You could kind of see this one coming. In a carefully stage managed press conference at Collingwood’s now closed Tote yesterday afternoon, Victorian Premier John Brumby was in attendance as the venue’s new operators announced that it would re-open in six weeks. The new operators are Jon Perring and Andrew Portokallis who also run Bar Open, Pony and Yah Yahs.
The Premier skirted around the issue of whether the venue would remain under the strict and unnecessary licensing conditions which caused it to fold in January under operators James and Bruce Milne. The closure led to a massive march on Parliament in Melbourne in late February to protest the Liquor Licensing conditions imposed on live music venues and an online petition with 22,000 signatures was delivered to Parliament last week.
It is unclear whether the venue will operate under the same name which is owned by the former licencees. No doubt the Victorian Government will be trumpeting this as a Government rescue, but until they directly address licensing conditions on live music venues as a whole it reeks of a vote grabbing exercise ahead of November’s elections.
Watch some reactions to The Tote closing