Venues: A Step Towards Surfers’ Music Hall, Noise Caps, Closures, Fines & More

9 November 2023 | 4:47 pm | Christie Eliezer

The City of Gold Coast took one more step towards its proposal to convert the city-owned Surfers Paradise Transit Centre bus stop into an entertainment hub.

Burleigh Bazaar

Burleigh Bazaar (Source: Burleigh Bazaar)

One Step Closer To Surfers’ The Music Hall

The City of Gold Coast took one more step towards its proposal to convert the city-owned Surfers Paradise Transit Centre bus stop into an entertainment hub tentatively titled The Music Hall.

The $200,000 design was unveiled to council behind closed doors, with the plan to have it up by 2025. The cost is still in the vault but sources have suggested it could be between $50 million and $75 million.

The Town Hall-style building would hold 2,800 fans (2,200 standing in the main hall), with a wrap-around mezzanine balcony with a standing room for 400, and 200 tiered seats at the back. There will be outdoor concerts and events in the “music garden” and a laneway to accommodate “thousands”.

Aside from gigs, there will also be cabaret shows, banquets and other corporate events, “while also creating ancillary spaces that could be established for art workshops, music studios, education, civic events and community focused co-working spaces.”

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Burleigh Bazaar Closing…

The Gold Coast is losing a 1,200-capacity live music venue after December. The Burleigh Bazaar on Junction Road has been hosting gigs for five years. Owner Michael Salay admitted gigs had been hard going, and sold the 2280 sqm warehouse to $4.4 million to the owner of skincare company MooGoo.

…And Barossa’s Stockwell Hotel

Two years after a $2.5 million renovation to draw music fans across South Australia, the Stockwell Hotel in the Barossa Valley closed its doors and gone into voluntary administration with the Pitcher Partners accountancy firm.

In a social media post, its publican, Brian Ivkovic, blamed “increasing running costs, conflict with my landlords and ongoing litigation.”

Newcastle Stadium Scores With Fab Macca

The historic Major Events Partnership struck between the City of Newcastle and stadiums operator Venues NSW to bring major artists to the region, continues to be a success after it re-opened the 30,000-seat McDonald Jones Stadium to concerts.

The latest has been Paul McCartney’s show, his first outside an Australian capital city. Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes reported that Paul ‘Fab Macca’ McCartney had a sell-out and generated $9 million to the Newcastle economy. This is what P!nk will also bring to the city next year.

Nelmes said: "Events deliver both an immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and economy. When Elton John toured here earlier this year, his (two) concerts were watched by almost 50,000 music fans, with more than 75% of people coming from outside of Newcastle and Newcastle's accommodation occupancy rates almost double compared to the same period the year prior.

"Accommodation providers were similarly inundated with bookings to coincide with Paul McCartney's concert, reaffirming the essential role major events play in boosting tourism, as well as encouraging repeat visitation in the future."

Ponying Up To Canberra

Canberra has a new late night live music space, the Fun Time Pony, located in the basement of the Sydney Building with a “dark and dingy” vibe. Featuring a set from Spiderbait to mark its November 17 opening, it is one of three venues opened in the building by Rabble Group. The others are an Italian restaurant and a deli & diner. Rabble also runs Assembly and Corella Bar in Braddon.

Fine For Woolshed Over Sexist Campaign…

The Woolshed on Adelaide’s Hindley Street was fined $3,897 for a winter campaign where patrons got free drinks in exchange for their bras…and with the amount of booze increasing with the size of the bras.

Action was taken by Consumer and Business Services which noted that gender-based promotions are banned by the General Code of Practice for liquor licence holders. The club later sacked six staffers over the campaign.

…And For Gold Coast Nightclub Over Insurance

WorkCover Queensland reported that a Gold Coast nightclub (unnamed) was fined $38,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court for failing to hold compulsory workers' compensation insurance.

Two workers were injured in the five months last year during this ‘no cover’ period. WorkCover said it reminded the club owner of his legal obligation and issued a premium notice for the policy, but he still failed to pay or obtain cover.

