Live Music Scene: New rays of light emerging in Sydney?


It’s fair to say the live music scene in Sydney has been through a lot in the last… let’s say decade. At times it seems like the bad news can become pretty deflating. But this week saw the granting of two extended licences to local live music venues. There seems to be a mood for easing some of the regulatory pressures on live music venues. We have no illusions that there is still a lot of work to do  – but could 2019 be a turning point for the industry?

Freda’s – Chippendale

Kicking off this week, Freda’s in Chippendale will extend their trading hours to 4am. The significance of this shouldn’t be understated. Freda’s will become the first venue in the inner-west to program music into the wee-hours in what could be a sign of things to come.

It certainly shows an appetite by regulators to remove some barriers for venues in the inner-west, an area which is largely seen as the epicentre of live music in the city.

The Oxford Tavern – Petersham

In the same week, we saw the move echoed at a second venue – this time deep in live music territory. From this week The Oxford Tavern will be trading until 3am. Again, the owner of the iconic venue, James Thorpe, was understandably chuffed stating:

“Live music is integral to the cultural tapestry of any great city. We’re beyond thrilled that we are now able to offer live bands and DJs until 3am.”

A broader trend?

Does this signal a move towards greater flexibility for live music venues more generally? Developing trends off two data points is always risky business, but we’re hopeful. There has certainly been significant pressure all levels of government to quit stymieing the industry with regulation, particularly over the last few months. Perhaps there is a recognition that they went too far. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we should celebrate our successes. Both venues are holding parties this weekend to launch their license extensions. If you’d like to get a long and tip a drink to live music, here are the details:

Freda’s Extension Party

Date: Saturday 10 May

Time:  8pm- 4am

Location: 107-109 Regent St, Chippendale

The Oxford Tavern Extension Party

Date: Saturday 11 May

Time:  9pm- 3am

Location: 1 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham