Songsmith: Letter to the editor

Dear ed.

I'm sad to inform you and your readership that the Coogee Bay Hotel is forgoing its Monday night open mics as of 26 May. Apparently the cover duos on Tuesday and Wednesday nights are going too.

The Coogee Bay Hotel for me has been an excellent stomping and training ground in developing my solo skills - it's not everyone's cup of tea...a lot of people don't like playing to drunk backpackers and the aggro eastie crowd but I enjoy putting myself up against brickheads, sometimes its been hard but it's a challenge I rise up to and the results have been well worth it.

More importantly than that it's about giving good solo acts/artists a place to gig to an audience (albiet rowdy) for 30 minutes. I'm concerned that more pubs are letting this form of entertainment fall by the wayside - it seems to be the pattern with the 'Launch Squad' too. Jason Mannell (and more recently Simon) have grown and maintained this gig successfully for 4 and a half years. Simon has told me tonight from what he knows, the pub is cutting back on entertainment expenses. Personally I don't see where the "expense" in Monday nights lie given that their only expense is paying either Jason or Simon for setting up and convening the gig as performers don't get paid nor receive a complimentary drink. Apparently anti-smoking laws are causing a revenue drop ( the poke-ies particularly) so they take it out on the musos. And Monday night's are always packed - I sense quite obviously that people enjoy this stuff - it adds an immediacy and vibrancy to the venue that's otherwise lacking if you just have a jukebox or something. And ed, this also means that the unplugged version of 'Velvet Road' has lost its best, most supportive gig!! ;)

I suppose it's up to us who are keen to be proactive, either hunt further gigs down, or create our own!

Either way it's a bit of a shit for the pub to have done that...I don't see the logic in it at all.

Regards, Ross


Anonymous said…
Hey Ross,
Its pretty much happening all over town mate, its the reality of the situation.
Thats why its intergral that people do their best to promote their own shows, and to encourage friends/family to come down when they are playing.
Venues (most of the time) are only interested in one thing, making money over the bar.
If they arent making money and on top of that spending money on a given night, they will cut whatever they are spending.
I wouldnt say that its a trend, but as time goes by its harder and harder for hotels/clubs to make a profit, and with interest rates on the rise, people cant spend as much money as they were in feeding their pokie addictions, which is where most of the hotels revenue would be collected from.

Anonymous said…
Hi Ross,

Yep, it seems that this is the way of the future. It's probably also why you have to get down to the X at 6.15 these days to get a decent spot! The funny thing is that these nights tend to bring quite a crowd if run properly, but it's the cycle of things as venue owners think they'll get more people with cover bands etc. It doesn't happen then they wonder where the crowds they used to get have gone. It's called greed and Sydney and it's a Sydney speciality!

Not sure what to do? Maybe try OS? No matter what is thrown at you, you keep on plugging away!


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