“The new jewel in Sydney’s cultural crown”: Council’s vision for the White Bay Power Station

“The new jewel in Sydney’s cultural crown”: Council’s vision for the White Bay Power Station
Image: White Bay Power Station. Instagram: biennalesydney

Following the success of the 24th Biennale of Sydney at the White Bay Power Station, Inner West Council is calling for the once forsaken building to be permanently made into a live performance and concert venue.

On Wednesday night, the council voted unanimously to call for regular live music at the venue and for the site to be declared a special entertainment precinct, similar to the Enmore Road Precinct.

Spaces within the venue would easily lend themselves to a variety of live performances, including theatre, dance and music, said the council in a statement, and would be a massive boost for Sydney’s creative community.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said, “The White Bay Power Station can become the new jewel in Sydney’s cultural crown, providing a unique venue for musicians and performers from across Australia and the World.”

“We’re proposing that approval for the Power Station to be used as a concert venue be expedited by Council and the NSW Government so that gigs can be scheduled there regularly in 2024.”

Enmore Road Precinct was recognised as the state’s first special entertainment precinct. The classification allows businesses to trade 30 minutes later if they program live music or performances. Al fresco dining is permitted until 11pm, with relaxed rules about noise.

Back in March, when Biennale first opened to the public, Minister for the Arts John Graham said the event was a “reimagining of this important new creative and community space.”

“This is the first step in the redevelopment of this site to deliver a new world-class cultural hub, connecting more of our community to diverse arts and entertainment offerings and ideas, growing our cultural economy.”

The move comes as part of an overall push to revive the local arts and culture scene in Sydney.

Neighbouring council City of Sydney will be looking at “ways to save Sydney’s soul” as rising costs make living in the city increasingly difficult for artists.

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said “While Sydney is a powerhouse of culture for the nation, what makes that possible is at risk. Our creative workforce increasingly can’t afford to live or work in Sydney.”

Sydney’s rising property prices, the transformation of former industrial areas and the pandemic have savaged our cultural life – threatening the viability of live music venues, small theatres, galleries and rehearsal spaces, and the affordability of studios, workshops and warehouses.”

With the Inner West Council now pushing for the White Bay Power Station as a solution to Sydney’s live music crisis, Council has written to Minister Graham asking for his assistance in transforming the site into a performance venue.


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