GOING LIVE: Plans are in motion which could transform Nambour into a beacon of hope for the music industry.
GOING LIVE: Plans are in motion which could transform Nambour into a beacon of hope for the music industry. Che Chapman

Nambour's push for live music heard loud and clear

IT'S NOT Nashville, not Seattle, probably not even Fortitude Valley - yet. But Nambour could soon be the town that pulls live music back from the brink.

The push is on for the State Government to endorse a 12-month trial noise restriction program which would bring a loosening of regulations enabling louder bands to play in live venues throughout the designated Nambour Hospitality Area.

With the Sunshine Coast Council endorsing the plans, the next step will be to garner wide support, with giant steps having been taken at last week's Turn Up music conference in Nambour.

The closure of live music venues throughout the country, coupled with the increase in popularity of streaming and illegal downloads, very nearly sounded the death knell for live music in this country.

With bands facing an ever-increasing battle to see a cent from their efforts and the rise of the TV talent shows changing the face of live music not just in Australia but also globally, something had to be done to show there was still a place for hard-working, home-grown talent.

Support from industry experts, including ex-Fleetwood Mac manager and industry guru Dennis Dunstan was just one of the examples of weight being thrown behind the Nambour project, which could transform the hinterland hub into a beacon of hope for the music industry.

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Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance president Phil Smith said the trial program could be a catalyst for a string of small to mid-sized live music venues opening up in the former mill town, bursting open the doors for local acts and visiting guests to light up the growing local scene.

"There's high hopes for it (trial program)," Mr Smith said.

"It would make it a lot easier for clubs and small performance venues to pop up.

"It would create more competition and greater talent too ... performing in front of a live audience is worth 50 gigs in a garage."

A multitude of venues seeking acts could give Coast talent invaluable live experience, as well as the chance to rub shoulders with higher-profile visiting acts and help forge their path forward.

And it's not just about the music.

The flow-on effects for food and beverage providers, arts, theatre and others would be phenomenal, if Nambour became a hive of artistic talent.

Music conferences such as Turn Up, local displays and regular gigs could also open the door for a stronger under-age event pool - something Mr Smith said the Coast could definitely use.

"We're very keen to try and build or get a good and reliable network of underage performance events," he said.

Mr Smith said while there were great challenges that lay ahead for Nambour in its quest to recreate itself, there was also massive opportunities.

Do we need more of a focus on live music on the Sunshine Coast?

This poll ended on 20 October 2015.

Current Results

Yes, apart from festivals and Ocean St, Maroochydore, there isn't much available.


No, if people want more live music Brisbane is only an hour away.


Yes, Nambour has a great scene, it just needs support.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Owner of Nambour's The Bison Bar and ElevenPM Studios, Pete Townson, said it was a matter of time before a Nambour band made its mark, saying the town was at the start of a wave of momentum being driven by a growing underground music scene with heavy flavours of indie rock, punk rock and experimental rock.

"The Sunshine Coast has traditionally either been hardcore, heavy rock or blues and rootsy, reggae rock," Mr Townson said.

"There's never been anything for alternative, grassroots punk or experimental, psychedelic rock."

He credited a lot of the current scene in Nambour to the work done by The Time Machine, in developing the current underground scene.

"The likes of Violent Soho, British India, have all come from a very underground scene," he said.

Mr Townson said the trial would be a huge boost for the area and also help in delivering a tailor-made live music venue to the town.

"We're even starting to attract people from Brisbane to some gigs in town and it's nice to know we can draw a crowd," he said.

He believed delivery of the trial program would help the whole of the Coast and could also put Nambour on the map internationally.

"You can hear it when you go out. You can hear bands practising in houses around town, gigs playing in town," he said.

The 12-month trial program is being driven by divisional councillor Greg Rogerson, who earned praise from Gympie Muster festival director Jeff Chandler, a vastly experienced music industry figure.

"I said to Greg (Rogerson) it's been (demise of live music) such a long issue that's never gone away," he said.

"It's gotten worse because of developments happening right next door to venues.

"Nambour could set an example and really lead the way. It's a fantastic thing they're doing ... the last bastion really is performing live."