Music Is So Under Threat In Sydney That They've Been Forced To Deploy Former Wiggles To Save It

Not all heroes wear cap… um, well, red shirts.

With the NSW election campaign reaching the completely cooked point, the local music industry has never been in such dire straits. The lockouts killed venues and nightspots throughout the CBD, turning Oxford Street into a series of empty shopfronts and Kings Cross into a ghost town, and now the new restrictions on music festivals threatens to turn Sydney into that town from Footloose.

And the biz isn’t taking it lying down, young people, for they are rallying for action today – Thursday 21 February – to allow people to, you know, have fun.

And you know it’s serious because they’ve deployed Murray “The Red Wiggle No Not Simon” Cook to be one of the speakers, alongside the likes of Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus,  Justin Hamilton of the Presets, and many other articulate funthusiasts.

Cook, it should be pointed out, isn’t merely an ex-Wiggle: he’s also guitarist in the Soul Movers, has guested with DZ Deathrays and is known to generations of Sydney gig goers as The Really, Really Tall Man You Need To Avoid Getting Caught Behind At Every Show.

He’s a dude who knows a thing or two about the music game, is what we’re saying.

And look, without putting too fine a point on it, the Wiggles are not only a huge live draw – they’re one of the entry points for kids to discover the magnificence of live music.

Take a moment to look into your own soul, gentle reader. Who among is isn’t attending shows in adulthood reaching for that transcendent first moment we heard ‘Hot Potato’ live? None of us, that’s who.

There’ll also be live performances from a festival’s worth of NSW talent: Hottest 100 winners Ocean Alley, the Rubens, Olympia, Urthboy with Bertie Blackman, Cloud Control, and Polish Club (augmented with that charismatic Melbourne blow-in Dan Sultan).

At any rate, if you’re in the Sydney area you should ensure that you’re at Hyde Park North at 6pm tonight for the rally to show your support for a vibrant live scene and a return to the sort of nightlife scene that made Sydney such a great place to be in those pre-lockout days, when things that weren’t casinos were still able to trade until late.

If you can’t make it, sign the petition and let your opinion be heard. But if you can make it, you’ll have a Wiggly good time.

Tell ’em GOAT sent you. We loves the live music around here.

The Announcement That The Cure Are Playing Disintegration Sent The Opera House Website Into Meltdown And Look, Is Everyone Feeling OK?

Hey Australia, instead of listening to Disintegration again maybe we should have a talk about our feelings instead?

Disintegration is generally regarded as the Cure’s masterpiece, a sprawling testament to how certain Robert Smith was that his life was over since he was turning 30.

For context, this was 1989 and Smith will turn 60 this April. So maybe a tad premature, really.

In any case, the album was about his life falling apart due to his advanced age and the fact that time was clearly running out. It also marked the end of the relationship between the Cure’s remaining founding members, with drummer/keys player Lol Tolhurst unceremoniously given the boot during recording. Man, that title works on so many levels!

Anyway: it’s pretty much the most depressing album of all time.

It’s 72 minutes of Smith articulating just how pointless and empty everything is, filled with nightmares and loss and regret and lethargy and impotence and depression – oh god, the depression! – where even the happiest moments are about joys long since gone.

Even the classic ‘Lovesong’, written as a wedding present for his partner Mary, is a melancholy minor-key song about longing rather than a big jolly celebration of lurve.

Anyway: the annual Vivid Live festival at the Sydney Opera House has launched with the announcement that the Cure will be performing Disintegration from start to finish in May 24-25 and 27-28 (that’s four gigs, not that the album’s that long).

The six day long ballot has just opened where punters can apply to buy tickets, and… well, it’s been popular.

Look, I turned 17 in 1989. This album was my goddamn life. Don’t judge me.

And given that so very many people are clearly willing to hang on the internet for hours to see a bunch of old men play some of the most miserable music ever… um, if everyone OK out there? Nation, do we need a hug?

And look, maybe whack on The Head On The Door or Japanese Whispers instead, that’ll cheer you right up.

Bluesfest Is Threatening To Bail On NSW If Gladys Doesn't Wind Back Her Anti-Festival Laws

First they came for the young people, and the NSW government did nothing. Then they came for the festival boomers and now it's ON.

In the last fortnight two NSW music festivals have been axed in the wake of the state government’s new, abrupt and eye-wateringly pricy new compliance measures, ostensibly in the service of stopping drug deaths via a strategy of ensuring that there are no more festivals.

And the two now-dead festivals, Psyfari and Mountain Sounds, are pretty niche and just affect a bunch of young people who the NSW government probably aren’t that worried about annoying.

But now something has happened which might actually affect Liberal voters – which should worry premier Gladys Berejiklian ahead of the election: Byron Bay’s Bluesfest, one of the biggest and most successful annual Australian music festivals, has said it will leave NSW if the laws aren’t wound back.

In an open letter to the NSW government Bluesfest promoter Peter Noble declared that “I am saying now, Bluesfest will leave NSW. We have no choice; it’s a matter of survival. Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?”

Noble’s letter calls out the government for not consulting with the people who actually put festivals on before bringing the legislation in, pointing out that the final report hasn’t even been released yet.

“Why do you seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industry? We provide culture to the people of this state, and Australia, through our good works. Most festivals haven’t had drug deaths and contribute greatly to our society through presenting well-run, professional, world-class events. Why have we been given zero recognition in this government’s actions?”

“We are the industry professionals, we are the people that are presenting events at the highest levels, I mean Bluesfest has just been inducted into the NSW Tourism Awards hall of fame,” Noble told the ABC. “We are all concerned about people dying from drug overdoses, but in 30 years my festival has never had one and so have the vast majority of festivals, yet we’re all getting tarred with the same brush.”

It also raises a question about another Byron mainstay: Splendour In The Grass, who bought their own site in Byron Bay a few years ago (which is also home to the Byron leg of the Falls Festival) and presumably don’t want to have to make a Queensland trek over to Woodford again, as they did when the site was being established.

This all comes after a report which concluded that NSW is losing out on $16 billion a year thanks to its post-lockout, post-festival nighttime dead zone.

But hey, who can put a price on not having a good time?

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