Billy Hyde collapse last year, and more pointedly, also handled the demise of fellow iconic Sydney venue, The Sandringham Hotel.

The Sando, as its better known, crumbled amidst a controversial closure mid-last year involving shady bank dealings, a terrible war of words, and several rallies. The site was then later sold to the owners of Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club for a newly expanded venue called the Newtown Social Club (a move that was apparently made by the banks without the Sando’s owner Tony Townsend’s knowledge or consent), marking a devastating blow for Sydney’s music culture.

Liechhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne has noted that the difficulties experienced by both The Sando and now The Annandale reflect serious problems within the local music scene.

To that end Mayor Byrne said he would be seeking to reform Council planning in line with encouraging live music, not hindering it. “Local Government must promote, not prosecute, live music venues. This is real action – working with licensees, agents and promoters to establish a united front to bring productive change to Council policies so we can be more supportive of live music.”

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