This morning the National Trust announced it would enter into lease negotiations for the Artillery Drill Hall with Sunset Events. The Fly by Night Musicians Club have been given 6 months notice.
This decision by the Trust Board will be no doubt a controversial decision and really hard on the good people at the Fly, who I suspect will be gutted.
But once the dust settles it could be a cloud with silver lining.
Sunset will no doubt do a great job of running the Drill Hall as a music venue and their connections with east coast venues and touring companies means we will see more touring acts in central Fremantle as a result.
A really important next step will be working with the Fly by Night Musicians Club to get them as seamlessly as possible into another venue in Fremantle. Whether it be Victoria Hall, the former Kulcha venue or something else – it is essential that this much loved and iconic music institution continues to thrive in Fremantle.
In my more optimistic moments I can imagine that an upside consequence of this hard period is that central Fremantle will have more live music than ever before with the newly located Fly by Night Musicians Club and Sunset Event’s two venues, in addition to great existing venues like Clancy’s, Xwray and Odd fellows
Fremantle could once again become the centre of original live music in Perth in a way we haven’t seen since the early 1990s when most the West End pubs were live music venues.
Let’s hope that’s how this all lands (media statement by Trust below).
NATIONAL TRUST MEDIA STATEMENT
New lease secures Artillery Drill Hall future
The Council of the National Trust of Australia (WA) has resolved to enter into lease negotiations with Sunset Events following the closure of Expressions of Interest in the Artillery Drill Hall in Fremantle and presentations.
National Trust Chairman, John Cowdell said the decision was the only way to ensure the Artillery Drill Hall would continue as a live performance and cultural venue available to local community groups which currently utilise the Hall.
“The ongoing heritage, social and community values of the Artillery Drill Hall including a commitment to investment in capital works and upgrades to protect the heritage of the building are priorities of the National Trust,” Mr Cowdell said.
“Sunset Events is an established music promoter with a proven track record for innovative and quality events which has also undertaken to invest in the conservation of the Artillery Drill Hall which is a registered State Heritage place,” he said.
“Sunset Events has offered significant capital expenditure on heritage conservation and refurbishment at the commencement of the new lease.
“The Trust also looked to a model that would involve a far greater utilisation of all areas of the building, offering a greater range of benefits to arts related groups, as well as an imaginative use of bar and coffee shop facilities which would be open to the public.
Mr Cowdell confirmed the National Trust had been concerned about the continued sustainability of the Fly by Night Musicians’ Club at the Artillery Drill Hall and welcomed Sunset Events offer to provide the Club with priority community bookings at the live venue.
“There is a viable future for the Fly by Night Musicians’ Club under Sunset Events commitment and through Mayor Pettitt’s offer of two alternate venues with the assistance of the City of Fremantle,” Mr Cowdell said.
“The National Trust had granted the Fly by Night Musicians’ Club a six month extension of its current lease to honour existing contracts and allow the Club to make appropriate re-location arrangements.
The National Trust has spent in excess of $750,000 on heritage conservation of the Artillery Drill Hall since it assumed responsibility for the State Heritage registered place a decade ago.
“The National Trust looks forward to the additional investment in the Artillery Drill Hall to secure the future of the building as a premier live performance venue in Fremantle,” Mr Cowdell said.
For more information please contact National Trust Communication Officer Gina Pickering on P 9321 6088 or M 0408 584 404.