Music At The Railway Is BACK


Last night the Brunswick Blues Shooters played at the Railway Hotel at 800 Nicholson St North Fitzroy (near the old railway line that isn't there anymore).

It has been around 21 months since there has been live music at night at the Railway - it was brought to a horrible stop in Sep 2009 when license conditions saying the pub had to employ security guards when music played were enforced.

This was a peaceful pub with a peaceful crowd who enjoyed listening to blues and roots while having a meal and a chat, and maybe having a dance. Music ran on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Brunswick Blues Shooters had a residency on Thursday nights, so have lost around 80 gigs due to the licensing madness.

And now the Railway's licence has been fixed! The supposed 24 hr turnaround licence-fixing process only took several months, but it has happened.

A really nice thing about music at the Railway is that you can stand right next to the musicians if you want to, and watch them playing close-up. The steel guitar, for example, or the double bass - both part of the Brunswick Blues Shooters line-up.

So maybe drop in at the Railway on a Thursday night and have a drink and a meal and listen to some music. The food is traditional family Italian cooking, and it's great.

Cheers - Robin

Liberal Nationals Coalition

The Panics play at the Tote, at the SLAM anniversary gig, Feb 23.

It's only taken me about 5 months, but I've finally updated this site about the Coalition winning power last November. Perhaps I was depressed.

But I shouldn't be, because their policy is good for music. They haven't acted on any of it yet, but circumstances have been rather exceptional, with the floods here in Victoria.

I've started up a new page about the Coalition and their policy, find it here: Coalition.

I've also launched a new links page for 2011, and the couple of articles on it at the moment are worth reading - one is about the past year since the SLAM rally, and the other is about the Tote finally having its liquor licence updated - most people probably don't realise that the Tote has had the same licence conditions that drove the former owner out of business, since it re-opened, until now.

So all in all, there have been a lot of changes in attitudes of officials, and doors opened for negotiations, which are very valuable. And live music has been put firmly on the political agenda. But only 3 hotels have actually had their licence conditions changed since the SLAM rally - the George in Hamilton, the Lomond in East Brunswick, and now the Tote.

Lots of venues and potential venues are not hosting music because they would have to hire security guards. Acts starting out can't get gigs as easily on quiet nights. Let's hope the Baillieu government sticks to its promises and changes this situation.

~ Robin

Music Doesn't Make Us Violent Anymore!

Success! Today an agreement was signed by both the Victorian State Government and music representatives, that will see the end of live music being linked to violence in liquor licence conditions.

MANY THANKS to the hardworking, persistent and talented team from FairGo4LiveMusic, S.L.A.M. and Music Victoria (in no particular order) - your passion and determination has made this state a better place, in a very real way.

Read all about it here:
Breaking News: Live Music Proxy Removed mess+noise
Live music groups celebrate "historic" agreement with Victorian Government The Music network
A Thank You from Helen Marcou, SLAM…
The Agreement (pdf) on SLAM website

and here's the PRESS RELEASE from
S.L.A.M / FairGo4LiveMusic / Music Victoria

It’s official: “Live music does not cause violence”

We are pleased to announce that after eight months of intense negotiation SLAM, Fair Go 4 Live Music and Music Victoria have reached an agreement with the Victorian State Government.

It’s official: “Live music does not cause violence”. The inappropriate link between live music and alcohol- fuelled violence is dead! “The Government has acted to remove the link between live music performance at licensed premises and crowd controller licence conditions” is an extract from the Live Music Agreement signed today by Patrick Donovan (Music Victoria), Quincy McLean (SLAM), Jon Perring (FG4LM), Tony Robinson Minister for Consumer Affairs & Mark Brennan Director of Liquor Licensing.

The SLAM Rally marked a sea-change for the arts in Australia. It was the largest cultural protest in Australian history. For the first time, cultural policy became an election issue." Ben Eltham, AICV conference 2010

For the 20,000 lovers of live music who marched onto Parliament House on February 23rd 2010 and all the other supporters since, your voice has been heard. Today is an historic day. February 23rd was about calling for changes; today an agreement has been reached.

