$1 million boost for Sydney’s nightlife

More small businesses and live music venues will be able to expand their late-night activities thanks to more than $210,000 in new grant funding from the City of Sydney.

Since September 2017, the City has provided more than $1 million in funding to over 50 businesses through its night-time diversification and live music and performance grants.

The latest round of grants will support 10 local businesses, including Mary’s Underground in Circular Quay, the Dove and Olive in Surry Hills and Courtesy of the Artist in The Strand Arcade.

The matched grants, of up to $30,000 each, will help these businesses launch new night-time programs or upgrade their acoustics, staging and equipment.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City is providing practical support for businesses contributing to Sydney’s night-time economy.

“The night-time economy is critical to Sydney’s future – it generates more than $4 billion in revenue each year, with 5,000 businesses employing more than 35,000 people,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Since establishing our grant programs for night-time diversification and live music and performance, we have directly supported over 50 city businesses to put on new programming or undertake vital upgrades.

“From free late-night music at Mary’s Underground – which recently opened in the iconic Circular Quay site of The Basement – to drag bingo at the Dove and Olive in Surry Hills, this round of grants will further revitalise our nightlife and offer new events and activities to Sydneysiders and visitors of all ages and interests.”

Projects that will benefit from the latest round of matched grant funding include:

· a series of weekly, free-entry late-night music performances at Mary’s Underground in Circular Quay, providing new opportunities for emerging artists to perform

· upgraded equipment, including lighting and air conditioning, to improve the audience, artist and staff experience at the Old Fitz Theatre in the Old Fitz Hotel in Woolloomooloo

· a series of musical performances on Friday and Saturday nights at Tokyo Sing Song in Newtown, with a focus on providing an inclusive and safe environment for gender and culturally diverse audiences

· a series of bi-weekly evening events, including creative and educational workshops held by local artists and makers and supported by local food vendors, at COTA Loft gallery in The Strand Arcade

· upgraded audio and lighting equipment to improve the existing performance space and increase audience capacity by expanding into a vacant neighbouring property at MoshPit bar in Erskineville

· a weekly program of workshops, classes and performances offering diverse experiences for performers and audiences at Parliament on King restaurant in Newtown

· capital works improvements, including acoustic reports and infrastructure to minimise sound transfer, at a new cultural hub soon to open in Newtown by co-working collective Commune

· a weekly program of late-night live music performances at Yulli’s Brews in Alexandria, designed to provide opportunities for local artists and encourage customers to stay throughout the evening

· a series of night-time events by the Optical Designer Showcase in Surry Hills, displaying designer spectacle brands in collaboration with local designers, food vendors and musicians

· a weekly drag bingo night at the Dove and Olive in Surry Hills, designed to encourage customers to stay throughout the evening and increase foot traffic along Devonshire Street.

Joe Muller from Mary’s Underground, which opened in the space formerly occupied by The Basement in Macquarie Place last month, said their $25,000 grant would go towards a series of free late-night music performances.

“This funding will support Mary’s Underground as we deliver a world-class, free monthly music program, spanning a variety of forms within the jazz world and spinning it seamlessly with food and wine in a dizzying assault on the senses,” Mr Muller said.

Marc Kuzma from Le Salon de Claire, a restaurant and cabaret venue in Darlinghurst, said the $18,500 grant they received from the City last year helped them launch a ‘surrealist’ dinner and show program on Sunday nights.

“Le Salon Dada was created to bring much-needed entertainment to Oxford Street on Sunday nights,” Mr Kuzma said.

“We are so grateful for the help of the City of Sydney – because of the night-time diversification grant, we have been able to create an experience like no other in Sydney, or perhaps even the world! It has been a great success, the reviews so far have been amazing, and we are still going strong.”

The business support grants program offers matched grant funding up to $30,000 through its night-time diversification and live music and performance streams.

Funding is available for both non-profit and for-profit organisations. The City encourages programming of activities by retailers and in non-licensed and other non-traditional premises.

The next round of the program is open now, with applications closing on 22 July.

/Public Release.