Following this morning’s news that Melbourne’s The Empress had suddenly closed its doors and cancelled gigs, there’s more worrying signs for live music up north with reports that the Annandale Hotel has abruptly announced a temporary closure.
The legendary Sydney pub will close next week for renovations, affecting all gigs currently booked at the venue – including from local artists and international touring bands – with promoters encouraged to find alternate hosts for their shows, as TheMusic reports.
A post on the Annandale Hotel Facebook page says that the Future Of The Left show “on Fri 3rd Jan has had to be moved to The Factory Theatre, tickets will still be valid for the new venue.” Ken Stringfellow’s scheduled show for January at the venue has been cancelled, according to a publicist for the Australian Tour.
The show from San Francisco post-metal group Deafheaven at the Annandale has also been relocated, to the Oxford Art Factory on 9th January instead, with all tickets still valid for the new show.
The Smith Street Band also took to their social media to alert fans that their two shows at the Annandale in March, 2014 – as part of their co-headline tour with US punks The Menzingers – had been moved to The Lair at Sydney’s Metro. “It’s with a heavy heart that we let you know that our shows with The Menzingers in March will no longer be at the Annandale Hotel,” write the band. “The new owners have cancelled all upcoming shows.”
Other forthcoming gigs at the Annandale, including tomorrow night’s Kiara Jack & The Jills gig, have been encouraged to investigate over venues for bookings – including The Bald Faced Stag, the Oxford Art Factory, The Standard and The Factory Floor at the Factory Theatre, while the January/February gigs have been cleared from the schedule. There is no word on the status of shows from The Locust, and Blessthefall.
It’s not the first time that gigs have been moved because of a temporary closure at the venue, back in August the Annandale Hotel closed its doors owing to “building construction” before it was handed over to new owners, the Oscars Hotel Group, who officially took over the venue in September, even re-instating former owners Matt and Dan Rule as bookers at the pub.
Oscars first purchased the Annandale in May following it controversially entering into receivership in February, emphasising their intentions to maintain the hotel’s legacy as a live music venue, aligning with the wishes of Lecihhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne, who had been campaigning hard for the live music venue in the last year. “It’s with a heavy heart that we let you know that our shows… will no longer be at the Annandale Hotel. The new owners have cancelled all upcoming shows.” – The Smith Street Band
“We’ll be continuing live music until the end of the year at least,” said Oscars Hotel Group General Manager Damien Cameron in September. “The venue’s got a name for live music and we’ll be giving it a red hot go.”
But the current closure for renovations has thrown a question mark over the Annandale Hotel’s future as a live music venue.
Mayor Byrne also helped push Oscars into upholding the live music venue, “just in time for the Parramatta Road live music zone to come into effect and give them a financial incentive to keep going,” he said in September, referencing his and fellow Sydney councils‘ unanimously passing on motions to form and develop a live music precinct that runs along Parramatta Road, from Petersham to Sydney University, with Annandale forming the crux of the cultural hub.
Though Mayor Byrne hope to have the precinct established by the end of 2013, it looks like it has been delayed for the time-being.
However, Sydney City Council revealed its “groundbreaking” plan to revitalise the city’s ailing live music scene last month, offering hope for the live music scene in the NSW capital and gaining the support of many local musicians.
Developed by the 11-person strong Sydney Live Music Taskforce (that was set up in December last year) and presented by Lord Mayor Clover Moore, the 74 page Live Music Matters report (available to read in full here) offers 57 key recommendations to help foster the city’s live music scene.
Recommendations include mediation between venues and the noise complaints of inner-city residents, making approvals easier for licensees, offering the use of council properties for performance, soundproofing for residential developments, and more.