Locked Out, But Not Blocked Out

By Luke Vincent:
Thousands of people marched in protest against Sydney’s lockout laws, as part of a huge rally organised by the advocacy group Keep Sydney Open.
Beginning at Belmore Park near Sydney’s Central Station, the Keep Sydney Open rally made its way through the CBD while paying tribute to venues, small businesses and jobs that have been lost since the lockout laws came into effect in February 2014.
The laws were enacted during an emergency sitting of Parliament in 2014 by then-Premier Barry O’Farrell following the shocking one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie. Keep Sydney Open’s Tyson Koh estimates that 15,000 people attended the rally, while NSW Police estimate it was closer to 5,000.
Music Feeds Reporter Emmy Mack explained why she was in attendance, saying, “It’s super important, especially for the live music scene. We need to show the government that they can’t baby us like this. They’re so out of touch, they need to open their eyes.”
Home Night club resident DJ Nicholas Mamone, who DJ’s on Fridays at the event ‘Voodoo’ said in an interview with me that “Everyone knows its hard enough to break into the music industry. Now it’s going to be impossible as so many clubs have closed down, DJ’s are fighting harder than ever to get their name out. It’s not right.”

In a year after the lockout laws were enacted, Professor Gordian Fulde — director of Emergency at St Vincent’s — said there was a 25 per cent drop in seriously injured patients presenting to hospital during its busiest period, between 6pm Friday and 6am Sunday.
Rain did not deter the rally which featured performances from the likes of local rockers Royal Headache and dance trio Art vs Science
Aside from performances, the rally also saw crowds listen to speeches from the likes of The Preatures’ front woman Isabella Manfredi, the Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner and DJ Nina Las Vegas.
The protest also produced some quality signs and outfits, including these masterpieces taken from Twitter and Instagram:

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Future Classic DJs rounded out the rally with some tunes, including DJ Tom Budin’s spot-on Keep Sydney Open theme song, which is appropriately titled Mike Baird demonstrating the creativity and music that will be lost if the lock out laws continue to be in place.
Premier Mike Baird, who is supportive of the laws, was a focus of the rally — with signs calling him “straight outta touch”. “I think everybody knows how I feel,” Mr. Baird said. “Now it’s time for the rest of the community to have their say, as we commence an independent review under Ian Callinan.”
Many pubs and clubs have banned Mr. Baird from entering their premises with music producer Tim Budin also creating a track fittingly titled Mike Baird, in retaliation to Sydney’s Lockout Laws
As bars and clubs continue to shut their doors and thousands of people become unemployed, Sydney’s nightlife will soon be compared to that of Pompeii. Frozen in time and only a distant memory.

An independent review of the lockout laws will report to NSW parliament by August.

Photo: Luke Vincent