As a musician, I’m very lucky to live in Melbourne. This city is a vibrant cultural hub, with gigs of any genre happening across town every night of the week. From creaky dive bars on Brunswick Street to hip little bars in the CBD, you’ll always find something that you’ll enjoy in Melbourne. Whilst our music scene thrives because of the incredible quality of our nightlife, Sydney’s scene has been suffering and now, Queensland steps into the same direction. This is what worries me about the lockout laws in place in Sydney. So many amazing musicians have come out of Sydney, and it’s worrying to think that the nanny state laws in place have and will continue to restrict the creative freedom of up-and-coming artists.
I’d been thinking about the effect of these laws for a while, but the conversation really kicked off when I read the latest press release from Cassandra Wilkinson, FBi Radio co-founder and founder of Lazy Thinking Records. Wilkinson states, “Lazy Thinking exists because we believe in Sydney music. Not just because music is fun, not just because music is pretty, but because music changes lives and it changes the places people live them.” What really struck a chord with me, however, is the fact that Sydney is losing venues because of these laws. Flight Facilities also spoke about this in a letter they released on their Facebook page. In the letter, the band listed multiple venues which they played at whilst they were plying their trade in the Sydney scene. The venues they listed have now shut down as a result of the laws. “All of these places were vital puzzle pieces in building to where we are today”. It’s hard to comprehend that whilst all of this is going down in Sydney, the government and local councils in Melbourne are supporting live music more than ever before.
“The Australian music scene as a whole is producing some incredible music at the moment, and directly blocking creative freedom will discourage the next big thing from pursuing their musical dreams.”
Flight Facilities also get right to the root of the problem in their letter. The band speaks about how the NSW government has directly linked the issue of violence and alcohol with the nightlife in Sydney, and they hit the nail on the head with their point: violence is a character trait that is not caused by alcohol. If you’re an aggressive person, you will be aggressive regardless of whether you’re sober or had three beers. Melbourne is thriving and will continue to thrive because our government backs our nightlife, and they understand that it is essential they support the arts community as it contributes to what makes Melbourne special.
The NSW government needs to wake up and realise that they are destroying the music scene and nightlife in Sydney with these absurd laws. The Australian music scene as a whole is producing some incredible music at the moment, and directly blocking creative freedom will discourage the next big thing from pursuing their musical dreams.
If you feel strongly about this like I do, you can sign up to Keep Sydney Open.