The recent extension to lockout laws in Sydney has been receiving major backlash from the dance music community who feel as though the laws are oppressive.
First being enacted in 2014, the lockout laws force venues to not allow anyone in past 1:30am and force all bars and clubs to close down by 3:00am. The law also does not allow any new permits to be issued for liquor licenses. Recently the laws were given an extension until 2017, which is a major issue for the city's already shrinking nightlife scene.
Many have expressed their distaste for the extension with numerous DJs, producers and fans stating their opinions on social media. Flight Facilities took it a step further and penned an essay which outlines exactly what is wrong with the lockout laws, which is not the people who enjoy a dance in the club, but those individuals who choose to be violent when they get drunk. You can read their piece, in full, below.
It’s hard to know where to start with the lockout laws. Trying to succinctly explain to someone how much is wrong with it, leaves you jumping wildly from one ridiculous law to another. We’ve been fortunate enough to explore the world through our music, and while our influences have reached us from every corner of the globe, our cultural and musical incubator is, and was, Sydney.
Before the two of us had even crossed paths, we were enjoying being on both sides of the turntables, and often walked out of our favourite venues in perfect daylight. Such nights shaped our musical tastes, understanding, and kickstarted our careers. Most of our first club gigs didn’t begin until 3am, and yet those parties were still heaving.
Without wanting this to evolve into a “back in my day” piece, we’ll give a basic rundown of how our careers started, to emphasise how the diversity in nightlife allowed us to succeed. Simply put, if you’re a DJ in Sydney hoping to start a career, don’t follow our path. It has been demolished:
* Venue visited on Friday’s after graduating: yu - SHUTDOWN
* Venue Jimmy held first solo DJ residency: Soho - SHUTDOWN
* Venue Hugo held first solo DJ residency: Tank Nightclub - SHUTDOWN.
* Venue we first met: Trademark - SHUTDOWN
* Venue we DJ’d at together, weekly: Hugo’s - SHUTDOWN
* Venue we met Giselle, which lead to Crave You: Piano room - SHUTDOWN
* Venue we met Jess, AKA George Maple, which lead to Foreign Language: Hugo’s - SHUTDOWN
* Venues we spent our night’s off: Flinders / Backroom: Both SHUTDOWN
All of these places were vital puzzle pieces in building to where we are today, and sadly, this doesn’t begin to cover the other venues affected. Had these laws been in effect 10 years earlier, our music may never have existed. We’re proud to be an Australian export on the international scene. But what positive words do we have to say about Sydney when we’re playing shows at 2am in Lisbon, Portugal, before watching the sunrise from a different club across town?
You don’t even have to look to the other side of the world. Take Melbourne, for instance. It’s perfectly comparable to Sydney in size. The nightlife is thriving and Mayor Robert Doyle wants venues to trade later. He wants public transport to run longer. Music venues are being given grants to improve their soundproofing to coexist with residents! You want to know what a good night out was like? Go to Melbourne.
Nobody in power seems to want to talk about the root of the problem. We, along with millions of others, have never felt the need to become violent as a result of alcohol. Unprovoked violence is an inherent character trait, which is truly what needs to be addressed. If a person has a drink, and their first desire is to punch a stranger in the back of the head, they’re not an alcoholic, and they don’t have a drinking problem. They’re a thug too stupid to understand the consequences of actions, and they were always this person, sober or not. This physical philosophy is one that has no place in our culture, and it has nothing to do with nightclubs or alcohol. The tenuous connection that the NSW Government has made is exactly what has poisoned Sydney’s nightlife.
So why are politicians the ones adjudicating the issue when their mentality is not only outdated, but their lifestyle is totally unaffected? Why was this vote never put to the masses of Sydney? Some of our best friends, who provided us with some of our best nights out, have lost substantial amounts of money, along with their businesses. How do we know that the next Flight Facilities, Nina Las Vegas, Whatsonot, Alison Wonderland or Yolanda Be Cool aren’t choking on the creative stranglehold these laws have created? Instead, we’re being put in nappies and tucked into bed by a bunch of expired minds. The irony in knowing that those responsible are referred to as the ‘Liberal Party’ is almost too much to handle. They’ve done away with the very definition of both words.
How much longer are we going to all sit here and pretend the Casino, and subsequent stamp duty on the newly developed properties, have nothing to do with this? It’s the most blatant grab for cash we’ve ever seen, and yet we have smile politely as more businesses fold, and the creative industry drowns. We can’t understand how these laws are justified, any more than we can expect a government official to understand that people find solace on a dance floor at 3am. And we don’t expect them to. But where’s the voice for the entertainment industry, and the youth? It’s in the hands of a former investment banker who is “serving Jesus as the Treasurer of the state”. That may be your idea of a representative, but it’s not ours.
Jimmy & Hugo