A series of ‘last farewell’ gigs were planned at The Commons community venue, but now it looks like the last song has been sung.
The final two gigs planned for The Commons in December have been moved to The Cambridge Hotel.
The move came after a letter from Newcastle City Council warned The Commons that legal action would be taken if music concerts were played at the venue again.
Andrew Brassington, who organised The Commons all-age gigs through his booking company Boys Don’t Cry Collective, said the whole community was disappointed to lose a space that “had become home for so many people”.
“It’s really disappointing to have it taken away from us like this, we felt like we were making progress in getting the scene going and now it’s a struggle again,” he said. “It was like a ‘Summer of Love’ for all-age music in Newcastle, and we didn’t want it to end.”
“We just want to let the kids play. It’s so important to have the community and council backing the development of music in Newcastle, and it feels like we’ve been left in the dark.”
Plans now turn to the future of the all-age music scene, and where The Commons community space can next call home.
“There’s a lot of ideas being thrown around about where the space as a whole can go,” Brassington said. “There’s bowling clubs or the old Loft space, but it’s really just up to the powers that be now.”
As well as the impact on all-age music, the closure of Fellowship House as a community space has left The Commons Cafe without a location to run their ‘all-access’ space.
The organisers announced through their Facebook page that they would be forced “to close the doors for a while” and thanked the community “for being so patient”.
“We’re trying to decide what the future holds for this ever expanding movement of the Commons in Newcastle, it’s resources and y’all [sic], the legendary humans that make up this growing community,” the Facebook post said.
Talks are on the cards for the future as well, with Newcastle City Council stating that they recognise “the importance of a safe, all ages venue for live music in Newcastle, and the many benefits that come from such community spaces”.
A council spokesperson revealed: “We are in the process of reaching out to our Youth Council to assist in the identification of a suitable location of another all ages live music venue. It is important, however, to understand that premises used for the purposes of a live music venue have specific requirements, including but not limited to fire safety. These are not discretionary and are a matter of public health and safety”.
The council spokesperson also commented on the closure of The Commons and the conclusion of the live music events.
“Initially, council investigated The Commons property in response to complaints from neighbours, which then led to the discovery of the safety issues and lack of appropriate DA approval. Council and the Uniting Church are in discussions regarding exisitng and proposed development at The Commons.”
“Also, the Uniting Church voluntarily made the decision to close down The Commons; it was not shut down by council. We are open to working with groups in the community to provide counsel and assistance on how their current facility may be upgraded to meet safety requirements or how they might find alternate facilities within Newcastle.”
The next two Boys Don’t Cry events will now be held at The Cambridge Hotel.
The open-invite meeting to discuss the future of The Commons will be held on December 6 from 6.30pm at Fellowship House.