So you want to own a live music venue 2

Bar Broadway.

Continuing down the venue route.  I must shine the spotlight on a couple 3 or 4 venues for various reasons.  This little gem located on Broadway & Harris.

Here in this venue many things changed for me personally.

It was a venue Adam and I had in our portfolio.  Adam I really admired for many reasons.

He drove an old 69 Mustang.  I thought that was pretty cool.

But above all. He was truly a good person with no agenda regarding booking the bands. He simply loved music and being part of the show. 

I had the band management as well. Other people we brought into our business all had other side gigs.

Adam as I said. Did what we did to make a difference.  One of the real good guys along the way.

So we had a guy running our end of the business for the venue. For all the venues for that matter.

Each had dedicated person or persons.

 That role meant you were on our behalf ,essentially totally responsible for all contact with the venue. The venue manager.

Coordinating the shows.  Sound and lighting. Sound engineers. Door person cashier. Money handing on our behalf. Essentially insuring all the dots were joined.

I got a call one day from the venue manager.

Yelling at me. He claimed he couldn’t work with the person we had onsite from our end and on further investigation, I found the feeling was mutual from our guy.

The problem and if your going to operate in entertainment and wear multiple hats. You must be able to separate your self from other roles and prioritise the gig you for hired for at the time.  It’s a skill Id learned years before. 

In this case the dispute between the 2 were central to our guy with a band management head (same as me) not backing the venue when required. 

Artists are at best tricky to deal with at any given time. Give an inch they’ll take a mile. When your running a venue. 

Everything must run light tight and structured and this venue manager ran the business possibly a little harder than most.

However, Id got to know him well.

Still do to this day. He was old school. Rock & Roll road warrior. Came up in the early years same as I did.  We played hard. But we worked hard. The show will go on no matter what.

So long  & short of it I had to move our guy on. I think he left us. I can’t honestly remember.

Business is business. Always will be with me.

So, I took this venue under my wing. Made it a priority. I sensed it was to be something special and quite frankly. The owner of the pub and the venue manager stated. “If I didn’t take the role personally “? They’d ditch us.  We didn’t want that.

Very quickly on installing myself in the venue.

My artist representation business got really hectic.

Id signed 2 new bands on.

 And signed them to Festival records.  So, my time was limited on a daily basis. Id just bought a new house. I had 2 small children and I really loved being a Dad. And thankfully. To this very day Ill continually say admire with all my love & respect. I had the most supportive, strong adjusted independent partner in crime by my side. My wife. 

None of this journey could have happened without her. But time was limited?  So, I had a choice. Something had to give.

 I left the multiple venue business I had with Adam.

I kept Bar Broadway for the income at the insistence of the pub owner. He was a creature of habit. He liked and trusted me and wed made plans. Big plans.

I moved my office home. Ran the venue operations as normal from there along with the band rep business.

I was around home more to spend with kids which meant I wasn’t out of the loop family wise and I could help more around the house as my wife also ran her own business ,  but my night work increased.  

So, venue plans. The government in their wisdom decided to gift every hotel in NSW 30 poker machine licences.

Meant all pubs became a gambling den.  Gambling. poker machines etc had been regulated to Casinos or RSL and associated clubs.

Up to that point a hotels revenue was bar driven maybe with a bistro and naturally music in some form or manner

Patrons were largely driven in the door via entertainment.

 Now the option to grab easy some big bucks , there wasn’t a hotel owner out there  who was prepared to ignore this gift cash cow. The guys that owned and distributed poker machines.

Stormed in the door with all manner of unbeatable deals for the venue to take up to utilise their free poker machine licences. Which alone, just for the paper they were printed on became extremely valuable in them selves and became a trading commodity.

Stevie wonder could see this one coming.

Very quickly. Stages and areas dedicated to music were sliced in half, often removed to make way for poker machines.  It happened. It was essentially one of the great knives in the gut of live music. At least in NSW. 

So, I conferred with people in the same role as myself on behalf of other venues.

We couldn’t fight this one. We had to find a hook.

 I did.

The one thing Poker machines required for them to profit.

Were players.  Cash pigs.  I brokered a deal with the hotel owner.

 I’ll bring more people into your venue if you keep live music included. Further to that. Take some poker machine profit and put it back into refitting the second floor we had in the pub to an awesome live room. Now the owner?  I must say. A chronic alcoholic but nevertheless.

 A stickler for detail. He’d be at work every morning at 7am. Finish work at 3pm.

Be propping up the bar until he fell over but paid for every drink he had in his own bar.

He agreed to the deal and stuck to it.

Unlike a lot of hotels waiting on the multitude of customers to simply walk in the door and push cash through their machines. Didn’t happen.

We kept the pressure on driving people in via bands. They in turn fed the machines. The machines delivered. He was good as his word.

The Whitlam’s were singing “ Ban the pokies”   

He reinvested a couple of hundred grand into the top-level bar for a brand-new live room.

 I hated the poker machine process. Those things suck the life out of the community.

But they paid the bills and allowed the venue to prosper as a live music space.

But business was business and mine was the promoting of bands and live music whatever it takes in the face of change you must adapt or die.

We flourished! To the extent. The venue was sold for a record price. 9 million. At the time.  That was  serious money. The downside. The new owners didn’t give shit about music.

In fact, they hated it. Yet they bought a music hotel.

Total fuckwhit bistro hotel owners.  Within months.

The venue licensee whom had been very much a driving force in what we achieved.  Was gone. I was on the way out.

Bands were on the way out.  In that time though. New friends were made.  New talent had been discovered.  Sydney had the Olympics. The twin towers in New York came crashing down. The world in many ways had shifted on its access. Especially the music business.

And I was about to take another directional shift

Published by nicholasrice2

So? if youve landed here? You could well be in for a bit of wild ride. We're talking 35 odd years of music industry mayhem. Grew up in a very small town. 3 things happened to me at 14 years old that changed my life forever . I went down a working coalmine and hit my head on the ceiling . I witnessed the inside of a meat killing works. I saw my first ever live concert. "DEEP PURPLE. " (im talking original lineup). So at 14 i knew i was leaving that town. At 16. I shipped out of Dodge and so began the journey. Record Company employee. Artist manager . Venue owner / Operator. Some great stories, Great experiences , proud father of 2 . With 2 books in the making. Excerpts will be blogged. May or may not be in chronological order :). Ive realised my brain simply dosnt work that way. dyslexia! . Bad grammer will run free here. Read at will. Take from it what u wish. Ask questions if you think it will help

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