Dunedin musician Trevor Coleman believes the city's live
music venues need more support. Photo by Jonathan
A Dunedin musician believes small live-music venues need
a financial shot in the arm from the wider community to protect
the city's music scene.
Local jazz musician Trevor Coleman said live jazz music had
suffered a serious blow recently with the sale of the Robbie
Burns, and the Isis Bar pulling the plug on live music.
The changes to the venues meant his own group Coleman,
Cornish and Craigie, and the Oxo Cubans were out on the
street looking for new places to play.
Pequeno's Jazz Fusion, which had entertained Dunedin for
nearly 10 years, would also end this week as it had become
unaffordable to pay musicians more than the minimum wage, Mr
There were still several live music venues in Dunedin, and
many bands were still out there working for almost nothing,
but it was becoming increasingly hard for musicians to find
places to perform, he said.
The onus of making live gigs work had traditionally fallen on
venue owners and musicians but Mr Coleman believed this model
needed to be re-examined.
''I don't believe the demand for live music has decreased but
the cost of things has seemed to have risen exponentially,''
Mr Coleman believed that as having a strong music scene was
of benefit to the wider community it was fair that paying for
it could be spread a little bit wider.
He believed the Dunedin City Council, corporate interests,
and the University of Otago could all be potential
contributors and pointed to Germany as an example where
certain small venues received state funding to assist with
holding regular live performances.
New Edinburgh Folk Club president Mike Moroney said he
supported Mr Coleman in
principle but he had a slightly different take on the
He thought the current situation was a coincidental hiatus
and believed other music opportunities would arise in the
''I don't think there is the amount of discretionary income
or industry in Dunedin needed to support all of the great
musicians in Dunedin with a living wage,'' he said.
There was a healthy, albeit lower-income, scene among some
musicians who were putting door charges on the clubs where
they were playing.
Journeyman musicians, such as himself, could make money
performing at private functions but there were not enough of
these to support everyone, Mr Moroney said.
Refuel Bar manager Scott Muir said there were venues that
were being supported by playing live music now, such as
Refuel, the Chicks Hotel, Queens Bar, The Crown, and Dunedin
Beverley West, of Twilight Entertainments, has been in the
music industry for 24 years and is an agent for about 80
She agreed there was a lack of live venues in Dunedin,
especially for jazz. Times were tough and bar owners were
already struggling to support themselves without paying
musicians as well, she said.
She believed more should be done to promote jazz in Dunedin
and thought the Octagon could be a perfect venue for the
genre in summer.
Otago University senior lecturer in contemporary music
performance Dr Robert Burns said students seeking to enrol
always asked him about the availability of performance in
He was very concerned to hear about the decrease in
DCC arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke said the
council had no funding available at present for small music
However, the DCC was working on an Arts and Culture strategy
which was intended to provide a framework for the arts, he
- by Jonathan Chilton-Towle