NEWCASTLE’S live music task force is claiming a major win after The Cambridge's owners pledged to keep the doors open as a music venue for the foreseeable future.
Fears for the future of its iconic stage emerged when the pub was listed for sale in June last year. It was advertised with a concept plan depicting a 153-apartment tower making use of the site’s 60-metre height limit.
The pub’s co-owner, John Palmieri, said on Friday that any curtain call for the venue’s longstanding reputation for live music would be premature.
He said he was surprised at the “vitriol” of punters when the potential to lose the pub emerged.
“Certainly for the immediate future it will be staying a hotel,” he said.
“[We’re] keeping it as a live venue for the foreseeable future because it’s been very successful, the current operators are doing a great job.”
Mr Palmieri said things may change as Newcastle West evolved, but expected the pub’s cachet to grow in the area’s evolution. “I think what’s fair to say is the intrinsic value of the asset as a provider of entertainment and hospitality, that’s going to grow,” he said.
“Ultimately it’s all about demand, and the fact that at the moment the community is attending the pub.”
The Live Music Taskforce held its first meeting in Wickham last month after it was born out of a Labor roundtable on the state of music in Newcastle in February.
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said it was “absolutely a win, for the community and live music” for the iconic venue to remain in place hosting shows.
“The Cambridge is one of the last legendary live music venues in Newcastle and it was imperative to the task force to have it remain,” Mr Crakanthorp said.
“To fans of The Cambridge who feared the worst, the icon of live music in Newcastle will remain for the time being.”
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the council was working hard to bolster the scene that forms a foundation of the night-time economy worth more than $1.4 billion annually, employing more than 12,000 people.
“Novocastrian live music lovers will breathe an enormous sigh of relief to know that the iconic Cambridge Hotel is set to remain a live music venue for the foreseeable future,” she said.
“We’ve taken real action to deliver positive change for live music in Newcastle.”