Open letter – save Bondi Pavilion’s unique music and cultural qualities
To: The General Manager, Waverley Council
Cc: Malcolm Turnbull MP, Member for Wentworth
Cc: Gabrielle Upton MLA, Member for Vaucluse
Cc: Waverley Councillors [email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]
I am writing on behalf of Bondi Association for Arts and Music Inc (BAAM). We are a non profit organisation focused on supporting independent arts and music in Sydney’s East Side, including running a community based radio station Bondi Beach Radio
from North Bondi with over 60 live shows broadcasting 7am to midnight 7 days a week, and 130 volunteers.
As a regular user, supporter, and promoter of the existing arts and culture hub, we are very pleased to see Bondi Pavilion being renovated, however we would like to offer some comments to help save Bondi Pavilion’s unique cultural / music attributes.
Two key points we would like to note are:
1. Please save Bondi Pavilion’s world class music studio’s in a beach side location. The unique and inimitable location of the Bondi Pavilion Music Studio’s attracts some of Australia’s best bands and artists, who in turn provide inspiration to the emerging musicians and school students who share the facility. Relocating or removing the studio’s from the beachside location will remove an important contemporary cultural influence from the area as established artists lose their incentive to rehearse or record locally.
In recent times artists such as Rufus, Art v Science, Best Spacek, The Khanz, Keyim Ba, Misex, Skunkhour, Brendan Gallagher, Luca Bloom, Hein Cooper, Bones, Radical Son, Leisure Bandits, New Lovers, and Lusious Borich have used the space.
“Art vs Science wrote and recorded half of our latest album at the amazingly located Bondi Pavilion. To be able to be writing a song one moment, then having a swim or a coffee at a world famous beach is basically unheard of. It’s a genuinely unique situation. Most recording studios are like air raid bunkers with no light in the middle of some concrete industrial complex. Bondi Pavilion’s rehearsal and recording studios are beautifully located and even sound great.
Culture cannot be given a dollar value. That’s why it’s so easy for councils to overlook its importance. When you have a place that one minute has old ladies choirs rehearsing, then the next an ARIA winning band recording, then a meditation group, you know you’ve got something special. Bondi Pavilion is a home for culture in the East. Without it you’ll turn Bondi into yet another boring, dumb-downed vibe-less Double Bay replica – expensive cafes, boutique shops and as soulless as the concrete it’s built on. Culture is the life blood of any community. It’s what makes things interesting. It’s what makes living worth living. We NEED a space for music at the pavilion.“
Dan Mac, vocals, guitars, keyboards for Art vs Science
“As a musical artist I’ve got to say that the Bondi Pavillion is one of the reasons why myself and my band have got to where we are today. The rehearsal studio is where myself and my other band members got the inspiration for alot of the songs and vibe mostly because of the location of where the Pavilion is. Location is such an important part of being an artist. I’ve recorded and rehearsed in alot of different places over the years and the Pavilion is definitely one of the best locations I’ve ever got the chance to inspire myself. One of the songs we recorded there “Hold Me Again
“, won us best video of the year for the Australian Independent Music Awards, which was really unexpected but only possible because of where we rehearsed and recorded it. In saying all of this it would be a real shame to let such an incredible space go to waste as just another Cafe or retail store. Don’t let Bondi become just another beach in the world. People come to Bondi because it’s Bondi.”
Pukz Bowman, vocalist and guitarist for the The Leisure Bandits.
2. Please make some amendments to the Pavilion Courtyard plans to save Bondi Pavilion’s flexibility of use as a circa 2,000 venue for cultural festivals. Repositioning and adapting the proposed auditorium to enable it to function as an outdoor stage with shade / roof for patrons preserves an important circa 2,000 person venue. Infrastructure forms a large part of ticket prices for public entertainment. The Pavilion currently fills a gap in the market for 500-2,500 person events.
Below 500 persons can be accommodated at nearby locations including the always musically supportive Jam Gallery
at Bondi Junction, or Beach Road Hotel
. Above 2,500 persons and the additional cost of infrastructure required to stage an event outside on the grass (staging, fencing, toilets) starts to be able to be spread across ticket prices in a meaningful way. However between 500 and 2,500 persons is where the Pavilion has been filling a community service point for a number of festivals.
Using the recent Latin American Festival
as an example, a successful multi cultural family oriented event, the cost of main stage, fencing, large marquee shade / shelter of circa $30,000 spread across 1,000 attendees equates to $30 a person. This is the difference between charging $45 a ticket and $15 a ticket, making such an event very accessible for families and the broader community. Building this consideration and flexibility in to the Pavilion refurbishment as a permanent part of the infrastructure is an extension of the existing use, and something that will benefit the community far into the future.
Attached is an image suggesting how this could potentially be achieved (please disregard the finishing materials illustrated, we are just looking to highlight the concept).
We have a number of music and design professionals providing their passion and time to Bondi Association for Arts and Music Inc, who would be more than happy to present to the architects or design committee as appropriate.