In 2010, when Melbourne’s music venue the Tote Hotel was forced to shut down, it incited a public outcry that Crikey called the year’s ‘most significant event in cultural policy’. Why does this most popular of the performing arts seem always to be so under siege? Australia’s live music circuit has long been celebrated as one of the world’s best, but if places like the Tote keep closing down, where will the next Nick Cave, AC/DC or Paul Kelly come from?
Research shows that the venue-based industry has an annual output of $1.21 billion, creates 15,000 full-time jobs and draws audiences of over 41 million.
Clinton Walker takes Platform Papers deep into the nether regions of sticky carpet, dodgy house PAs and moshpit etiquette, to defend the cultural vitality being lost and calls for a change to the regulations that stand in the way of restoration. Is it not time, he asks, to bring this most popular form of music in from the cold?