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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 May 2007) . . Page.. 1152 ..


culture—easy to chew but ultimately not good on the stomach. I believe that to the holders of these views the cultural value of live music has been lost.

Any argument about live music needs to explore the cultural value it brings to our community. When examining the cultural value of live music we need to look at three key players: the artists, their audience and the wider community. For the artists, live performance is an important form of artistic expression. Live performance remains crucial for the initial development of artists. It is also an exercise in refining business skills for artists pursuing music as a full-time career.

Central to live performance is a venue that can cater for musicians and audience. Peter Garrett, formerly of Midnight Oil, now the Labor federal member for Kingsford Smith, once said:

… every Australian band comes from a different pub, and it’s there they define what they’re about. Every band remembers that pub, and it’s more than sentimental value; it’s something much stronger.

For the audience, live music facilitates appreciation of the talent and skill of musicians. It is an opportunity to be inspired. It is also an opportunity to listen to up-and-coming acts that are yet to be digitally compromised for wider consumption. It is also an opportunity to be involved in your community. I want to congratulate Paz and other players that come along to the Wanniassa tavern. I have enjoyed their music and their contribution to the Tuggeranong community.

Live music is crucially important to the community as it adds to the vitality of the city. In 2003 the Victorian government Live Music Taskforce report stated of live music venues:

They are places that nurture culture and social interaction. … Particular cultural recognition should be afforded to those venues that provide ongoing opportunities for musicians playing original material.

Proven already is the depth of Canberra’s local talent. Bands like Little Smoke, the Re-mains and Meatbee now travel around the nation playing at live music venues and festivals. Clearly, it was the ACT’s live music venues that gave these bands the leg-up to the national stage. While it is to be expected that great acts like these bands travel interstate to play to bigger audiences and to diversify their musical experience, it is a shame that some feel as though there is no future in Canberra.

Bryan Fitzpatrick, the owner of Toast bar in Civic, believes that his greatest motivation to continue with the business despite years of litigation is to provide a forum for local bands to perform. For Bryan it is particularly important to have live music venues in Canberra: all his friends have been moving away to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane due to the lack of live music opportunities in Canberra. He does not see why there cannot be a great live music scene in Canberra where bands can pursue a career in music and reach their potential playing to their friends and local fans. Bryan Fitzpatrick has survived various attempts to have his bar shut down and his licence taken away due to noise complaints. But due to the motivations just mentioned he has been successful in keeping Toast open to Canberrans.


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