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Banding together


Banding together

Ashley Robinson is glad the live music scene is making some noise again on the Coast, but hopes venues can turn down the craziness.

There has been a resurgence in live touring bands on the Sunshine Coast in the past 12 months, along with the plans for a super venue at Coochin Creek getting some traction.

Norton Music Factory and Kings Beach Tavern also have been having a red-hot crack lately This awakens my memories from bygone times, starting in the mid-’70s.

Stewarts at Alex had a bar strangely called the Windjammer Room, and the very first band I went to see was Clapton. I thought it was Eric but it turned out to be Richard (but he was and still is a legend).

Then there was Stan Elson, who had bought Surfair and turned it from a 4.5-star hotel into a band venue/retail bottle shop money-making machine. In any given week, it might have Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, INXS or Split Enz. Stan was very good at getting the big artists, but then Mooloolaba Hotel got in the act with bands such as The Angels. Then Stewarts built the massive Galaxy Room which basically got all the big names because of its capacity. Effectively, the central part of the Coast had three major band venues, plus nightclubs scattered from one end of the region to the other. Of course, with live music comes noise complaints. I am reminded about a couple of noise issues that I was involved in as I worked at Surfair and Mooloolaba at various times (not at Stewarts, though, as I was actually barred from there at one stage).

The first noise issue was at Surfair where the boss tried to get Split Enz to turn the volume down, as he had guests in a room complaining. Ironically, it was during their popular song I See Red. They wouldn’t do it, of course, so he turned the power off – and that nearly started a riot.

The other one imprinted in my memory was The Angels at Mooloolaba when they got asked to turn it down and refused. It ended up in a melee between staff and the roadies. The end result was lead singer Doc Neeson nearly knocking himself out on a low-lying beam.

My most vivid memory is of a punter after a big night complaining to police, as he thought his mate was in the back of the paddywagon and wanted to go with him. The old sergeant told him politely three times the mate wasn’t. Unconvinced, he persisted until he got thrown in the back. It was the dog van. Sound like the Wild West?


Ashley Robinson is the manager of Alex Surf Club and the chairman of the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

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