This week the City of Sydney Council considered the Live Music Matters Action Plan put forward my the Live Music Task Force last year, and the council have unanimously decided to endorse 57 of the report’s recommendations pushed through by Lord Mayor Clover Moore. The action plan was assessed by Sydney City Council’s Cultural & Community Committee.
The report was pieced together at the tail end of last year by NSW’s Live Music and Performance Taskforce, which was set up in December 2012 by the City of Sydney. Dr Ianto Ware, co-director of the National Live Music Office, described the report and it’s recommendations as ”the first serious attempt to actually fix the labyrinth of red tape affecting music and arts venues.”
The key recommendations outlined in the Live Music Matters action plan include:
• Simplifying the approval process for low impact live music and performances.
• Providing financial help for infrastructure and capital costs to encourage new and existing venues to present live music and performance.
• Using indoor and outdoor City properties as live music and performance venues by improving sound, lighting and seating.
• Making City-owned community properties available as rehearsal space.
• Working with neighbouring councils and the NSW Government to establish a new major outdoor event space for the Sydney area.
• Creating the role of a City of Sydney live music and performance liaison officer.
• Exploring changes to the liquor freeze for venues that have live music and entertainment as their primary purpose.
• Setting new sound proofing standards for new residential developments.
• Amending parking rules so musicians and performers can unload equipment regardless of vehicle type.
• Meeting the increased demand from young people for live music by increasing the frequency of all ages events.
• Finding better ways to deal with complaints from neighbours including mediation.
• A formal mediation policy to be set up to offer free independent and confidential mediation for resolving noise complaints.
• Developing information guides that provide specific information on the processes for setting up temporary and permanent venues in the City of Sydney.
• Hosting a public symposium next year in partnership with the National Live Music Office to investigate compliance and affordability issues in small and medium size venues.
• Undertaking research into design and construction standards to reduce low frequency or bass noise in residential buildings and advocating to the Australian Building Codes Board for an Australian standard.
• Ensuring City staff who take enforcement action against live music venues are experienced and trained to assess and determine offensive noise.
• Working with other agencies to gather data on alcohol consumption and behaviour in live music and performance venues.
• Coordinating administrative approval processes with the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing to make it easier to establish venues.
• Conducting annual surveys of venue operators to understand their experience dealing with the City of Sydney.
• Working with the Department of Immigration and promoters to develop new models to help international visiting artists play with local musicians.
On April 7 Sydney councillors will meet privately regarding the 57 recommendations and will then put out a business paper outlining a five-year plan for live music in Sydney. The paper is due to be released publicly on April 10, 2014.