This will create a business environment where venues can put live music on, even take risks on edgy genres. This is really important for the live music scene and that it’s treated fairly by regulators.Jon Perring (FG4LM)

“The importance that the music of Victoria has to its community, industry, economy and its musicians has been officially recognised. The threat to the viability of our small venues has been stopped and our culture can be safeguarded. We believe all policy should be assessed by its impact on culture because through culture we truly live. Our cultural time is our community time; it is our celebration, our laughter and our mourning. Music is everywhere, let’s keep it that way.”
Quincy McLean (SLAM)

We would like to thank the Victorian State Government for hearing the voice of their community and working to a resolution with the Live Music Agreement, and we look forward to the active implementation of this agreement. Both the Liberal Party and Greens have policy relating to liquor licensing and Live Music befitting music’s universal cultural importance, for which we thank them.

Victoria’s Live Music community is now being recognised at a State and Local level with councils such as City of Yarra and City of Melbourne forming their Live Music Strategies. Our peak body, Music Victoria, has been established as an advocate for all sectors of the music community.

This decision recognises the wonderful contribution from Victoria’s passionate and thriving music community and cements our reputation as one of the live music capitals of the world. We thank those who made it happen and look forward to seeing the industry flourish in this new nurturing environment.Patrick Donovan, CEO Music Victoria

Live Music is now on the political agenda and should be nurtured and protected into the future. Thank you to everyone who made this a possibility.

- SLAM, FairGo4LiveMusic and Music Victoria

Good work, everyone.

A New Director!

Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our non-esteemed Director of Liquor Licensing Sue MacLellan has either been given the flick or wisely left of her own accord, at the end of her 5-year term, and we have a new Director, Mark Brennan.

He starts work tomorrow, Saturday May 8, according to the Government's press release. Which is here: Appointment of new Director of Liquor Licensing.

From reading the press release, it appears to me that Brennan has a solid background in dealing with and supporting small businesses, which is great, and music is high on the agenda, which is extra great. We'll see how the next couple of weeks unfold, I guess.

There will no doubt be quite a few articles written about this—I will keep collecting them in the Links section… see the May 2010 page.

Brennan's appointment is for 2 years—by 2 years’ time the amalgamation of Liquor Licensing with Gaming will be complete. (There was an article about this restructure in this week's Melbourne Times, #17, p14)

Live music 'not tied to violence'
It's not a long article, published in today's Age, but it packs a punch. It begins by saying Victoria Police and Melbourne City councillors have backed the music industry's view that live music does not lead to violence.

It has a few more very good points, including:
"Victoria Police's Senior Sergeant Michelle Young, who leads Melbourne's regional licensing unit, said most venues she worked with were well managed and co-operative. She did not believe there was a link between live music and violence."

Read it here: Live music 'not tied to violence'.

Till next time ~ Robin

Live Music Forum And Corrections

Tomorrow night Thursday May 6, Yarra Council are hosting a public forum The Future of Live Music at Fitzroy Town Hall, 6 - 8pm. You might like to go!

Here's what they say…

In response to the challenges facing live music venues, the City Of Yarra is hosting an open forum to discuss the issues facing Yarra’s vibrant live music community. The panel will feature a cross section of the music community including community radio, Fair Go 4 Live Music and Contemporary Music Victoria. Discussion will be moderated by Victoria Marles. Make your voice heard and help find a way forward to keep live music in Yarra rocking into the future.

WHEN: Thursday 6 May 2010, 6.00pm – 8.00pm
WHERE: Reading Room, Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy
CHAIR: Victoria Marles – CEO, Trust for Nature (former Legal Services Commissioner and former Chair of Circus Oz)

Adrian Basso – Community Radio (PBS)
Zvi Belling – Public Opinion Afro Orchestra
Cr Jane Garrett – Mayor, Yarra City Council
Liam Matthew – The Old Bar
Tim Northeast – Corner Hotel
Jon Perring – Fair Go 4 Live Music
Bruce Phillips – Director City Development, Yarra City Council
Kirsty Rivers – Music Victoria

Calendar event, May 6

Page corrections
I want to let you know about some corrections to information on this website. I've corrected two pages: Cafes and restaurants in the Licences section, and the Liquor licence fees page.

I make small corrections quite often, but these changes are fairly major, so if you have looked at these pages recently, you might want to check them out again.

If I have difficulty getting it right, I do wonder how owners of small hospitality businesses, who come from a broad range of backgrounds, are supposed to make sense of the maze of confusing information provided by the Government.

Sue MacLellan
Just letting you know there has been no public mention of any change to Liquor Licensing personnel… yet.

Cheers ~ Robin