In Music by Clyde Mooney

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City of Sydney is putting its money where it counts, issuing live music grants to Sydney pubs in a bid to reinvigorate live music.

The City of Sydney (CoS) Council has committed to providing over $225k in grant funding to venues in the name of rebuilding the city’s nightlife.

Pubs in CoS jurisdiction have received allocation of funds, after applying to be part of the program. One beneficiary is Kings Cross staple the Potts Point Hotel, former Sugarmill, and its new Boogie Mountain room.

Having just gotten approval from CoS, John Duncan says they are now planning how the joint spend grant monies will be used.

“We’ll work in conjunction with CoS to put on some great live acts within the venue. We’ll be spending on entertainment and bands, anything that speaks to the whole venue, not just Boogie Mountain.

“I’m happy to be a part of it. It’s a good thing and positive step for the precinct.”

The funds are being used for multiple solutions, depending on the venue and application. Money and consultation is also being made available for soundproofing and efforts to mitigate against neighbour disturbance.

The Mercantile Hotel, in The Rocks, already has strong exposure to live music, and is constantly mindful of its residential obligations. It puts on seven acts every week, from Thursday to Sunday, and is investing now in more in-house equipment to improve logistics and result.

Mercantile Hotel

“For us it’s more about stage presence and our live music focus,” explains licensee Mick Comerford. “We spend quite a bit of money on live music a week, at least five per cent of our takings, sometimes more. We put on big events that include live music, as well.”

Comerford reports police and authorities have been very supportive of the pub taking over part of George Street for special events, including St Patrick’s day, and they are practised at using their equipment in respect of their surroundings. More high-quality equipment, catering to bands’ varied requirements, greatly reduces the amount each band needs to bump in and out for performances, while the pub also retains more control.

The pub and stage area are not huge, and the goal is to push quality over sheer volume to enhance what improvements have been done so far.

“The police down here are really good when it comes to working with us, and the Council obviously are fantastic. They came up with this grant and they know there’s a need for it.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore hopes the grants will contribute to rebuilding the city’s presence.

“Sydneysiders want a diverse and exciting nightlife with events and activities for people of all ages and interests – they don’t want their city to shut down as soon as the sun goes down.

“This gives venues and businesses a boost so they can do much-needed equipment upgrades or make a commitment to regular programming – which is a better outcome for artists and audiences alike.”

Other pubs due for grants are Cheers Bar and the Shakespeare Hotel, Surry Hills.

Boogie Mountain