All posts tagged venue

  • triple j mag story: ‘How To Throw A Warehouse Party’, June 2011

    A short feature for triple j mag’s 50th issue. Click the below image for a closer look, or read the article text underneath.


    How to: Throw a warehouse party

    Think it’s just a matter of finding a space and asking some bands? Here’s how two different operators went about it

    Phil Laidlaw is a co-founder of the Brisbane independent venue Lofly Hangar, which opened in 2007 in the residential suburb of Red Hill and held 100 events before closing in late 2010. Built on the warehouse model of booking cool bands and inviting friends to come party (BYO alcohol), the Hangar attracted more than 300 paying guests a month at its peak.

    Did you rent the space legally?

    The venue was rented as a recording and rehearsal space, and we had public liability coverage for those two elements of the business. We did look at getting public liability for events, but it was prohibitively expensive. There were a lot of requirements, like having security present at every event. So from the beginning we were operating as a private party at a residence, and we never had any problems.

    What worked for Hangar?

    Our sound gear. People will come if it’s an awesome warehouse, but they won’t keep coming back if it sounds shit. Having said that, you don’t have to start with the most awesome gear. You can build it up over time. It’s also important to keep some control over who you invite at the start, and try and establish a culture in the space that’s made up of your friends and associates before it gets too big.

    What did you learn?

    The earliest wake-up call was how loud it was for the neighbourhood. After a few shows, we realised we needed to do quite a bit more soundproofing.

    Hangar’s door fee was always $10. Why?

    You’ve got to decide if you want to be in it for the glory or the money. [laughs] It’s not a great way to make a stack of cash, but it’s a great way to have a really good time. It’s a good aim to keep it sustainable.

    Advice for aspiring warehouse party starters?

    Collect a group of friends that you can rely on to help you out, because you won’t be able to do it by yourself. It’s best done by a group of like-minded people. You’ll always need someone to run the door, or help clean up.


    Another Brisbane-based crew, Sceneless, threw two warehouse parties on consecutive nights in October 2010. Whitelight was warmly lit and headlined by The Jezabels, while Dappled Cities headlined the UV-lit Blacklight. The events were hosted at a converted warehouse-for-hire and attracted a combined total of 800 people. Although attendees couldn’t BYO alcohol like they could at the Hangar, an arrangement with the nearby X&Y Bar allowed Sceneless to obtain a limited licence for the two nights.

    Did you consider anything like public liability, or were the events considered private parties?

    Yes, the venue owner had public liability insurance. It was included in the venue rental.

    What worked?

    The concept – an exclusive boutique, two genre, mini-music festival run over two nights, in an exclusive venue, subtly tailored to each night. We had two respected interstate headliners supported by mainly local acts, from newcomers to breakthrough acts.

    What didn’t work?

    We had more security than was required… We understood that this was the first official warehouse party in Queensland, and so being an unknown quantity it required some kind of official surveillance. We hope that now a precedent has been set and since the crowd were well behaved, we can continue to put on events without as much of a heavy ‘Big Brother’ presence.


    Boring but essential stuff to think about

    • Security. Just how big could this party get? And what are you going to do if it gets Corey-style out of hand?
    • Talk to the authorities. If you’d rather your first meeting with the police and fire brigade didn’t come when they were shutting you down, think about letting them know what you’re planning. It’s only manners, and they may well have some good advice.
    • Limited liability insurance. Do you have it? Does the venue have it? Who’s gonna be responsible if someone falls down those lethal-looking stairs?
    • ‘Donations’? OK, so this is just a ‘regular’ party, but you’d like your ‘guests’ to kick in a ‘donation’ to cover expenses. Remember, there’s a big difference legally between a donation and a cover charge.
    • Locatio.n So, you’ve found the perfect venue. Except that it’s in a residential area, isn’t adequately soundproofed and is marked for demolition. Hmmm. Think again. Make sure the venue meets all the relevant codes and is well away from angry neighbours. And that you have actually have permission to be there.
    • Local council planning laws. Some of these might apply to your shindig, so do your homework.
    • Drinks. BYO alcohol? A liquor licence? Again, do your research.
  • The Music Network story: ‘Brisbane’s Live Tempo Escalates’, March 2010

    A story for The Music Network about a new initiative for emerging Brisbane bands.

