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.

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

Funniest. Speech. Ever.

I’m not sure whether it's comedy or tragedy, but either way you MUST read about the speech made by the ALP's Matt Viney, in Parliament.

We got the lowdown on how he knows there are problems at live music venues, because FORTY YEARS AGO he went to a Spectrum concert and saw—nudge, nudge—people passing around a BIG CIGARETTE! For more about the speech, plus the speech itself, look here: Matt Viney's petition speech.

Then there's the Best Speech Ever, given by Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik after she presented the Live Music Petition to Parliament. Look here: Petition speech by Sue Pennicuik. Sue's onto it.

In fact I've created a whole new section on the Greens on this website, find it here: The Greens.

The FairGo4Live Music petition was handed to Parliament recently, hence the above speeches. I’ve done a page about it: Live music petition

Roll-back continues (slowly)
Last Friday we had the very good news The Lomond Hotel in East Brunswick had its "high risk" conditions more-or-less rolled back. They still have to provide security guards if there is "entertainment" after 12.30am, but that's not a problem because their music is over by then.

But what is "entertainment" supposed to mean, and are other venues going to have "music" changed to "entertainment" on their licence conditions?

What about stand-up comics, or maybe mime artists… will these be requiring security guards in the near future?

Maybe as well as S.L.A.M. we'll be seeing some new groups joining the campaign, like…

S.L.A.C. Save Live Australian Comedy
S.L.A.T.N. Save Live Australian Trivia Nights
S.L.A.P.R. Save Live Australian Poetry Readings
S.L.A.M.A. Save Live Australian Mime Artists

I'll stop right here, and hopefully this is just a little rant and common sense will prevail.

Kate's article
In a busy week for the campaign, there was also Kate Shaw's article published in The Age, 15/4. It's well worth a read—find it here: Music venues still threatened as Tote lesson not learnt

Cheers ~ Robin

Easter News

photo © Carbie Warbie

Yesterday a group of musicians spanning many generations handed Greens arts spokeswoman Sue Pennicuik a petition signed by 22,000 people, which asks the Government to remove the link between live music and high-risk liquor licence conditions.

Ms Pennicuik (the other Sue) will present it to the Parliament next week.

Here's the press release from S.L.A.M and Fair Go 4 Live Music:

Over 20,000 Victorians demand that ‘high-risk’ conditions be de-linked from live music.
12.30pm Parliament House, Melbourne

Since the closure of The Tote Hotel in mid-January, the Fair Go 4 Live Music petition has been collecting signatures from music lovers all around Victoria, calling on the State Government to overturn the link between live music and ‘high risk’ conditions on liquor licenses for live music venues.

Melbourne’s musicians and music lovers marched through the city streets for the SLAM Rally on February 23rd and it’s time to return to the steps of Parliament with the delivery of the petition to the Legislative Council on Wednesday April 7th 2010 by various decades of well-known Victorian musicians.

The Victorian musicians who will be presenting the Fair Go 4 Live Music petition to Parliament are:

1930s – Harold Frith
1940s – Mike Rudd
1940s – Ross Wilson
1960s – Jon Von Goes
1960s – Clare Bowditch
1970s – Kram
1970s – Angie Hart
1980s – Dan Sultan
1980s – Evelyn Morris

Despite the signing of the Live Music Accord with the State Government, the link between live music and ‘high risk’ still exists. More disturbingly, no venues have had their high risk conditions removed since the signing of the Accord. The music industry and the public want to see real action on this issue. We want action, not just Accords. The threat to Victoria’s vibrant live music culture remains in place.

The 22,000 signatures attest to the public support of live music. SLAM, FG4LM and Music Victoria will redouble their efforts to bring this issue to the attention of the public.

SLAM petition makes it to Parliament - story on triple j
Musos take fight to Parliament - The Age

Remove Sue MacLellan campaign
At the end of March I put up a new page on this website… Remove Sue campaign.

There has now been word the Government are restructuring arrangements for liquor licensing, but it's still possible MacLellan may remain in her role for another year, and every week that goes by with her in charge, more damage is done to music venues and the music industry. Please consider campaigning in some way to make sure she is removed from her position as soon as possible.

New Facebook page
I've now set up a Facebook page… Music Doesn't Make You Violent, to help publicise this website and the issues. Please fan yourself!

Articles and letters
I've also added an Articles and letters section to the website, primarily for writing not published elsewhere online. There's one article so far, by the Reverend Canon John Fowler, about how our pubs are essential training grounds for musicians: Pubs Give ‘Live’ Line to Local Bands.

Please drop me a line if you would like me to publish an article or letter for you.

More articles
Two other great articles have appeared. One is Labor's HOT Seats can save Live Music's Universities, by Martin Cooper. It includes a moving description of a music session at the Lomond Hotel, where both kids and adults learned from experienced musos.

The other is in the March AudioTechnolgy magazine (no 73), page 32: Live music shall overcome… someday. It concludes by saying to sound engineers: "Remember, it's very difficult to master the art of a live mix if there are no venues to practise in".

That's it for now

Cheers - Robin

Rally, Accord & Greens

Photo by Joe Armao

I'm starting to wish I wasn't doing this website… it's getting depressing, and I naively didn't think the issues would last this long.

The situation is so ridiculous that Blind Freddy can see the problems (no offence to blind people), and so easily fixed that one could be forgiven for assuming this would happen quickly.

In case you are new to this issue, two folk singers playing in the afternoon now requires the hiring of expensive security guards at many hotels and bars, even with a very small audience, and this expense simply stops the music.


This can be fixed with a stroke of the pen by the Director Of Liquor Licensing, Sue MacLellan, because she can change the regulations at any time. Legally, they are in place at her discretion.

Rally and accord
The rally was great—see the SLAM website and the new official SLAM Facebook page SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) for videos and photos.

However, most of the media reports straight after said it was a win for music, because music representatives and Government signed an accord the day before, yet for the venues, musicians and audiences sadly affected by all this, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

My new page about the accord is here: Live Music Accord

Photo: Original Bagpipe player from the classic AC/DC music video of "It’s A Long Way To The Top" - by Carbie ©

The Greens
I'm beginning to think The Greens might be our only salvation. They support common-sense changing of the regulations, and threaten, I think, three ALP-held seats in the election at the end of the year.

Please don't believe the nonsense that they voted against music when they didn't support a poorly-worded Liberal motion in January—it just ain't true.

Read all about it on my new page: The Greens. (And I just want to say here I haven't been involved with The Greens in any way.)

Greens MLC Greg Barber looking out for music, 23/2.

Till the next time ~ Robin