Canberra rocks against the clock to keep live music alive in the city

Lachlan Roberts 21 June 2019

MusicACT president and Art, Not Apart festival founder David Caffery is the man behind the protest concert. Photos: Ruwendi Wakwella.

With a clash of cymbals, as flames were thrown into the sky and hundreds danced along, Canberra made a noise for the under-fire live music scene in the nation’s capital – a noise they hope is loud enough to reach the legislative assembly.

Garema Place was filled with people, as the public came out in force to show their support for live music after news that Geocon’s 11-storey, $120 million development in Bunda Street might spell the death of live music in the city.

As local artists Hands Like Houses, Citizen Kay and Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers took to the stage to raise their voices against the noise laws in the heart of the city, people danced along and waved their (creative) placards in protest and celebration.

Citizen Kay, who got the crowd boogieing to his track Life Gives You Lemons, said that it was heartening to see Canberrans come out in force.

“I thought maybe there was going to be like 50 people here,” he shared. “This is such a great turnout and it’s good to see so many people care about what is happening here. It is amazing that the Canberra community is as hyped about it as we musicians are.”

Citizen Kay getting the crowd bopping.

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the strong support only strengthens his desire to put entertainment precincts in place across the city.

“The crowd has really got behind this!” he said, speaking to Region Media above the noise on stage. “Given this has been organised at such short notice, it really shows the passion for the live music scene here in Canberra.

“For too long, the scene has struggled in Canberra and now it is starting to get momentum and I think that is why people feel so strongly about this. They see the threat that is coming from some of the examples in the past and what we have seen in other cities.

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury raised his voice for live music.

“There is a clear cut solution and we just need to get it implemented. We need entertainment precinct in a number of places, like Braddon, Civic and Belconnen as well. There are a number of places we need to do it but a place like Civic is where there is some urgency.

“My passion is strong enough as it is but coming along to something like this really, really enforces that. We just need to get it done.”

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