Save the Sando! Save Live Music! Part 1


Description and history: the Sandringham hotel, located at the southern end of busy King Street, Newtown, Sydney, Australia, was built in the 1860′s and originally was a coach house-style hotel. In the early years the hotel played host to and accommodated travelling actors who were performing at local theatres, business men and travellers to Sydney. It played a significant role in the community, and staged many local community events on its original balcony such as election and community speeches. On certain occasions it even acted as the local morgue! It was recognized this year by the Marrickville Council as the oldest existing business in its municipality.

Today, the Sandringham Hotel, or “The Sando” as it is affectionately  known in the area, is a Sydney icon. The hotel is renowned for its venue which for many years has played host to a wide variety of artists and bands both known and unknown. Within the music industry “The Sando” is recognised as a place where young bands can get a start and where established acts feel comfortable performing showcase and warm up gigs. The hotel has maintained this reputation which sets it apart from other hotels in the area.

The hotel currently runs 7 nights a week entertainment with about 120 bands performing live per month. It sports 3 stages, with two at any one time operating. It’s current music heritage goes back to the 80′s where the growing alternative music scene of Sydney began favoring it as an ideal venue for up and coming bands. Bands such as The Whitlams and many more started at the Sando in its simple public bar format with a 60 people capacity. Today it contains not one but three spaces of varying capacities: 80, 100 & 300 people.

Like hundreds of other Australian businesses caught up in the Commonwealth Bank/Bankwest infamous  banking loan scandal: the  iconic live music venue The Sandringham Hotel is in BIG trouble. This is because the Sando was financed through Bankwest.

When the Commonwealth Bank bought the Bankwest loan portfolio, they revalued hundreds of businesses, and called in the receivers. Businesses like The Sando that had never missed a payment were suddenly under threat of being seized and sold out from underneath owner’s noses. This is now the subject of a Senate Inquiry and an ABC 4-Corners investigation.

The Commonwealth Bank is attempting to close The Sandringham Hotel even though the owners have never missed a payment. It’s the opinion of all-except the CBA-that the bank should wait until the Senate enquiry is complete before seizing the historic hotel and tossing it up on auction to the highest bidder.

In the last months, many of Australia’s leading bands have been staging concerts in an effort to raise both money for and a public awareness of what is happening with regard to the Commonwealth Bank’s atempts to seize The Sando. HERE is a video of one of those concerts: the August 26th post-rally concert, held directly outside the Sandringham Hotel-

Description: Sandringham Hotel – Sunday August 26 2012
Members of AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, & The Choirboys playing on the back of a flatbed truck, supporting the ‘Save Our Sando’ fundraiser on King St Newtown, Sydney, Australia.

Sandringham Hotel owner Tony Townsend addresses the crowd at the August 26 rally and concert for the ‘Save the Sando’ campaign in Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Tony Townsend. Copyright 2012.

On Sunday August 26, The Save Our Sando Rally was held from 12pm at Sydney Park – opposite St Peters Station on King St.

Tony and Kim Townsend at the August 26th ‘Save the Sando’ rally. Photo courtesy of Glenn Koek, Copyright 2012.

Why you should care: to those who don’t understand its history or who have never heard of it then it’s just another live music venue that couldn’t pay its mortgage.  However, its full story is far more complicated. It’s a sad and all too familiar tale of today. Current economic instability, coupled with the lack of written laws set into place to protect home owners and private business owners, has allowed banks and other lending institutions the ability to arbitrarily  devalue properties and push the owners’ mortgages outside the lending guidelines. This has resulted in private homes being thrown into foreclosure and privately-owned small businesses being seized and sold to the highest bidder.
(continued with part 2)
Shirley Pena

About Shirley Pena

A native of Southern California, Shirley Peña began her career as a music journalist almost twenty years ago, writing for her websites "Stars In My Eyes: the Girlhowdy Website" and "La Raza Rock!" and progressed to creating various fan sites on Yahoo, including the first for New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn. From there, she became a free agent, arranging online interviews for Yahoo fan clubs with various music artists (Andy White, John Crawford, Debora Iyall, John Easdale, etc.). She also lent her support in creating and moderating a number of Yahoo fan clubs for various music artists from the 1990s-today. As a music journalist, Shirley Peña has contributed to a number of magazines (both hard copy and online), among them: Goldmine, American Songwriter, Classic Drummer Magazine and UK-based Keyboard Player (where she was a principal journalist). A self-confessed "fanatic" of 1960s "British Invasion" bands, Classic Rock and nostalgic "Old Hollywood ", she also keeps her finger on the pulse of current trends in music, with a keen eye for up and coming artists of special merit. Shirley Peña loves Los Angeles, and is thrilled to join the writing staff of The Los Angeles Beat!
This entry was posted in Events, News & Sports, Photo Essays and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Save the Sando! Save Live Music! Part 1


Leave a Reply