THE Fly by Night Musicians Club is again considering a new home outside Freo with lease conditions at its Victoria Hall home proving onerous.
Fremantle council voted in February to give the club rent-free use of the venue until August so it could sort its finances out, but treasurer Richard Skead told the Herald this week they were looking at a variety of options which included moving to a neighbouring council.
“We are putting in a proposal for one tomorrow,” Mr Skead said on Monday, saying initial talks had been “promising”.
He says the Fly board wants to stay in Victoria Hall and hopes that by the end of its extended lease they have a business model to satisfy Freo council, but it would have to be under a different lease arrangement. Currently the council requires the Fly to stay open four nights a week, but under the terms of its liquor license that means running the bar at a loss when there’s a small show on.
Compounding the problem, the hall only seats 280 patrons while the club needs at least 400 to be economically sustainable.
“We are also looking at independent venues where we can run bigger acts,” he said, noting a recent successful gig where the Fly ran the bar at Gate One in Clarement.
“We’ve got some more coming up in August, but in the meantime if we can pack the hall to the gunwales that’d be great.”
Mr Skead said the extended lease gave the club a breather to develop a new business model based on larger gigs, but acknowledged that it had been relying on donations to keep operating. Grant applications had been hampered by the uncertainty over its future.
In its February decision the council reiterated its desire for the Fly to stay in Fremantle, but said the its business review hadn’t demonstrated its sustainability.
Council officers were asked to prepare a report on options for the future use of the hall.
Meanwhile, Mr Skead says if they have to go, it won’t be quietly and they’ll be using their upcoming shows to make it a big send-off.
Big names already booked include Vince Jones and 60s soul sensation PP Arnold in May, and Dan Sultan and The Black Sorrows in July, although Mr Skead says there’s a couple more waiting for the final sign-off.
If you want to help the Fly out, pack one of its gigs by buying tickets at http://www.flybynight.org
by STEVE GRANT