Kia Ora, The following is a press release from Save Dunedin Live Music with comments on the closure of Starters Bar Dunedin.

The loss of Starters Bar is a heavy blow to the longevity and vibrancy of the Dunedin music scene. Starters was a well-run venue and we feel for the staff who worked there and who must be keenly feeling the loss of employment, especially in the current era. Moreover, as it currently stands Starters Bar was the only venue filling the gap for mid-level touring bands with specific technical and capacity requirements and with its closure many tours will have to cross Dunedin shows off their lists.

In addition, the OUSA-ran venue filled an important role in the university’s musical contribution to the city as a launching pad for bands formed on campus and as a home to O-week events, the university Battle of the Bands, music industry workshops and a large number of events designed to foster inclusion, diversity and promotion of music in Dunedin.

Many promoters across Aotearoa struggle to find venues in Dunedin that are economically viable to include in tours and the closure of Starters Bar will have an immediate and very real impact on the kinds of shows that come to Dunedin, reducing opportunities for local bands to be support acts and thus form the relationships that help further their musical careers.

This latest blow to our music ecosystem only reinforces Save Dunedin Live Music’s will to ensure that the music community band together and demand that the importance of a vibrant music scene recognized and encouraged in Dunedin and that it is reflected in the planning of the city and the support offered to the arts in Dunedin now and into the future. We have very few venues left and when they are gone they are very difficult to get back. It needs to be a priority to work with owners of historic buildings to help preserve these spaces. Meanwhile, there are currently numerous barriers to establishing new venues in Dunedin, and we hope the DCC continues to work towards facilitating a vibrant city so that people like the Starters team can continue to provide both safe spaces for entertainment to the young people in our city; and opportunities for our young musicians.

Save Dunedin Live Music

“The loss of Starters Bar will be a heavy blow to the Dunedin music scene, particularly for our young music fans and young musicians. We need to do more to protect our existing venues and to facilitate the opening of new venues.”

David Bennett Save Dunedin Live Music spokesperson

Latest News or check out the BLOG

Progress, The DCC has committed funding to look in to the Live music action plan that we proposed to council on the 24/5, this is a great indication that the council are taking the matter seriously and firmly puts our foot in the door for building a fairer more vibrant CBD and music scene.

A huge thanks to everyone that has been sharing and signing the Petition, thing’s are starting to happen and we have been engaged in several meeting with various parties within the council and are making some headway into getting this issue on the agenda.

The ODT has ran another piece concerning the issues with DWTT, be sure to give it a read, HERE and second one HERE.

Radio One’s Sebastian Rice-Walsh has also put a piece together about the petition and had a chat with one of the team about the goals and catalyst for the campaign. Credit to R1 and Sebastian for helping to get the word out, give it a listen below.

The Critic has also written a piece about the incident that has made long simmering tensions boil over in the Dunedin music community, it’s a good read, check it out here.

Following the action taken by the DCC in response to the previous Hui at the Dog With Two Tails, We are planning more community discussions around the details of the action plans and things we may have missed and the outcomes the community should expect from the action plan, Dates coming soon.

Radio One – News Piece
OARsome Mornings 18/05/2021
OAR Arts Hub Discussion 10/06/2021

The Action Plan Proposed to the DCC 24/05/2021

The Sound of Dunedin: Live Music Action Plan

By Dr Fairleigh Evelyn Gilmour and Dr Marissa Kaloga (on behalf of SAVE DUNEDIN LIVE MUSIC).

Dunedin is one of only a few cities in the entire world known for an identifiable music sound and is recognized internationally for its amazingly talented musicians.

The Dunedin City Council’s Arts Strategy, Ara Toi Ōtepoti, “formally recognises both the intrinsic value of arts and culture, and the value of the creative sector as an industry of critical importance in the knowledge economy”. It “aims to position Dunedin as one of the world’s great small cities for arts and culture”.

Recent events have suggested a need to engage further with the music community to ensure that we continue to protect, cherish and promote the live music of Dunedin. A vibrant and enriching music scene needs to engage with the entire music ecosystem – from those first starting out right up to established bands; and needs to support all types of music.

In this submission, we are asking The DCC to set aside funding to investigate and develop a Live Music Action Plan that spans the entire music ecosystem. We further request that the plan is developed in collaboration with the music community and that it covers the following points.

  1. The Little Venues: Engaging with the district plan to protect live music venues from arbitrary noise control intervention;
  2. The Medium Venues: Prioritizing a medium-size venue for live music in Dunedin;
  3. Supporting rehearsal spaces;
  4. Events: Streamlining application and approvals processes for music festivals and events;
  5. Furthering the promotion of music initiatives; and
  6. Developing a long-term plan that includes considerations about the future a growing city.

Even the biggest bands started out by practicing relentlessly in rehearsal spaces, playing at tiny venues and then moving onto mid-sized venues (and then big venues!). Even the littlest cities need to thoughtfully and proactively ensure they can grow the vibrancy, richness and diversity of their music culture. In this section, I expand on each of the key points:

  1. THE LITTLE VENUES. We ask that the DCC provide planning solutions to enable growth in the local live music industry. One example is the noise control issue. Currently the DCC relies exclusively on the RMA when engaging with noise complaints. While the RMA defines excessive noise, it does not define ‘reasonable’. The remit of a noise control officer is actually to work with the person producing the noise to turn it down to a ‘reasonable level’. Other councils around NZ have adopted guidelines as to what is reasonable in which part of the city and at what time (including, for example, Wellington and Christchurch). This is done as part of the district plans. The DCC are able to undertake a variation in the District Plans to accommodate live music in the CBD zone. We ask that the DCC explore this at the soonest available opportunity.
  2. THE MEDIUM VENUES. Recent explorations into a mid-size venue in Dunedin were targeted only at theatre and did not consult with the music community. The options put forward in the 10-year plan DO NOT address the real issue for the music community which is the absence of a concert venue which can cater for between 500-800. We ask that the council urgently explore a more equitable solution.
  3. REHEARSAL SPACES. Bands need to practice somewhere. City councils across New Zealand – from Palmerston North to Hamilton, from Auckland to Wellington – have either council-run or council-funded rehearsal rooms that can be booked at minimal cost. We ask that the council investigate options in Dunedin.
  4. EVENTS. While other cities in New Zealand have worked to facilitate using green zones for events, Dunedin currently has a time-consuming process that prohibits people from using our spaces for innovative and culturally enriching events. We ask that the council explore how to streamline the application and approvals process to put on events in these zones.
  5. PROMOTION. We ask the council to explore how they can support commercial opportunities for artists across all levels of the music scene AND
  6. THE FUTURE. We ask that the DCC develop a clear way forward, particularly in terms of district planning, that will facilitate the growth of a vibrant city of music. This includes considering long-term how the city can grow additional artistic hubs (outside of the CBD). We also ask the DCC to investigate how to approach regulations around development such that medium density housing can co-exist with a vibrant city (through exploring, for example, noise insulation requirements, as Wellington Council has done).

We have already appreciated the council’s thoughtful and constructive approach to our raising of these issues and we look forward to continuing to work with the council.

Want to help more?

Share the Petition http://chng.it/XzHwVdDKwk

We are looking for help in the form of graphic/web design people who could assist with a Social media overlay to help people show their support for the campaign.

Email : Savedunedinlivemusic@gmail.com if you think you can help.