Home' Australian Hotelier : AH JULY 2016 Contents 16 | JULY 2016 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
Josh Stewart runs the Bald Faced Stag
Hotel, a pub that has been revered
in Sydney as a live music haven for
decades. The 'Stag', as it's affectionately
known, has a front bar stage that can host
100 people, and a larger auditorium section
where acts can play for up to 450 people. The
pub hosts eight live music gigs a week, and is
hoping to increase that to 10 shows a week
over the next 12 months.
In Melbourne, the Bendigo Hotel is known as
one of the best live music pubs in the city, thanks
to licensee Guy Palermo, who in 2010 reverted
the restaurant/function space area back into a
live music space, as it was back in the 70s and
80s. Since then the Bendigo has won numerous
accolades for its live music offering.
Stewart and Palermo shared their tips as to
what makes a pub a successful live music venue.
Having a staff that is fanatical about live music
resonates with music lovers.
Stewart: "All involved in the venue, from
the owners through to the glassies are very
passionate about music and keeping the torch
alight for live music in Sydney and Australia
as a whole. We have quite a diverse patronage
at the Stag but I would say one thing that
unites a large chunk of our guests and brings
them to our doors is indeed our live music
focus and our support and involvement in the
VARY YOUR ACTS
Even if your pub focuses on one particular style
of music, ensuring that you play different styles
will bring more people to your venue.
Stewart: "The Stag has certainly been
known, at least for the last few years, as a bit
of a home base for rock and heavier music
genres like metal and hardcore. We love and
embrace being the home of that here but we are
by no means exclusively that and have regular
shows from garage to hip hop to Latino music
to 50s big band swing."
Invest in your staging and equipment if you
want to be taken seriously.
Palermo: "Our band room is a 300-capacity
room. We update our equipment every 2-3
years to give the bands the best possible sound
and lighting for the size of the room; the whole
set-up will set you back over $100,000 plus
there is ongoing maintenance. If you don't have
the right set-up and you have a full room it will
sound terrible -- bands won't want to play at a
venue which doesn't sound great, nor will their
fans turn up to hear them."
THE RIGHT PERSONNEL
Having a band booker in the know can really
set your gig list apart from other venues.
Palermo: "In order to be successful you need
a great band booker or band booking agency
to get bands playing at your venue. After a few
not-so-successful attempts I was fortunate to get
one the best band bookers in the country, Dave
Collins -- also known as DC -- who played a
major role in creating a metal/rock/punk scene in
the venue. It's been a lot of hard work to [make]
crowd-pulling bands want to play at our venue,
and having DC on board was a game changer."
The correct soundproofing and
communicating with your neighbours can help
avoid noise complaints.
Stewart: "We have done quite a bit of
noise reduction on the venue over the past six
months to what already existed and upgraded
our PA, and hence we do not get noise
complaints. We are also very conscious of the
regulations placed on our venue and we adhere
to these very closely, so that helps to keep our
neighbours, our bands and our guests happy."
Make sure sound engineers are aware of noise
regulations and are at the top of their game.
Palermo: "As all live music venue owners
know it's a very fine line between keeping the
crowd happy and not disrupting neighbours
-- you need to be firm with the bands and the
sound engineers to ensure they respect the
venues amenities and surroundings."
MIX IT UP
Presenting a variety of free and ticketed events
WITH THE BAND
LIVE MUSIC CAN CHANGE THE VIBE AND PATRONAGE OF A PUB, SO TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A VENUE FOR MUSIC
LOVERS TO PATRONISE, GETTING THE RIGHT SET-UP, BOOKINGS AND GIG CALENDAR IS ESSENTIAL. THE LICENSEES
OF TWO PUBS KNOWN FOR LIVE MUSIC, SHARE THEIR ADVICE ON EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO CONSIDER.
The Bald Faced Stag Hotel puts
on eight live shows per week
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