This year has not been a good one for live music venues in Australia.
Recently we’ve seen the announced closure of popular Geelong venue The National Hotel (popularly dubbed The Nash), the sale of two Brisbane venues (The Met and The Step Inn) and the forthcoming end of Melbourne late-night institution Pony.
Other venues in Victoria have also been threatened, with the possible introductions of mandatory ID scanners and a 1am curfew.
If that wasn’t bad enough, music giant Allans Billy Hyde has also gone into receivership, after efforts to sell the business failed and the entire workforce were sacked.
Now, to add insult to injury to the Australian music scene, an iconic music cafe will be demolished to make way for a McDonalds, as The Age. Yep, you read that correctly.
Hippie Haven, located in the Dandenong Ranges, has been a popular local music institution for over 20 years, but after the Golden Arches announced plans to build yet another location, the cafe is set to be bulldozed (because we definitely don’t have enough McDonalds at the moment…).
The Hippie Haven cafe in Tecoma is home to a wide range of musical instruments for sale, while also offering various Vinyl and CDs; but according to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, a new fast-food restaurant is more important, giving the chain the go-ahead to build another branch last week.
The owner of Hippie Haven, who goes only by the name ‘Chris’ said, “McDonald’s or no McDonald’s, Hippie Haven’s time is gone, unless a miracle happens and someone buys the building off [the owner].”
Local residents have begun an Occupy Melbourne-style protest against the new developments, planting trees on a vacant lot and creating a “community garden”, but thus far their protests have been unsuccessful.
To make matters even worse, the new McDonald’s will be located across the road to a nearby primary school, and as the ironically named Dr McDonald states, “The bastards are doing it again…if I was them [the protestors], I would be occupying the site and making such a fuss that McDonald’s get gun-shy.”
Dr McDonald also accused local paediatrician, Dr Joel Freeman, of being a “turncoat” for aiding in selling the land to a fast-food company so close to a local school.
Residents are also considering a challenge to the ruling in the Supreme Court, and a Facebook petition has over 4,000 likes already, with residents and the council claim a McDonald’s restaurant would create rises in traffic, litter and anti-social behaviour, and that the business did not fit Tecoma’s character.
The news is not all doom and gloom for Australian music venues however, with five locations voted in the world’s most popular, the opening of the eccentrically named new Melbourne venue ‘The Rare And Reclusive, Oft Neglected, Lesser Spotted Mallard’, and the creation of a sister venue to Northcote Social Club in Sydney, appropriately named Newton Social Club.