The spirit of pirate radio lives on in Sydney’s digital age with BBR
Pre internet pirate radio in London in the 90’s was the hub of culture marketing. The level of new and original music being generated was as prolific as it is today in the digital age, and between raves and pirate radio, the underground audience was huge. Music brought together people from a range of different backgrounds and circumstances in a unique way, and socially, creatively, and culturally was the basis for inspiration for many in a golden age of food, art, fashion, design.
Sydney in 2016 has some parallels. The culturally void and anachronistic state government has been unable to understand or keep up with the evolution of a global urban environment in the inner city, and has resorted to legislation, regulation, and planning policy encouraging mass gentrification and the wholesale destruction of the night-time economy. The unprecedented closure of so many iconic bars and nightclubs has pushed contemporary music back deep into the underground, with word of mouth raves flourishing in private premises, industrial zones, and parklands.
Emerging digital broadcasters like Bondi Beach Radio (BBR) have become a conduit for collaboration and the expression of new and reformed boundaries in music, with the formulaic blandness of global computer algorithm based streaming platforms or the shock jock crassness of local commercial FM stations being shunned for a raw and authentic pirate radio influenced live show grid instead. BBR alone manages to support a live showgrid of over 60 weekly shows producing over 130 hours of eclectic diverse cultural content through its unique collaborative organisation structure, and draws inspiration from the likes of Red Light Radio in Amsterdam and NTS Radio in London, both cities who have recently appointed night mayors to support their night time economies and help resist the form of cultural suffocation Sydney is enduring.
It is no coincidence that the handful of surviving venues in Sydney including the Oxford Arts Factory in Darlinghurst, Soda Factory and Play Bar in Surry Hills, and BBR’s neighbour in the EastSide Sydney Music Hub at Kings Cross, The World Bar, all channel aspects of the freedom, expression, and authenticity of the 90’s pirate radio and rave scene. Like the highly prized truffles cultivating on the roots of oak trees in damp forests, these local scenes cultivating around the grass roots of Sydney’s incredibly resilient creative world are the ‘diamonds in the kitchen’ of what remains of a unique culture. It is up to all of us to search for and uncover the nutrition for the soul they continue to offer.
BBR is hosting a showcase event SOUND by BBR at The World Bar Saturday 16th July from 8pm highlighting the quality and diversity of the local music scene found on the stations ever evolving showgrid. Check it out if you can