A lot has been said about the new name and direction for Islington’s Gateway Hotel. With the doors of the hotel set to close for a facelift ahead of a reboot under a new name, The Newcastle Hotel, there’s a real chance the new management may focus on live music experiences when they reopen later in the year. Below we take a look at 3 reasons the hotel’s new direction may be part of the antidote to the possibility of innercity live music venues closing down and killing our local scene.
The Small Ballroom
It’s becoming rare in this town to find a venue outside of the usual suspects (Cambo, Wicko, Stag, Lass) with an in-house PA, lighting rig, sound engineer and green room. Shit, even a stage to play on is quickly becoming a luxury – we’ve all seen a band play under the TAB, right? Well, the backroom of The Newcastle Hotel (known as The Small Ballroom) has all that… And there are no apartments being built around it. So it should be pretty safe to assume that the new management would be able to utilise it 7 nights a week if the audience and desire for live music experiences are there.
If we’re worried about inner-city venues not being able to host bands who like to “turn it up to 11” due to their proximity to new apartments then The Newcastle Hotel & The Small Ballroom have the potential to take up the challenge.
Islington is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant communities in the Hunter. It’s full of cool, funky and independent retailers who have been successful in creating a real scene around their business endeavours.
The Newcastle Hotel will be a huge part of this community. And if we’re talking geographics, the close proximity of The Newcastle Hotel to The Hamilton Station Hotel and public transport options in the area could make for a very attractive night out for local live music lovers.
Catch a bit of the local support act at The Hamo before heading to The Newy (we’re not gonna be able to stop ourselves calling it that) for a headliner. Then once you’re done, you can hit a train or bus home. Sounds like a pretty good night out to us.
A New Inclusive Culture
With a clean slate, The Newcastle Hotel has the real potential to develop its own culture of safe, inclusive live music experiences.
We’re talking all ages shows that teach kids what’s appropriate behaviour at live music events. We’re talking new policies that encourage patrons to look out for one another and call out dickheads who ruin it for everyone. And we’re talking about a diverse range of live music and entertainment experiences that could welcome all sorts of audiences to the venue.
So where to from here?
What will The Newcastle Hotel bring to the table? We don’t know, we’ll be waiting to see just like many others. But in light of what’s been said, we think it’s important to have the conversation about the awesome possibilities the new look hotel will bring.