LEGENDARY GIG: Do you have a favourite memory of INXS or other great acts visiting the Coffs Coast?
LEGENDARY GIG: Do you have a favourite memory of INXS or other great acts visiting the Coffs Coast? KEVORK DJANSEZIAN

Coffs Coast welcome to comment on music and arts

WHILE the Coffs Coast still has a thriving theatre scene there's general agreement the golden days of music tours by iconic international acts may be long gone.

The Jetty Memorial Theatre remains a superb stage venue and is utilised week after week, while most pubs and clubs offer musical variety of sorts as an antidote to the sound of pokies and TAB racing and sport in the background.

But as far as big name touring acts go, it seems only Facebook friends can recall when the Plantation Hotel presented a hot band almost every night of the week and INXS played to a heaving, sweating mass packed into every square inch of the long gone Coffs Harbour Civic Centre.

Touring acts as diverse as Neil Young, Katrina And The Waves and "Whispering Jack” Farnham drew thousands to the showground in the late-80's while the Vans Warped Tour in 1995 was a huge attraction.

There have only been a few one-off's in the years since.

JLE organised Savage Garden's first ever performance at Sawtell RSL, not long after a bunch of kids called Innocent Criminals did a gig at the Hoey Moey, changed their name to Silverchair and the rest (as they say) is history.

However, it seems it's not just the Coffs Coast that is missing out on live, original music with alarm bells ringing right across the regions.

So worrying is the situation that the NSW Legislative Council is currently conducting an inquiry into the music and arts economy with a focus on the regions in particular.

This week, Newcastle is in the spotlight with Labor MLC John Graham leading an inquiry in the city that was once a thriving incubator for original music but now barely manages to keep a handful of cover bands in semi-permanent work.

The task force is seeking submissions to help implement policies that could support a diverse and vibrant music and arts culture.

This includes policies to support the "establishment and sustainability of permanent and temporary venue spaces for music and for the arts, red tape reduction and funding options.”

By the sound of that, a submission seeking funding for a long-awaited, purpose specific, dedicated Coffs Coast performance centre might not go astray and would certainly do no harm.

Closing date for submissions is Wednesday, February 28.

These may be lodged by email to portfoliocommittee6@parliament.nsw.gov.au



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