A parliamentary report into the music and arts economy in NSW, released last week, found the sector was crushed by onerous regulations banning disco balls, DJs and dancing.
The inquiry, chaired by the Christian Democrats MLC Paul Green, suggested the appointment of a Minister for Music among 60 recommendations to revive the state’s ailing music industry.
Mr Green said NSW was in the midst of a live music crisis with venues permanently closing down across the state, particularly in Sydney.
“This situation is having a devastating effect on career pathways for young musicians, destroying the touring network, adversely affecting Sydney’s cultural reputation, and taking a toll on visitor experiences,” he said.
The City of Sydney, meanwhile, has a proposal to allow 24-hour trading in the CBD and encourage more night-time venues on the city fringe.
Sun-Herald readers argued that Sydneysiders are too financially squeezed to enjoy a good night out – and if they do head out, they find pokies instead of live music, and no public transport to get them home.
In a common refrain, another reader said: „Sydney has been ruined over 30 years by poker machines and the consolidation of liquor licences to ever growing venues so they can have more and more of them. This has closed all the local pubs where communities gathered to socialise.”
As a result, Sydney lacked the vibrancy of cities in Europe, where small local pubs, cafes and restaurants were plentiful.
Meanwhile, special events and festivals drew criticism for „absurd prices” and „tiny portions” meaning a „potentially wonderful event that would bring people together is ruined by greed”.
„Sydney will never be exciting or joyous, everything is ruined by over-regulation or exorbitant pricing,” a reader said.
Another said they had moved out of Sydney and never looked back. „Sydney was a great place to grow up in but it lost its soul. Overcrowded roads, highrise after highrise, lack of infrastructure, huge burden of toll roads, and lack of foresight in building a sustainable and family / people friendly environment.”
But some thought the negativity was exaggerated.
„Honestly, dreary? Yeah the lockout laws need to be scrapped, but dreary is taking it a little too far. There’s still plenty to do in Sydney,” one commenter said.
„It’s an amazing, safe, exciting place with a fabulous climate, great people and some of the most stunning natural beauty on earth … please get a grip,” another said.
Kat Dopper, Heaps Gay producer and Mardi Gras board member, told The Sun-Herald Sydney’s nightlife was changing and shifting away from areas such as Kings Cross and Darlinghurst but „still very much alive”.
„Venues are working harder to get people out earlier and are offering cultural events of a higher standard,” she said. „We are also seeing more creativity in the structure of events, including the activation of non-traditional event spaces.”
Adrian Tonon, Detroit’s night-time economy ambassador, told a conference in Sydney last week that cities with a nightlife attract entrepreneurs as well as catering for people who do not work nine-to-five and are safer.
Detroit has suffered long-term population decline and bankruptcy as a result of loss of industry, but has sought to turn around its fortunes by fostering a nighttime economy based on its famed musical past, reusing abandoned buildings, supporting creative industries and 24-hour zoning.
ED: Lets ask the backpacker and youth industry. Has Sydney lost its soul? Comments please.
Sourced by Mike Barrow