What a year it's been for the Tote

What a year it's been for the Tote

What a year it's been for the ToteTUESDAY January 2011 marks the first anniversary of Collingwood live music venue the Tote calling last drinks, after a protracted battle about trading hours and restrictions with the Liquor Licensing Commission.

Six months later, the venue reopened under new owners - Jon Perring, Andy Portokallis and Sam Crupi - and reappointed the same staff. Tote band booker Amanda Palmer, who a year ago pulled together a phenomenal, 26-act farewell gig in less than three days, reflects on the past year.

"This time last year we were all losing the Tote as well as our jobs,"she says. "It was an amazingly emotional time and I think you'll still find me at age 70 sitting in the Tote front bar talking about that time and the Tote's last-drinks gig. I'm still blown away by all that's occurred in the year since, from the SLAM rally to the Tote reopening and seeing live music in the band room once again to being reinstated in my dream job. It has been a great new chapter in the Tote's history and I'm thrilled the place is back and here to stay."

"The Tote closure was a catalyst that kicked people out of their complacency and has led to some wonderful changes to contemporary music in Victoria with a lot more, hopefully, a lot more to come,"he says.

The new Liberal state government is yet to announce its full policy on contemporary live music. The Premier and Minister for the Arts, Ted Baillieu, says he is a music fan and even visited the Tote in the 1980s.

"While I don't have much time to see bands these days, I have long been a supporter of Melbourne's wonderful live music scene and in particular I'm a big fan of Deborah Conway and Paul Kelly,"he says.

"We will ensure that regulations and red tape do not hold back the genuine and creative growth of Melbourne's music industry and we will make Melbourne's music scene safer with more police, a zero-tolerance approach to drunken violence, and sentencing that reflects the community's expectations."

Such statements, however, seem to indicate Baillieu continues to link violence with music venues, despite six months of research that proved the opposite.

The new director of Liquor Licensing, Mark Brennan, told The Age in June 2010 that live music is not dangerous and does not necessitate extra security at venues and that he would not be imposing blanket security licence conditions on live venues.

The state government needs to take the live music industry more seriously. It should no longer be marginalised as it is clearly appreciated by the majority of the population and a $1 billion-plus growing industry.

Contemporary music components are programmed into major arts festivals around the country. It only makes sense that the government commit to more funding for new music programs here in Victoria, which is renowned for having Australia's most vibrant music culture.

Mary Mihelakos
January 14, 2011 - 5:34PM
[email protected]
PO Box 1427, Fitzroy North Vic 3068

❊Venue | Location ❊

 The Tote Hotel [show]

⊜ 71 Johnston Street   Collingwood | Map
71 Johnston StreetCollingwoodVictoria
(03) 9419 5320

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❊ Web Links ❊

What a year it's been for the Tote 

Source: www.smh.com.au


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