One of the country’s most-beloved venues is at risk of permanently losing its live music licence, and the music industry has come out in full force in an effort to save it.
A slew of artists, promoters and more – including the likes of Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie, Violent Femmes’ Brian Ritchie and Frenzal Rhomb’s Jay Whalley – are urging punters to throw their support behind Hobart’s iconic Brisbane Hotel as it tries to raise $100,000 via a crowd-funding campaign.
Currently on a temporary occupancy license, Brisbane Hotel has been given less than two months to convince Hobart City Council to reinstate its licence or raise $100,000 to upgrade the heritage-listed building, after the council stated the venue was not compliant with new building legislation.
“I don’t know what Hobart would look like without The Brisbane Hotel, but I know I don’t want to find out. The place has become everything we wanted it to,” owners Casey Bond and Christopher “Gibbo” Giblett said.
“It’s a place where everyone can have a great time; find or make a friend; see and hear something different; and be a part of a great community in this little town that also reaches across state lines and continents.
“We’re humbled by the support we’ve received. It’s truly amazing to see that what we’ve created has had such a positive effect on so many people throughout the community.”
Here are some of the testimonials being issued by artists:
Jim Moginie, Midnight Oil
“In Sydney, where draconian laws, developers and NIMBYs have killed the live music scene, people still wax lyrical about the now departed Hopetoun; The Annandale; The Basement; The Trade Union Club; French’s and more; all bastions of live music where bands and artists can hone their craft and audiences can disconnect from the grid and lose themselves for a while in music and time. Sydney is a dead zone now, and the scene has just gone elsewhere. Don’t let this happen to you, Hobart.”
Ross Knight, Cosmic Psychos
“If you’re going to force the pub to redo itself to be safe, with new building regulations, let’s bowl down the whole harbour area of Hobart and rebuild that too. Shut everything down and do it in one sweep, don’t pick on the little guy. Do the whole lot.
A bunch of us should be marching down there to help out in some way. Let’s get the ball rolling, if other bands don’t get down there, the Cosmics will come over there and play acoustic. That’s something nobody wants to hear. That’s the threat, and it’s enough to put the fear of the living dead into anyone (and we’ll be sober, which will make it worse).”
Jay Whalley, Frenzal Rhomb
“The Brisbane Hotel has been a staple of our band Frenzal Rhomb’s many tours of Tasmania. Their commitment to original music and fostering up and coming, as well as established bands, cannot be understated. The loss of The Brisbane Hotel as a music venue would be a major blow to the local and national touring music industry.”
Brian Ritchie, Violent Femmes
“The Brisbane Hotel is a venerable yet funky venue showcasing acts ranging from up and coming local artists to eminent touring acts from around the globe. It serves an irreplaceable role as an incubator for Tasmanian bands and is also a kick-ass place to share a beer with friends. The Brisbane Hotel’s support for live music is needed more now than ever. We live in an era where real music made by real people is assailed left and right. The Brisbane Hotel is an oasis for music lovers.”
Tye Richo, Luca Brasi
“We played our first show at the Bris, I saw all my favourite shows at the Bris, with my best mates and my favourite bands. I’ve slept in the Bris, both in the accom and at the bar. I’ve stayed awake partying for days at the Bris. I’ve made mistakes at the Bris, been forgiven, made friends at the Bris. Some of the best times I’ve ever had have been in that building, with the most gracious hosts you could ask for. I hope the next generation gets to experience what I did at the place. It’s an asset and an icon, just like the people who run it.”