Three years ago a group of independent and impassioned, non-politically aligned music lovers came together to form a volunteer run, self-funded collective called Save Live Australia’s Music, or SLAM for short.
Sadly for Melbourne, the introduction of Victoria’s Liquor Licensing polices in 2010 unjustly linked live music to ‘high risk’ activities such as violence. This fueled the SLAM collective to lead the largest cultural protest in Australia’s history. The SLAM Rally was a collection of 20, 000 people walking through the streets of Melbourne in protest of the new liquor licensing laws and the Government’s lack of interest in Australia’s live music scene in general.
SLAM have been successful in propelling real change for our country’s live music scene by fighting for this misconception to be corrected. SLAM representatives, the Fair Go 4 Live Music (FG4LM) lobby group, and our friends at Music Victoria spent several months working on the Live Music Agreement which led to an official announcement that live music does not cause violence. Thus, SLAM were instrumental in introducing a new law to Victoria in December 2011 which determined that live music would finally be recognized in the Objects of Liquor Licensing Act.
The offshoot effect of SLAMs actions have resulted in an increasing number of sustainable and culture shaping changes across Australia. In the last 48 months alone, The City of Sydney established their own live music task force (which met for the first time last Friday), South Australia announced an official Action Plan for boosting live music within the City of Adelaide, which came in addition to introducing new small bar laws, and more recently the Federal Government appointed the country’s first ever National Live Music Coordinator for Sounds Australia-Dr Ianto Ware.
2012 saw the SLAM’s rally evolve into a nationwide campaign, with thousands of musicians and punters participating in the inaugural National SLAM Day on February 23rd 2012. More importantly, over a hundred small live music venues registered a National SLAM Day gig in support and celebratation of keeping live music alive in NSW.
This year marks the second annual National SLAM day, falling on February 23rd, 2013. To date, over 50 venues across the state have jumped on board for National SLAM Day including venues like The Annandale, Goodgod Small Club, The Basement, FBi Social, Oxford Art Factory, The Standard, The Red Rattler, Venue 505, The Clarendon and many many more.
If you’re small venue owner or booker and you would like to join the long list of venues in showing your support for our states live music scene, then we encourage you to register a gig. It’s free and only a quick and easy registration form to sign up. Head to www.slamrally.org/register to add your name to the list.
For those of us who aren’t venues – get onto the website, www.slamrally.org, to find out where your closest SLAM Day gig is – and be a part of this movement that SLAM inspires and advocates for – let’s Save Live Australia’s Music scene!
Drum Column written by MusicNSW’s Scarlett Di Maio