Music Venues: Lockouts, Award Wins, Relaunches, Legal Stand-Offs

18 October 2023 | 3:32 pm | Christie Eliezer

Eight new places are supporting live music, a lockout in one capital city continues, and music meccas have been acknowledged in awards ceremonies.

Adelaide Festival Palais

Adelaide Festival Palais (Credit: Sia Du)

In our most recent round-up, there are eight new places supporting live music, a continued lockout in one capital city, a legal stoush, and music meccas being acknowledged in awards ceremonies in two states.

Hit For Clubs As Adelaide Lockouts Extended

Adelaide’s ten-year-old CBD’s 3 am lockout has been extended for another three years. Shots after 2 am are banned from sale after November 1, and the Adelaide Liquor Accord brought back.

South Australia’s liquor watchdog made it official last Thursday (October 12) following an eight-month consultation with pubs, hotels, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, as well as community groups.

It blamed rising violence and drunken troublemakers in the central business district. 

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Ravers will continue not be allowed to enter licensed venues between 3.01 am and 7 am.

After 2 am, there will be no advertising of “rapid consumption” or sale of alcoholic drinks similar to shots and shooters.

Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Dini Soulio wants to bring back the Adelaide Liquor Accord. It gathers venue operators, police, health, Adelaide City Council and community groups to address crime, policing and violence near late-night venues, how to get patrons to safely leave, and ensure enough taxis are available.

The new rules put venues on notice that metal detectors can only be operated by licensed security agents, Closed Circuit TV cameras have good enough technology to identify troublemakers, and “drink marshals” can step in when a patron is being abusive or visibly drunk.

Lizotte's Newcastle Sold

After 14 years of running one of NSW’s best music venues, Brian and Jo Lizotte announced that Lizotte's Newcastle has a new owner.

Jangling the keys from November 1 to the 115-year-old Morehead Street, Lambton building, are Wallsend cabaret entertainer Wayne Rogers and Rogers' business partner James Hingston.

Staff will be retained, said the Lizottes, who plan to spend more time with their grandchildren.

More Music At Royal Randwick Racecourse

The Australian Turf Club released plans to host more concerts and day-long festivals to attract more people to Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse precinct and “reinforce the reputation of the site as a world-class venue”.

The ten non-event dates a year also include community markets, art fairs, corporate functions and trade shows.

Plans to increase capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 are lodged with the Dept. of Planning. It has, in the past, hosted festivals such as Spring Loaded, Future Music and The Good Life.

“It will support the diversification of the Australian Turf Club business and revenue stream in response to challenging economic conditions as a result of the global pandemic,” it said in the plans.

Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie For Late 2024 Opening

Building developer Cedar Mill is looking at a late 2024 opening for its $235 million hub in Lake Macquarie. Plans are for 10 to 15 international and local concerts a year, with each drawing 20,000 to 30,000 to the 28-hectare property.

CEO Paul Lambess told the Newcastle Herald that the stage could be refigured for smaller events “for 3000 or 6000 or 8000 easily. You can have 3,000 people undercover and create another really unique experience. We've built it with that in mind."

Cedar Mill and recently collaborated on a study that found that music fans were heavily in favour of more music venues, especially in regional areas where patrons had to travel further and spend more money to see their live acts.

Cedar Mill Group is working on five other entertainment and tourism hubs in NSW and Victoria. The 20,000-capacity project in Pokolbin, NSW, is going through the State Government’s Significant Development Application process, with Lambess telling the Herald he is confident it will be approved early next year.

Eight Live Entertainment Venue Nominated 

Eight WA clubs are up for the Live Entertainment Venue Award in the 2023 Australian Hotels Association Hospitality Awards for Excellence.

Bremer Bay Resort

Finlay’s Kalbarri

Froth Craft Bunbrewery, Bunbury

Har Bar, Dunsborough

Milkbar – Civic Hotel, Inglewood

Subiaco Hotel

The Boat – The Marina Mindarie

The National Hotel, Fremantle

Nominated for the Late Night Venue Award were:

Exchange Hotel, Kalgoorlie

Market Grounds, Perth

Roebuck Bay Hotel, Broome

Subiaco Hotel

Universal Bar, Perth

Rectangular Stadium For Dandenong

Plans are being drawn for a 20,000-seat rectangular stadium in Dandenong, an hour out of Melbourne, for sports and music events.

