Time to make some noise about Newcastle's live music scene

TURN IT UP: Jet on stage at Wests NEX last week. Picture: Paul Dear
TURN IT UP: Jet on stage at Wests NEX last week. Picture: Paul Dear

IF you love live music, you know Newcastle has a musical heartbeat.

This blue-collar town gave birth to international bands like Screaming Jets and Silverchair and arguably helped mould Cold Chisel through its passion for pub-rock before the rest of the country took notice.

Without question, the days when Hunter Street was lined with pubs pumping out live music are long over. But the city has also diversified. It’s more sophisticated.

Despite what the naysayers would have you believe, there’s fantastic music performed across Newcastle every week.

The Cambridge, Hamilton Station and Lass O’Gowrie Hotels book national and local acts in various genres multiple nights a week, then there’s the Small Ballroom, Civic Theatre, Wests NEX, 48 Watt Street, the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and the Bar On The Hill offering more sporadic shows.

If you love blues and roots there’s the Wickham Park and Stag and Hunter Hotels and anyone whose been to Lizotte’s knows why food and music is a delightful combination. Jazz fans have a home at the Grand Hotel or Coal and Cedar.

There’s also plenty of savvy young creatives working on exciting projects like Darby Street Live and Softys Clubhouse. 

But, as Newcastle is “revitalised” through redevelopment there are threats to the night-time economy, especially as the residential population expands in the CBD.

The Newcastle City Council have launched a survey to gauge the views of Novocastrians for their forthcoming Live Music Strategy.

It also calls on punters to make suggestions about where opportunities exist to expand and foster live music. 

Popular suggestions so far include relaxing Newcastle’s lock-out laws, improving late-night public transport around venues and utilising the city’s various community halls and open public spaces such as Foreshore Park for more live entertainment.

Feedback from the survey will be presented in a Newcastle live music workshop to be held later this year. The findings will also be included in the draft Live Music Strategy due in November. The Newcastle music survey can be found on the council’s website and closes on June 17.

C’mon, make some noise.