Tilley’s is closing its doors to regular live music acts at the end of October.
Owner Paulie Higgisson told The Canberra Times (and also here) that it just isn’t viable for her to keep the performance side of the business going.
“Besides the extra staff needed for concerts, there are other associated costs in doing shows – advertising, copyright – that just aren’t covered by the ticket price. We’ve been carrying that now for over 20 years,” she said.
Also because of their policy of no food or drinks served during shows (a policy which is adored by both performers and audiences), gigs tend to be an unproductive time in financial terms for the cafe as well as a pain for people wanting a meal.
With Toast probably also closing down in October it will be a tough time for live music in Canberra. Ms Higgisson said the lack of live music venues in Canberra was a hard part of her decision.
“It’s the reason I’ve put this decision off for a couple of years. Someone does need to do a baton-change with us, but I don’t really see anyone on the horizon. But I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not here to provide wonderful music to the public at any cost; it’s not a public service. I’m just hoping that there’s somebody out there with the stamina and integrity to run that kind of venue.”
Tilley’s will still host the occasional gig, such as during the Multicultural Festival next February, but mainly they’ll just be another inner-north restaurant and cafe. Which could be good news as many potential patrons have been turned off by having to either keep track of the gig timetable or ring and check if they are able to come for a meal.
The final concert series finishes on Sunday 30 October with blues singer Pat Thompson and the Ragtag Jazz Band.