As we head into 2012, there are several things on the horizon for the music industry, which will hopefully lead to lasting change. Looking around the country, as well as internationally, it’s an exciting start to the year.
SLAM Goes National
On 23rd February 2010, the SLAM rally saw 20,000 people march through Melbourne to the tune of AC/DC’s definitive ‘Long Way to the Top’, in protest against the Victorian Government’s bizarre and inaccurate policy link between live music and violence. Two years later, SLAM is taking their love of live music national, with events around the country to celebrate venues and the musicians that fill them.
Will Sydney be as vocal in it’s support for live music as Melbournites were on that day 2 years ago, which galvanized the city and ensured ongoing political and community support for live venues? With the Annandale Hotel hanging in the balance and a burgeoning warehouse, small bar and semi-legal venue scene, can NSW get behind it’s music scene to ensure the same type of support?
On Thursday 23rd February 2012, support your local artists and venues by getting out and experiencing the spontaneous excitement and intimacy you only get at a live music venue! Support a National SLAM Day event in your town – any style, any genre. It’s easy to get involved:
– Venues can register their gigs on the SLAM website and it’s free to sign up.
– Musicians can curate a National SLAM Day gig at their local venue.
– Gig-goers can celebrate live music and local musicians in their own neighbourhood.
– Community groups can host their own National SLAM Day gig.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the www.slamraly.org.au website for a list of gigs that will be happening all over the country!
UK Live Music Laws Pass in the House of Commons
Overseas, the UK has been battling a series of increasingly restrictive laws impacting live music venues and musicians themselves. In a recent coup, legislation has finally been passed to make it easier for small venues to host live music. John Wardle, the man behind Sydney’s POPE Reform has been keenly following the developments, writing that, “The bill affects venues with a capacity of fewer than 200 people, such as Liverpool’s Cavern Club (birthplace of the Beatles). Legislation which will make it easier for small venues to host live music has been cleared in the House of Commons.
The private member’s bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat Don Foster, will lift some of the bureaucracy imposed on gigs by the 2003 Licensing Act.
It means many venues will no longer need to pay for a license to host live music between 08:00 and 23:00.” He continues, “The changes will mean that a licence will no longer be required for unamplified live music taking place between 08:00 and 23:00, and for amplified live music taking place between the same times before audiences of no more than 200.”
In NSW, the change to these laws had an instant and wide reaching affect, with more than 50 new venues popping up in the year since POPE was repealed. How it stands to impact the live music scene in Britain is yet to be seen, however with draconian laws against live music being slowly revised and revisited both her and abroad, the world is starting to look a lot less like the first half of Footloose.
Drum Column January 2012 by Kirsty Brown