SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) Five Years On, Stronger.
This story is from Melbourne, but hopefully this can become the template for more “Live Music Friendly” changes to Local and State Government regulations nationwide.
Hopefully the way some people view the Arts will change as well with the revelation that in Victoria, more people go to see live small music gigs than go to AFL games!
In early 2010 Melbourne’s live music scene had a fight on its hands. Recently introduced liquor licensing regulations, equating live music with alcohol-fuelled violence, were adversely affecting music venues and musicians were losing opportunities to play. We were in crisis.
A dedicated group of musicians, industry workers, and skilled music fans, led by Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean from Bakehouse Studios, decided to do something about it.
SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) was born.
On February 23rd 2010, Melburnians showed just how far they would go to fight for their beloved live music community. 20,000 passionate music fans hit the streets, marching through the centre of the city to the steps of the Victorian Parliament to the unmistakeable sounds of AC/DC’s ‘Long Way To The Top’. It was a prescient soundtrack.
SLAM’s aims were clear. The erroneous link between live music and alcohol-fuelled violence must be repealed, a Live Music Accord between Government and industry must be agreed upon, a Live Music Roundtable be set up, and the Agent of Change principal be adopted into the Planning and Building Codes to help protect live music venues.
Five years later, through the sheer hard work and dedication of SLAM and its many volunteers, ALL of those key demands have finally been met when the planning laws changed in late 2014.
– Law change! The recognition of live music in the objects of the Liquor Licensing Act in Victoria.
– Law change! The Agent of Change Principle was introduced into Planning Policy and the Building Code was changed not to prejudice small live music venues.
– The first ever report into the ‘Social, Cultural & Economic Value of Live Music’ (Deloitte Access Economics) was commissioned (contemporary music was finally quantified as an industry and it was found that more people attend small gigs than AFL home and away games.)
– A peak body, Music Victoria, was formed and funded
– A Live Music Roundtable between Government and industry was set up
– EPA and noise emissions are being reviewed after a 30 year gap
The movement spread! SLAM supporters also got on board with national grassroots music campaigns from 2011.
– National SLAM day events over 2 years with 300+ small venues participating
– Law change! We lobbied for and were successful in the passing (unopposed) the S.A. government’s Small Bars Act which has laid ground for the revitalisation of S.A.’s grassroots live music scene.
– Helped secure additional funding of $500k for the National Live Music Office from the Rudd Government.
– We have been active in live music campaigns all around the country, and advocated and contributed to new live music strategies in Sydney, Marrickville, Wollongong, Leichhardt, Port Phillip & Yarra.
The Australian live music sector now has a strong political voice. Thank you to SLAM volunteers all around the country that helped us find it!
Contact and support SLAM here; http://slamrally.org || twitter.com/SLAMrally