Marrickville Council Votes YES! - MusicNSW

In a victory for music campaigners, Marrickville Council have made their first steps towards supporting the movement towards boosting Sydney’s live music scene through a Motion which was passed this week.

The Motion passed states the following:

  1. making Parramatta Road a live music and cultural hub has the potential to revitalise the industry and rejuvenate an urban wasteland through the introduction of a vibrant late night economy;
  2. Parramatta Road’s proximity to the CBD and status as a public transport artery, with limited existing residential frontages make Parramatta Road the ideal location for Sydney’s first live music cultural precinct; and
  3. Parramatta Road from Sydney University through Leichhardt already has a number of longstanding live music venues, a theatre and comedy club as well as ancillary businesses such as musical instrument retailers, repair shops, teaching and recording studios

The Council resolves to:

  • work with Leichhardt Council and the City of Sydney to investigate what policies and programs can be implemented to support the development of the section of Parramatta Road between Sydney University and Taverner’s Hill as a live music and cultural precinct, to nurture live music, comedy and theatre, small bars, and ancillary music industry businesses.
  • Investigate the establishment of a live music development control plan for Parramatta Road and other suitable areas of the Marrickville LGA which would provide planning incentives and protections for live music and performance venues potentially including:


  1. A requirement for appropriate sound insulation of new residential and commercial developments;
  2. Increased allowances for noise from live music and performance venues;
  3. extended trading hours for licensed premises; and
  4. an expedited approval process for applications and possibly rates concessions for new music venues.
  • work with the Minister for Planning, the Lord Mayor of Sydney and the Mayor of Leichhardt and the Chair of the City of Sydney live music taskforce in developing this draft policy and develop and implement a full community consultation process to keep local residents, musicians and venues informed and engaged in these plans and policies;
  •  liaise with Brisbane City Council to incorporate successful elements of the development control plan governing the Fortitude Valley precinct; and work with individuals and collectives using warehouse spaces in Marrickville as creative spaces on how to acquire the appropriate approvals.

Marrickville Councillor Brooks has described last night’s decision as a “victory for community campaigners for live music’”

During the council meet, The Greens moved to amend the original motion presented in order to ensure the expertise of local artists and venues was included, as well as other potential music precincts in the Marrickville area which were included in the scope of the resolution.

Councillor Brooks commented –  “live music advocates in our community have some really valuable experience and knowledge, and we should be taking advantage of their generous offers to assist council”.

“Marrickville already has a vibrant artist-run scene in reclaimed industrial buildings, and I was pleased to move that artists and venues from Marrickville’s DIY scene be brought in from the cold.” She added “Artists running their own venues have had real challenges dealing with councils in the past. We should be thinking about how to support those venues and those artists.”

MusicNSW fully supports the motion. Executive Officer Kirsty Brown spoke to The Music Network yesterday on the issue:

“It’s been great to see the various councils of Sydney working together in coordination around live music, and Marrickville Council putting the Parramatta Rd Live Music precinct motion on the table tonight is another indication that the issue is being taken seriously and that a whole-of-government approach to creating a solution is just around the corner.

“Marrickville is home to some of the best music venues in Sydney- and it’s once-thriving warehouse scene has been incredibly important in providing a platform for emerging, independent and experimental musicians to flourish. While we are excited to see the Parramatta Rd item on the agenda, we urge Marrickville Council to pursue research into the costs, regulatory restrictions and accessibility requirements that lead to Dirty Shirlows and Median folding this year, and to continue fostering one of Sydney’s most vibrant creative communities. These warehouse spaces re-purposed unsightly industrial landscapes into an incredible underground scene that’s vital to the growth of the music industry, while providing space for independent collectives, artists and all manner of creative types to practice their art.

“The pressures of gentrification on these spaces has been substantial, and they have been frequently overlooked for their contribution to the local arts and music culture that Marrickville is so proud of. MusicNSW will be following the results and hope to support Marrickville Council as they work towards fostering an environment of support for live music.”

Council officers made the following comments on the original proposal:

“It is suggested that Council undertakes research to understand reasons why legal venues such as Notes Enmore, The Sando Newtown have closed down in recent months. This research should include factors such as economic sustainability, liquor licensing laws, BCA requirements and accessibility requirements. Once the above constraints have been identified, it will assist with the development of programs and policies that could support the proposed Parramatta Road initiative.

It is also suggested that further research take place to understand why alternative music venues such as Dirty Shirlows and Median (both located in the industrial parts of Marrickville) were not able to meet the requirements to make the venues legal and permissible. Informal feedback indicates that the fire, safety and accessibility requirements expected of the venues make it financially unsustainable for small business owners to open and operate a music venue legally. This research could be used to inform the development of Council’s role in fostering the live music industry.”

We will keep you updated on any future developments.