Maintaining viable underground performance spaces in Sydney – 17th July 2008

On Thu, Jul 17 Dirty Shirlow <dirtys***> wrote:

We had some bad news from the council last night, was wondering if you could urgently post this on the mailing list?


Cut To Bits is looking for a new venue!!!
Can you help?
If you have a space/ warehouse / place to house this awesome gig on Saturday 19th July (i.e. this coming sat) please let us know!
Contact David : d***@**** or phone 041*******



Basically the council received 2 cop reports from 2 gigs which went on past midnight. The council and cops were fine with everything it seems until we went past our legal operating hours (10 am to 12 pm).

The letter wasn’t too rough and the warehouse owners live overseas so we should be ok but we have had to slow down all operations and will be applying for an arts licence or venue licence asap.

Do you have a email group for all the warehouses operating around Marrickville? I think we should be keeping everyone in the loop with council and cop struggles so that these places can remain in operation. Perhaps it is something I should start up?

I don’t really want to spread this info too far at the moment, only to people who may jeopardise their space by doing a similar thing. We don’t want that.

I’m going to sit down tonight and formulate a letter type thing to email out to this mailing list once we know more, if that’s ok with you?

Also would it be possible to grab a contact for Red Rattler? I’d like to have a chat to the grrrls about how they made thier space legal, how much it’s costing etc ect and if they were able to strike a deal with the council easliy.

Thanks for all your help!


On Thu, Jul 17, shaun <kb***@**> wrote:
Hey B*** – that sucks!  Will the July 28th show still be ok (remember we’d like to finish around 10.30 for that one) or should I look for somewhere else?
For the Red Rattler contact P*** on 042***
I don’t have a seperate list for warehouse spaces in the area at this stage
Hope we can work it out!

On Thu, Jul 17 Dirty Shirlow <dirtys***> wrote:
Hi Shaun,

Let me talk to everyone tonight. The other issue is the number of people.

To be honest I think it will be a no but let me confirm this eve with the Shirlows. The plan is to resume gigs in Sept. Might be good to sound other spaces out (should be easy as hell for you to find somewhere else though) now but i’ll let you know tonight anyway.

Thanks for P***’s contact, might have a meeting with her when she’s next available.

On Fri, Jul 18 Dirty Shirlow <dirtys***> wrote:
Hi Shaun,

We can’t go ahead with that date I’m afraid. Sorry, would just be stupid under the circumstances.

I’ve got the crappy job of letting whose booked until September slowly know. First preferences for gigs past Sept go to people who we’ve had to cancel on. I’m going to finish this process and then send a Shirlow update to your mailing list and ours if that’s ok.

Also there’s a new venue for Cut to Bits:

Cnr of Lawson street and regent street Redfern.

Thanks for all your help!


On Fri, Jul 18 shaun <kb***@**> wrote:
Ok no worries – I’ll see what I can do.
What’s the council’s actual beef?  Have there been noise complaints?

On Fri, Jul 18 Dirty Shirlow <dirtys***> wrote:
Hi Shaun,
The problem is that the police reported 2 gigs as ‘dance parties’ (utter crap) to the council., mainly concerned about us operating past midnight.

They also had a minor concern about the number of people there but I think we can account for that with ‘industry launches’ and ‘ private parties’.

No noise complaints as far as I’m aware.


On Fri, Jul 18 shaun <kb***@**> wrote:
Hmm – and what is it they want you to do as such?  Have they threatened anything?
Looks like I can move my show to Louie’s – gets confirmed tomorrow

On Fri, Jul 18 Dirty Shirlow <dirtys***> wrote:
No threats just a letter stating ‘we think that you are doing this and you do not have approval to, we suggest that you apply for something else’…

11th Jul 2021 – The issues in this email were common for the DIY warehouse spaces around Marrickville at the time. It seemed to happen a lot to Dirty Shirlows unfortunately. They soldiered on, like many spaces, for a few years. The shows in these spaces brought lots of artists and fans into the area and with so many rules around entries and exits, toilets per person etc, the council and cops had any number of possibilities to get spaces shut down. It was amazing that so many lasted as long as they did. Eventually a collective got together to purchase one of the warehouses to make a permanent space available called the Red Rattler. Those folks had to spend a small fortune for compliance but eventually it got off the ground to provide a legitimate DIY venue in the area. They still constantly got hassled though. The Cut to Bits space mentioned I’d never been to and have no memory of at all, so despite having my finger supposedly on the pulse with all things underground in Sydney, there were still lots of other ventures happening around. It was a good time for DIY music scenes in Sydney and it felt like everyone was working together to keep things going.

Let me know your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s