‘It’s Become An International Joke’: Isabella Manfredi Speaks At NSW Music Hearing

28 May 2018 | 4:53 pm | Staff Writer

“It’s a laughing stock."

More Isabella Manfredi (The Preatures) More Isabella Manfredi (The Preatures)

It’s no secret that Sydney’s live music industry is in need of some serious assistance, and providing evidence at a State Government music inquiry earlier today, The Preatures vocalist Isabella Manfredi said the damage from the lockout laws has rendered the scene an “international joke”.

Manfredi discussed the transformation of the city’s live music scene since 2008 when The Preatures formed.

“There was quite a bit of bullying by the police,” Manfredi said of the band’s experiences pre-lockout laws.

“The way we were spoken to as musicians by the police, in all sorts of circumstances, was tough for us to understand.”

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Noise complaints, lockout laws and more are making it harder and harder for musicians to not only break out but also make a living.

Manfredi said those issues are also being noted around the globe, with the band frequently supporting the likes of The Rolling Stones, Harry Styles and touring internationally themselves.

“It’s a laughing stock; that’s really the crux of it,” she said, giving evidence alongside ARIA CEO Dan Rosen. “It’s become an international joke.

“People are aware of it all over the world, which is surprising.”

Manfredi attributed the band’s success in part to the abundance of live music venues around the time they formed, allowing them to cut their teeth and hone their craft, which a lot of similar acts emerging in 2018 don’t have.

“You can’t have excellence at the top of any field without a grassroots community.”

Rosen added, "the best acts are the ones that develop slowly".

“You go from playing to your friends to 50 people to 100 people to 500, 1,000, 10,000, and you need venues of all those sizes to be able to pursue that,” Rosen said.

“Isabella is a wonderful example of someone who did come through grassroots Sydney and has developed into one of our great national acts and has an international presence and we want to make sure that the Preatures of 2018 will still exist.”

Also speaking at the inquiry is Set Mo, Save Live Australian Music’s Helen Marcou, the NSW Police Assistant Commissioner and more.