For years, a blaring gap in Melbourne’s live music circuit has existed, with the relative absence of all-ages shows extremely noticeable for many gig guides across the city. But now, thanks to some timely legislative reforms, that all looks set to change. Amendments to the Liquor Control Act, which passed Parliament earlier this year, came into effect earlier this month and deregulate the process previously required to put on all-ages shows. It’s a decision that’s been readily applauded by both Government officials, as well as venues, bookers, bands and overseeing bodies such as Music Victoria.
Previously, all ages gigs run in licensed venues were required to file permits for the event at least 45 days prior to it occurring, which the music industry lambasted as being unreasonable, due to the often short-notice nature of the organisation process, coupled with exorbitant administrative and processing fees, making all-ages shows non-viable. The new legislation removes that burden, and opens the door for licensed venues to legally host shows attended by underage patrons.
There has long been a market for shows with for people within the 15-25 year bracket, particularly following a familial or dynastic slant with older siblings taking younger ones to gigs; introducing them to bands in safe, controlled, low-risk environments. But until now, it was simply not possible. Now iconic Melbourne venues such as the Corner are expecting a surge in attendance thanks to the amended laws. Patrick Donovan, the chief executive of Music Victoria, stated “We all remember our first gig as a teenager that turned us on to music for life. These common sense reforms will enable teenagers to experience the excitement of live music in a safe environment with their older siblings and parents and trigger the next generation of bands and fans.” Sentiments that were echoed by Victoria’s Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O’Donohue, “Venues across the state, like the famous Corner Hotel, are able to host under-age shows without the paperwork and costs that had previously made them too expensive and time consuming to contemplate.”
The live music industry in Victoria is estimated to contribute in excess of $300 million annually to the economy, and has been the subject of heated argument between Government and public, which was captured in a 2011 documentary on inner-suburban venue The Tote.
Photo: Kristian Dowling via Getty Images.
via The Age.