Greater Dandenong is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country and the most multicultural, with 160 nationalities and 60% born overseas.

The argument is that the area badly needs sports and entertainment facilities, which could boost Melbourne's bid for global events.

It is expected the stadium would attract 465,000 people each year, bring $114 million to the region with tourist visits and create 444 jobs.

Waves & Yours and Owls Partner

Yours and Owls partnered with Towradgi Beach Hotel, five minutes from Wollongong’s centre,  to provide acts for its music venue Waves.

Waves offer two options: total capacity (1450) and half capacity (500) for local and touring artists of all genres. 

“Waves is very close to our heart,” says Yours and Owls co-founder Ben Tillman. “It hosted one of the first shows we ever promoted, so for us to be partnering with the hotel as their exclusive programmer is a full circle moment.”

World Bar Makes Return

Five years after it closed, Kings Cross Sydney nightclub World Bar makes a one-off return on November 18, utilising four floors of the Kings Cross Hotel and featuring its teapot cocktails.

Owner Steve Ward closed the bar in 2018, after 18 years, one of 418 venues that closed due to the infamous Sydney lockdowns.

Another Buy For Comiskey Group

Queensland’s Comiskey Group – which runs the Eatons Hill Hotel and Sandstone Point Hotel in the Moreton Bay region – has bought another venue that also showcases live music.

It is the Imperial Hotel in Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast for $20 million, which has a gin and vodka distillery on its half-hectare.

The group intends to activate its band room and increase its number of concerts, as well as add two new restaurants, a gaming room and a TAB.

The Comiskey family is also working on the Sunshine Coast’s largest music venue as part of the $35 million development in Stockland’s new Aura community estate near Caloundra.

Tasmanian Music Venues Win And Grin

Music venues were among those named winners before 700 hospitality executives at Tasmania’s Hospitality Awards at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.

Over 200 venues submitted a record 500 entries for 38 categories.

The Longley International won gold in the Best Live Music or Entertainment Venue (Pubs / Taverns), with Irish Murphy’s Hobart gaining silver and Republic Bar taking bronze.

The Best Live Music or Entertainment Venue (Large Capacity) was Wrest Point Hotel, with Country Club Tasmania and Tram Shed runners-up.

Long-Term Expansion For Marvel Stadium

While Melbourne’s 56,000-seat Marvel Stadium is going through rooftop bars and function rooms upgrades, the Australian Football League (AFL) executive Kylie Rogers told the Herald-Sun there were greater plans by the AFL and Melbourne City Council to make the venue the centre of an expanded Docklands precinct which would see it become a seven-day-a-week business.

“Marvel Stadium is set to be opened up to the water and land around the Melbourne Observation Wheel and Central Pier revamped to make Docklands more attractive to tourists, residents and workers”, the paper reported.

The Backroom Opens In Coffs Harbour

Broken Open Productions launched a new music venue in Coffs Harbour, NSW, The Backroom, within the Coffs Hotel.

Located in the old Winxx nightclub space, booker Billy Trembath said bookings were already full for the end of the year, with some sell-outs.

Casablanca Vs. Council

Surfers Paradises Casablanca, which opened in July, is in a “legal stand-off” with Gold Coast City Council, with one side accusing it of operating as a nightclub and the other insisting it runs as a hotel in accordance with the development approval.

Eureka Hotel Relaunches

Legendary Geelong, Victoria, live music venue the Eureka Hotel was relaunched by new owners Tom Ward and Ian Nichols. After taking over in July, the pair who already run Murphy’s in Geelong West installed a new d&b Audiotechnik P.A. system and five bars and split the 900-capacity West End room into two. 

One was branded the Eureka with live music, and Evie, a sophisticated nightclub upstairs with DJ booths and bottle service.