Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

No Live Gigs at Open Studio

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

No Live Gigs at Open Studio

Article excerpt

IN A huge blow to the city's young music fans, a beloved local all-ages venue has suspended live gigs a and all because of an anonymous complaint.

Open Studio, on Vernon St, has been a cultural hub since Ash Johnston opened it as a gallery and workspace several years ago.

A familiar face for more than a decade leading workshops for various organisations such as Harbour Youth Service, PCYC, Coffs Harbour City Council, Ted Noffs Foundation and Youth Connections, Ash was approached by predominantly underage music fans looking for a venue for drug and alcohol-free events, and has been hosting them sporadically ever since.

aThe doors are still open, we're still painting and still holding workshops a but no live gigs,a Ash said.

aThey've been put on hold while we iron out the hiccup.a

Ash said Coffs Harbour Police contacted him Tuesday, regarding an anonymous complaint and after discussion with Coffs Harbour City Council requested that all live entertainment stop.

aIf someone told us about a live music event in advance, we'd ask the organiser what they had planned, if they had council approval, and how we could help,a Coffs Harbour Local Area Command supervisor Sgt Lee Thomas said.

aIf you're going to run an event you need to make sure it's okay with the council a we're not the anti-fun police, we're here to make sure events are safe for everyone.a

Zoning of Open Studio did not include permission to host live music.

aThe use of that premises is as a shop a live entertainment is a separate land use that it does not have permission for,a a council spokesperson said.

aThe owner has been advised that he can put in a request for a change to usage.a

The decision has affected local promoters Down To Earth Events, who had planned to bring several touring bands to the venue this weekend.

aWe started bringing bands here on our own initiative and this is the only place we could get for all ages, drug and alcohol-free events,a Zach Scholes said.

aWe are devastated.a

In response to the event cancellation, local supporters of the venue have written to the Advocate about the lack of under-age venues and perceived lack of support from the council. …

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