Fresh hope for Gong's bars and music venues

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Wollongong's Live Music Taskforce has been labelled a success by organisers and participants, with a report soon to be submitted to the council.

The 16-strong group, comprising councillors, police, venue owners, musicians and music fans, met several times between August and December to hash out ideas on how better to support Wollongong's live music community.

Councillor Ann Martin, who chaired the taskforce, said one of the main recommendations to be put to council was to streamline and simplify the process for venues to start hosting live music.

"We need to better support small bars and venues," she said.

"We want to ensure anyone who wants to set up a small venue can have a simple guide on what they have to do, so they do things properly."

Cr Martin said the report would also recommend amending development regulations to better support music venues. She said zoning certificates, which inform owners or renters of a certain property about issues such as flood or bushfire risk, should also indicate the property is in an entertainment precinct and will likely be affected by noise.

"We want to inform real estate agents and tenants to make sure they know about noise before they move in, to recognise we have an entertainment precinct and will have noise," she said.

Taskforce member Jeb Taylor, booking agent and owner of Music Farmers record store, said the report's recommendations would present a bright future for music in the region.

"It's been really beneficial having all the stakeholders in the same room, to let people understand different sides of the issues," he said.

Mr Taylor said he was also excited about recommendations that would help musicians use spaces such as parks, swimming pools, the Town Hall and IPAC as performance venues.

"This will hopefully put in a better framework and make it easier and better for everyone. It will definitely help."

The Live Music Taskforce's report will be submitted to the council in February, along with the Night-time Economy plan and the city's new Cultural Plan.

Cr Martin said the three documents would work together to further reinvigorate the Wollongong area, and support the new ventures in the region.

"We want to make the most of the emerging creative activity already happening here, and these are documents to help us think more clearly about the opportunities they present," she said.

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