“In all likelihood, it will be purchased by a developer, and the Tote will no longer exist. We’re not going to let that happen.”
Earlier this month, the old stomping ground for bands and music lovers alike, The Tote in Collingwood, announced that it was up for sale.
The owners have “no petrol left in the tank” after a devastating couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was part of the Victorian Government’s $13 million lifeline to music venues across the state.
The venue, which has hosted the likes of Press Club, DZ Deathrays, Porpoise Spit, and many more, has an uncertain future.
The statement shared by owners Sam Crupi and Jon Perring notes that the venue will continue to trade and run gigs until the ownership transition is complete.
“Then it will be up to the new owners. This is likely to be around June. The Tote will accept booking up until this time. Any dates beyond this will have to be made with the consent of the future owners. The current Tote owners will actively facilitate a smooth transition,” the statement reads.
Help comes from within the community, and in this case, it’s stemming from The Last Chance Rock And Roll Bar, a music venue in Melbourne’s CBD.
Throughout March, Last Chance owners Shane Hilton and his partner, Leanne, have been campaigning to save The Tote.
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They started a Pozible campaign, informing anyone who wants to get involved that Shane and Leanne have done everything they can to make up half the savings to buy The Tote - the asking price is $6 to 6.6 million - by hustling and going into debt with banks, family and pulling from their own savings.
The couple have managed to save $3 million. The Last Chance To Save The Tote campaign ends in a week, and right now, it’s sitting at $554,566 of its $3 million target.
In a social media statement, Shane Hilton said, “in all likelihood, it will be purchased by a developer, and the Tote will no longer exist. We’re not going to let that happen.”
Shane and Leanne took over the Last Chance in 2016. If successful with this endeavour, they promise to protect The Tote by “putting the building in trust with so much red tape, caveats and legal protection that it can never be anything but a live music venue let alone sold ever again.”
The couple’s aim is to give “the Tote to the bands of Melbourne forever. No fuckers gunna touch one of those posters on that tobacco stained ceiling.”
The Pozible campaign is run with an “all or nothing” fundraising approach, meaning that unless Shane and Leanne win their bid for The Tote, crowd funders won’t be charged. As NME Australia reported, within two days of the campaign going live, The Last Chance To Save The Tote had reached $50,000.
Shane and Leanne have until next Friday to put their bid in to save The Tote. You can contribute and read all about the campaign here.