Pub’s fight to survive is music to their ears

Legendary live music venue … the Sandringham Hotel faces a battle to survive.WHEN the crowd arrives at Newtown’s Sandringham Hotel tomorrow afternoon they won’t be looking for a beer or a band; instead they’ll be demanding salvation for the hotel itself.
Nanjing Night Net

The drawn-out saga of one of the legendary music venues of Sydney, a pub which launched careers of successful acts such as the Whitlams and Frenzal Rhomb, is nearing its end. But whether that end is a sale to developers looking to build apartments or a continued life as the heart of small and independent music scene is still unclear.

A deal with Bank West has gone sour for the hotel’s owner, Tony Townsend, and the Sandringham has been in the hands of receivers looking to resolve a debt of about $3.7 million. In an attempt to avert a September auction, the Save Our Sando rally and concert – which will begin in Sydney Park in St Peters at midday before marching down King Street to the Sandringham at 4pm – is demanding the bank defers any action until the end of a Senate inquiry into bank practices such as those it claims have entangled Mr Townsend.

The bank’s role in the saga is defended by Morgan Kelly of Ferrier Hodgson, who said the Townsend Group was given extra time and money to restructure its finances, which ”have been in disarray for some time”.

”The circumstances of this receivership have come about not as a result of any dastardly action by the bank, but purely as a matter of commercial reality,” he said.

The Sandringham, which is profitable, will be sold as a trading hotel with a live music offering, if not necessarily a future of live music.

”That buyer will liaise with council and do whatever they choose to do with that hotel,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Townsend said he hoped a lover of live music in the industry would step forward to buy the hotel, if the sale couldn’t be stopped. ”Now is the time for action,” he said.

Roscoe Waraker, a self-described ”second-class keys player” who spends half the year in corporate and strategic management and half playing music, is helping the rally organisers. He argues that saving the hotel is ”intrinsically good for Sydney” because of its role as the breeding ground of live music in the city.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.