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 present. Passions were high and it was clear that something had to be done to ensure current development policies and other factors would not spell the end of live music in Newcastle.

Last night Cr Nelmes echoed this concern as she addressed the chamber:

'I think it's really important that we look at what has been done in other cities, [as this Notice of Motion details] as a number of other cities throughout Australia have looked at live music strategies and policies and how they can support existing live music venues through very simple changes, whether its changes to S149 certificates or whether its ensuring there is double glazing in developments nearby.'

Cr Nelmes went on to explain that any successful result would require a collaborative approach between the industry and all three levels of government, particularly around planning and development policies which fall to state-level decision makers.

'This has to be a be whole of government approach and a unified approach, but there is also low-hanging fruit that council can, with this Notice of Motion, move quite quickly on,' Cr Nelmes said.

'With a billion dollars of development approved throughout the city in the last financial year, we're tracking for $1.5 billion in Development Approvals and we have to make sure that we have the right controls in place so that development ensures live music venues can continue to operate adjacent to, or nearby residential properties.'

We have to make sure that we have the right controls in place so that development ensures live music venues can continue to operate, adjacent to or nearby residential properties

- Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes

As unequivocal supporters of live music and the live music industry, representatives of the AHA are greatly looking forward to playing a pivotal role in assisting in the preservation of live music in Newcastle.

We look forward to the opportunity of participating in the Live Music Industry Advisory Group.

We will continue to support our members who showcase incredible live music on their stages every week.

We will continue to advocate for live music to the best of our ability in both Newcastle and across NSW.

We love live music. And we love Newcastle. Together, let's make sure we protect the things we love.

Three key points from the result of Cr Carol Duncan's Notice of Motion - Newcastle City Council Live Music Strategy

  • Council unanimously endorsed a Notice of Motion put forward by Cr Carol Duncan that calls for the implementation of a number of measures to protect the future of live music

  • These measures include the creation of an industry advisory group, changes to S149 certificates to address noise mitigation, inclusion of live music strategies in future Community Strategic Plans and council's draft Newcastle After-Dark Night-time Economy Strategy, use of council-owned venues for all-ages gigs

  • Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes told the chamber it was key to make sure the right controls are in place to ensure live music venues can continue to operate adjacent to or nearby residential properties.

Caption: Local musician and live music advocate Grant Walmsley. Image by Swamp House Photography.

Nikki Taylor is Newcastle Hotels Representative - Australian Hotels Association

208 views0 comments


bottom of page