On Friday night venues across Sydney went silent at 6pm in an attempt to increase awareness amongst the patronage public of the plight of Sydney’s faded nightlife.
A campaign led by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) called on pubs and bars to cease service, turn up the lights and the music down, with licensees addressing the crowds to highlight the policies of political party regarding the night-time economy.
The passive protest on 22 March was deliberately on the eve of the state election, and hoped to bolster the knowledge around and electoral chances for Keep Sydney Open, as well as the promises for a night economy minister outlined by NSW Labor.
A recent Time Out Index found Melbourne the second-best city in the world, while Sydney was voted the tenth-worst city.
“Festival restrictions and lockout laws have framed the debate so far, but it’s more than that; we’re looking at a $16 billion dollar opportunity and potential bigger vision for the night time of this city.
“We’re asking voters to think about what they want for the future of Sydney. We see a city with a thriving, creative and innovative night-time economy that everyone can be a part of.”
Service ceased at 6pm at the participating venues for 10 – 15 minutes, with normal service resuming thereafter.
The NTIA, and its associated campaign Unite for the Night, has members operating over 100 venues, who support their activities. The Association reports 34 venues confirmed they were participating – including many not even affected by the lockouts, but standing in solidarity with the beleaguered industry.
“We jumped on it because they’ve been good to us, so we wanted to show our support for them,” explained Ray Reilly, whose Sydney Park Hotel in Newtown and White Cockatoo in Petersham took part in the campaign.
“Sydney’s certainly a different city than it was five years ago, no matter what night you’re talking.”