Here in Los Angeles, we have-so far-been luckier than many other major cities in preserving many of our most treasured and historic live music venues such as The Troubadour and The Whisky a Go-Go. Sadly, this has not been the case for many other major cities both in California, the rest of the United States and overseas.
In the case of the Sando, the devastating Global Financial Crisis in combination with unchecked corporate greed is starting to rip at the the very heart of the city’s music and art community. As one of Australia’s oldest pubs (over a hundred years) The Sandringham Hotel became a fertile breeding ground for countless musical acts, many of whom went on to play major roles on both the regional and national arenas, influencing the music of many California artists as well.
Recently, rock music commentator and DJ Brian Giffin issued a lengthy commentary on the plight of the Sandringham Hotel. The following is an excerpt:
“Like a thousand or so other businesses, the Sandringham has fallen victim to the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘Operation Magellan’: a scheme to recoup the massive losses of the Bankwest Group by devaluing properties and pushing the owners’ mortgages outside the CBA’s own lending guidelines. In short, according to the advocacy group Unhappy Banking, the Commonwealth is basically just invalidating hundreds of loans and calling them in with virtually no warning. It’s the type of thing loansharks do, except the Commonwealth is Australia’s largest public bank and the second largest listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange.”
The people to whom the Sando means so much aren’t letting go of it without a courageous fight. Online petitions and Facebook groups have been initiated, but raising world-wide public awareness is the most direct and effective way to fight this type of battle: inciting the masses to a call for action. The event at the Marrickville Bowling Club on August 17, featuring Sando regulars like Spaceticket and the Dunhill Blues (headlined by ’90s band Salacious Crumb) helped to add some much-needed funds into this worthy campaign that is far from over.
However, it was the rally (with subsequent march) on August 26th that really grabbed the attention of the media. Literally thousands of supporters turned out for a four-hour free concert in Sydney Park, where a string of Sando regulars and supporters (including legendary Doc Neeson of The Angels) performed and addressed the crowd. Tony Townsend addressed the crowd, as well as a spokesperson for the Financial Services Union. Amazingly, the Commonwealth Bank isn’t only attacking its own customers, it’s also going after their own staff in a bid to squeeze out enormous profit margins…at any cost.
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 perform “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”
After the rally, the march included approximately 3,000 people marching along one of Sydney’s busiest streets and gathering right outside of the Sando, where they listened to members of AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, & The Choirboys perform “It’s a Long Way to the Top” on the back of a flatbed truck.
The music-loving community of Sydney Australia are doing all they can to prevent the closure of The Sando-and any more Australian live music venues-because without the Sando and places like it then the backs of trucks are about the only place left for bands to be able to perform anymore! In the current state of our weakened global economy it’s now more important than ever that musicians have somewhere to perform. This is especially important for up and coming bands who have not yet become major stars who can afford to fill a large stadium or theatre.
Sydney already has suffered the demise of way too many of its most treasured live music venues. If the Sando goes the way of the dinosaur then over 100 gigs a month won’t be happening anymore! Worse than that, a tradition spanning a full three generations will sadly come to an end, and all because of the greedy, questionable dealings of a multi-billion dollar corporation whose behavior is currently under investigation by a Senate inquiry. Yet this bank-the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the CBA)-continues to deny any wrong doing while acting in a way that is both belligerent and counter-productive to the needs of the communities it claims to serve (as this Four Corners report reveals).
This is precisely the sort of behavior that last year’s Occupy protests were all about: banks can and do bring it down on anyone. The ‘Save Our Sando’ campaign isn’t just about saving one of Sydney’s most legendary live music venues. It’s about the disregard…outright contempt… that banks world wide continue to have for ordinary people like you, me and Tony Townsend. We must continue to draw attention to it and to put an end to it NOW. This is one battle we CANNOT afford to lose.
Tuesday, September 18 is the “Eve of the Sale of the Sando” The last chance to gather and let the CBA know how much the Sando means to us all.
The plan: meet up at approx. 3:30pm onward, outside the CBA Money Box building at 48 Martin Place (the old head office Cnr Castlereagh & Martin Pl). Let’s save our Sando, the battle ISN’T over with yet!
What YOU can do to help save the Sando:
Read and sign the petition created by supporters of the Sando: http://saveoursando.com/petition/
Follow the daily updates on the ‘Save the Sando’ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lets-save-the-Sando/409683595733855
Follow the daily updates on Tony Townsend’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tony.townsend.146
“Save The Sando!” photo & posters courtesy of Tony Townsend
All photos copyright 2012.