top of page

Newcastle City Council: Unanimous on the future of live music

Notice of Motion Number 5 might become as famous, and indeed smell as sweet as its perfumed counterpart, if it lives up to the hype and hope of salvaging Newcastle's live music industry.

Last night Newcastle City Council unanimously voted to endorse a plan, put forward by Councillor Carol Duncan, which once implemented, would go a long way to protecting local live music.

The Notice of Motion included measures such as:

  • The creation of a Newcastle Live Music Industry Advisory Group consisting of various industry and community members

  • Changes to S149 certificates that would provide consideration to 'acoustic privacy condition'

  • Facilitation of further talks with all tiers of government with the aim of developing policies around noise mitigation and development strategies

  • Inclusion of live music strategies in council's future Community Strategic Plan documents

  • Inclusion of a live music plan within council's draft Newcastle After Dark Night-time Economy Strategy

  • Planning that would see council-owned venues host all-ages live music events

At the meeting, Cr Duncan described Newcastle's live music industry as 'a pillar of the night-time economy, supporting local working musicians, bands, venue operators, and venue staff''.

The live music industry as a pillar of the night-time economy, supporting local working musicians, bands, venue operators

and venue staff - Cr Carol Duncan

The AHA agrees that with a night-time economy worth around $1.4 billion and employing more than 12,000 people, it is imperative that live music remains an integral part of the city's landscape.

Do not forget there was a time, not so long ago, when live music was the heart and soul of Newcastle night life. It was not uncommon to see headliners like Midnight Oil and INXS displayed across the front of local hotels. Sure they were up and coming bands back then, but they were bands that cut their teeth on the stages of Newcastle pubs. They were bands blooded by Newcastle locals.

And it wasn't just bands that went on to become household names that made Newcastle's night life shine. It was the local bands, the ones that made punters feel special - musos who knew people's names by heart, who would happily hang out for a drink in the break, who knew their audience. In every way.

Newcastle has always been known for fostering and encouraging live music and that has not changed.

There are multitudes of amazing musicians and venue owners who still want to carry on the proud traditions started by their families and those who came before them.

For many pub owners their venue is a legacy, a tribute to their family. There are local hotel owners in Newcastle and the Hunter Region who want to stand proud in the footsteps of their mothers and fathers. They want to run venues that provide a soundtrack that is in tune with their community.

Members of the AHA recently attended a Labor Live Music Round-Table forum, hosted by Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp MP. Also in attendance were representatives from all three tiers of government including Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and various industry spokespeople ranging from venue owners and musicians, to booking agents and all-age venue operators.

The one thing to come out of the forum was an undeniable love of live music, from everyone pr