    Click the image for a full-size version, or read it below.

    'Brisbane's Live Tempo Escalates' story for The Music Network by Andrew McMillenBrisbane’s Live Tempo Escalates

    A rebranded Brisbane venue seeks to provide emerging live artists with opportunities to build their fanbase from the grassroots up.

    Situated at the corner of Brunswick and McLachlan streets in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is The Tempo Hotel, the newly-rebranded venue better known to locals as Dooley’s or, in recent years, Bar 388. Last month it was purchased by hotel operator – and avowed live music fan – Steve Hammond, who also owns another high profile property in the Queensland capital: Chalk in Woolloongabba, and previously, The Regatta in Toowong.

    In 2008, Chalk became the new home of acoustic showcase fRETfEST, which was established in 1997 by Alan Buchan. Based on the strength of that relationship and Buchan’s unwavering passion for providing young musicians with the chance to strut their stuff onstage, Hammond offered the fRETfEST founder the chance to curate ‘Escalate’, a weekly platform for emerging bands and artists to play in a public venue before both Brisbane’s live music fans, and industry tastemakers with an interest in scoping out local talent.

    Held on Tuesday afternoons from 3pm onwards, Buchan’s role as ‘Escalate’ musical curator and general artist go-between is to inform young Brisbane musos about the opportunity: a big stage, a hefty PA, professional sound and lighting, and cheap food and drinks. Though the bands who play ‘Escalate’ won’t be paid at this stage, Buchan points out that the venue is a block from the heart of The Valley, where public opportunities for performing artists are often stifled by accessibility and venue policies.

    The new event is a platform upon which to build an audience, in addition to the bar’s existing live entertainment on other nights of the week. At the event’s pre-launch last Tuesday, Buchan told The Music Network: “If we discover enough bands through this avenue, then we’ll look to expand this onto other nights.” In line with the curator’s goals of connecting young Brisbane performers regardless of their style of playing, ‘Escalate’ is not genre-specific: in his words, everyone from “metal to Irish folk” is invited to play.

    “With ‘Escalate’, we simply want to provide the opportunity for good bands to play,” Buchan suggests. “If you’re bringing your mates, if you’re easy to work with, and you’ve got a great sound – we’ll include you. Ultimately, what we’re aiming to do is provide more opportunities the most reliable bands with the best sound and attitude.”

    Tempo owner Steve Hammond had music on his mind when purchasing the venue. “I thought, ‘where can young bands these days get a start these days?” he says. “[They] can’t get a spot on a Friday or Saturday because that’s the Valley venues’ best times, when the public want to come in. I went to Alan Buchan and asked how we could get this off the ground, and here we are. This is the pre-launch event; we haven’t hit [‘Escalate’] with much advertising just yet, but we’ll get it right. It’s all ‘suck and see’ at the moment.”

    Beginning at 3pm Tuesday and allocating up to 90 minutes per act, ‘Escalate’ is aimed at showcasing ‘entry level bands’; as defined by Buchan, “those who haven’t got a record deal yet”. The event is inclusive for bands of all ages; both covers and original are favoured, though the curator states a preference for original acts.

    While the whole initiative is still very much “in start-up mode”, as Buchan puts it, Hammond hints at a longview for the new initiative which should be attractive to local acts: “Every month we’d like to pick a couple of the best bands from ‘Escalate’ and stick them into a paid weekend support slot.”

    The Tempo Hotel, Fortitude Valley, BrisbaneBeyond fRETfEST, Buchan is a stage manager at the annual Woodford Folk Festival, which now allocates a few hours per year to the curator’s hottest fRETfEST picks. He understands that the music industry is built upon relationships and communication. “My role with ‘Escalate’ is to connect young bands with Steve and his facility here, to open the doors for them to come in and play.”

    As the first performer at ‘Escalate’ prepares to take the stage, Buchan concludes: “It’s exciting to be part of a grassroots movement that supports original live music. I’m looking forward to escalating Brisbane’s best new bands, and giving them the opportunity to take their music and their experience to the next level.”

    Web: ‘Escalate’ on

    This story was published in The Music Network issue 779 on 22 March 2010.