More than 300 people gathered for the first Perth Venue Action Meeting at The Bakery in Northbridge last Monday to discuss the closures of various live music venues.
Life is Noise director Dave Cutbush spoke about the lack of small to medium sized art and music spaces, especially in light of inner city venues Deville’s Pad, YaYa’s and The Bakery closing down.
‘We can all sit back and say another venue shut down, how sad, but I think we need to do something about it,’ Mr Cutbush said.
‘We want the Government of Western Australia to help us find a medium sized venue central to the city and work with us to fund and run it.’
But Andrew Ryan, from Cool Perth Nights, which owns 50 per cent of Mojos Bar, said he did not see a venue crisis.
‘We will continue to see more venues come and more go,’ Mr Ryan said
‘It’s kind of up to you guys in terms of what the situation is; everybody in the room has the ability to improve it.
‘Go to more shows, write letters to the powers that be.
‘My experience with commercial venues, Mojos and Rosemount, during the month of Fringe Festival is they all lose money and if there was a government-funded building all year round, I fear what they would do to the commercial sector.’
WA Music chief Mike Harris suggested the government relax requirements needed to set up a small bar or venue rather than subsidise it.
‘I don’t think they should do that because it’s the death of the commercial sector,’ Mr Harris said.
‘What government can perhaps do is find the space and then put it out for a venue to be run commercially.’
Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said he acknowledged the importance of the live music sector, and the cultural and economic benefits it provided to the state.
‘I understand that a number of options were discussed at the meeting on Monday evening,’ Mr Day said.
‘However no proposals have been submitted to the government for investigation.
‘If the industry believes the current funding directed to support the sector could be allocated differently, I’m happy to receive any proposals.’
ARIA awarded singer-songwriter Abbe May said whatever the solution, might be people needed to support the local industry and up-and-coming musicians.
‘Every artist I know who is now making a living out of it started at some place like the Hydey (Hyde Park Hotel) and graduated to a place like The Bakery and moved on if they got bigger,’ she said.