There has been a lot of confusion recently surrounding all ages gigs in Newcastle. It started with The Loft, then Hombre, then Drone, then the Commons, all places for kids in town to get their first taste of the live music industry and maybe even catch a glimpse of an act they love. But with the controversial barring of underage music events from the Commons, what now?
Before I go into that however, I wanted to briefly touch on the fact that underage music venues, provide more than a place for kids to see their favourite bands. It gives underage artists a platform to hone their craft before they enter the crazy competitive arena that is the Newcastle Live music scene (noise complaints tend to shut down venues reeeaalllll quick in this town meaning that) there are only a few spots each week to grab.
All ages venues also give teenagers who have a taste for the music industry, a chance to see what exactly that might mean for them in the future. Wanna be a music journo? How can you review a show if you’re not allowed in? – Underage gigs. Love the technicality of the business and just want someone to show you the ropes? Underage gigs. Even if you’re a wannabe booking agent or manager or anything else that exists behind the people who strum guitars for money, underage venues are the starting point. You cannot be, what you cannot see, and the music industry isn’t all about the people in the band. All ages venues give kids a shot at doing something they may never have had the opportunity to do. Look at Andrew Brassington from Boys Don’t Cry for example. Most of us wish we had that kind of work ethic and he is a part of a select pool of invidicuals who will be the live music future of this town.
Yes, I can hear you all now… (echoed by the comment section) That underage music venue was just a place for kids to cause a ruckus, to muckup and get themselves into trouble. There was underage drinking, and a general rowdiness that I won’t tolerate in my town… (Said most likely by an individual who was photographed torching a car during the Star riot in 79. Here’s a newsflash. Kids who want to drink when they are underage, will. Kids who want to “cause a ruckus” will. Regardless of whether they are doing laps in their Mum’s 1990 Nissan Pulsar on the foreshore (I mean it’s a race track now after all), sitting in the carpark of Stockland Glendale, or Bar Beach, or Nobbys or going late night shopping at Charlestown square, these same kids will do just that. But the kids who really do want to simply spend time with their mates, watch a band, get engrossed in a really cool part of the community, they miss out.
Thankfully, word came out earlier in the week, after what I am assuming was a very successful all ages show at the Cambridge on Friday night, that more all ages shows would be happening in the future. This is a WONDERFUL win for the live music community of Newcastle. Especially at a venue like the Cambridge that can cater for underage gigs. You know, things like security, a safe and monitored venue and perhaps even no pass outs etc. Smart venues know, if they get kids on the band wagon of going to live giggos now, they will be ten times more likely to go in the future (that is, if people don’t jump on the gentrification train too soon, please we love the grittiness of our town!).
Let’s get behind any project that is going to encourage underage live music venues. Won’t somebody think of the children!