And The Envelope Please…

At the Music Victoria Awards in Melbourne, the Forum trumped as Best Large Venue (Metro) and Brunswick Ballroom the Best Small Venue (Metro).

On the regional side of things, Caravan Music Club took the gong for Music Venue with over 50 gigs and Meeniyan Town Hall for the venue with under 50.

At the Australian Hotel Association (SA) Awards before 900 people, the much decorated Governor ‘The Gov’ Hindmarsh Hotel in Adelaide won another trophy, for Best Entertainment Venue.

NSW Govt. Conducts First Live Music Audit

With NSW having lost half its live music venues in the past decade – and only 137 left, according to Liquor and Gaming – the State Government is conducting its first audit. Artists, the public and anyone working in the music industry are being asked what challenges and opportunities venues are facing and what can it be done to bolster them up. It is completely anonymous and no personal data will be kept. Deadline is January 15.

The survey is part of a wider firsthand study to incorporate economic analysis, venue mapping data and audience research for the Government to use for its first ever strategic policy for contemporary music.

Terminus Hotel Getting Makeover

It took the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to overturn a refusal by Yarra City Council, but the Terminus Hotel in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North can go ahead with its redevelopment to expand its live music offerings.

The renos include part-demolishing the downstairs area to expand the outdoor courtyard where bands play. Yarra City initially rejected the plans after 40 objections over noise, safety and parking.

Food & Drinks Seat Deliveries At CBus

Fans at concerts and sports events at the Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Stadium can have food and drinks delivered to their seats. This is courtesy a startup Eat From Your Seat in partnership with Gema Group, with its CEO Kylie Riches revealing that during trials, “Deliveries were completed in under five minutes from order placement. It really is a big win for fans.” It will approach more stadiums for this service.

Pink Flamingo Turning Brisbane Pink

Tony Rigas and Sue Porrett’s Pink Flamingo, which has been operating its cabaret, acrobatics, comedy and burlesque on the Gold Coast since 2019, expands to Brisbane from December. Its second home is a riverside pavilion in Northshore which caters for 400 and will operate there until the 2032 Olympics.

Petition For Beach House Music

A petition calling for live music to be reinstated at the Beach House in Far North Queensland’s Trinity Beach reached 1,500 signatures in its first week. This was after a single complaint saw authorities unplug live music … after two years without an incident, lamented owner Harry Delios.

RAC Arena Brings Back Limelight Program

RAC Arena in Perth has brought back Limelight, a music program which it runs with the WAM association to give young acts a break. Applications are open until November 19 and winner announced December 6.

First prize is worth over $15,000 with $5,000 financial assistance, a radio campaign from Nova Entertainment, $2,500 of music gear from Mega Music and Yamaha, s spot in WAMFest 2024 and promotion from RAC Arena’s marketing channels.

Judges include RAC Arena’s general manager Michael Scott, WAM board member Kristina West, Mackenzie Moor from Select Music Agency, and artist manager Josh Terlick from Cut Above Collective. Terlick also plays with Alter Boy who won the inaugural Limelight last year.

New Book Lauds Aussie Small Venues

A new book Small Venues by University of South Australia’s Dr Sam Whiting looks at small live music venues in Australia, and their essential role in building the culture of various cities. Punters have a strong bond with these venues, he said, citing how the Tote in Melbourne raised $3 million to survive.

Whiting states that when people are asked about their first gig, “They will describe a festival or large stadium concert and they will talk about the multi-sensory extravaganza of light and sound, the set list, the spectacle.

“But the local gig or the more intimate performance in a small bar often brings about a different experience. People often recount the space itself, how they moved through it, the volume of the crowd, the energy of the performance, the banter, the sweat, the booze, the sensation, the atmosphere - the vibe. These experiences are the everyday interactions with live music that build connection, contribution and belonging."

Dr Whiting launches Small Venues in conversation with Dr Ian Rogers of RMIT University at The Old Bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne, on Saturday November 18.