Arts & Entertainment

The demise of live music: Two iconic venues to be demolished

Photo: Selina's Facebook

By Katelyn Milligan

Some have dubbed it the end of an era, with two of Sydney’s live music institutions set to be demolished.

A recent development proposal for Coogee Bay Hotel has called into question the future of its live music venue Selina’s. This announcement comes just months after the revelation that Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice will be bulldozed to make way for the new Metro West line station at Hunter Street.

Both venues may soon become a distant memory, leaving behind a legacy as two of Sydney’s most iconic rock venues.

Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice has established itself as a go-to in Sydney’s rock scene, with its dive-bar aesthetic and hard-core rock gigs fostering a culture fit for rock ‘n’ roll purists.

Loyal Frankie’s fan and local musician Chloe from Chloe Kay And The Crusades was left devastated by the news that Frankie’s is set to close in the coming years.

“Frankie’s was like the one little piece of rock and roll heaven that we had in Sydney. It’s the one little haven that people had to go out to celebrate that kind of music,” Chloe said. “The whole energy in there that was just one of a kind, it really was like something that you don’t really experience often, especially in Sydney. There’s just nowhere else like it here. It’s definitely a huge loss.”

It’s hoped that Frankie’s will be relocated amidst claims from Transport Minister Andrew Constance that the government will assist Frankie’s in finding a new location.

The same cannot be said for Selina’s, as owner of Coogee Bay Hotel Christopher Cheung said there’s no room for Selina’s moving forward.

Between the late 70s to 90s, Selina’s was a mecca for live music, hosting the likes of Nirvana, Cold Chisel, INXS and David Bowie.

In February 1992 alone, the venue saw over one million people walk through its doors.

The fate of Selina’s is now resting in the hands of Randwick City Council as to whether the $112 million Coogee Bay Hotel development will be approved.

If approved, the popular gig venue will be demolished to make room for a six-storey residential building with 60 residential apartments, a new supermarket, underground carpark and 29 hotel rooms.

Developers, lockout laws and now lockdown have been attributed to the demise of many Sydney music venues.

Chloe says she feels for the up-and-coming artists who will be some of the ones most affected by the shrinking music industry.

“Everything’s changed, it’s just no longer what it used to be in the past six years, I think just in general. There have been so many blows for musicians in Sydney. It’s just depressing.

“I do feel for those young people who will never get the opportunity to experience the industry and the scene that we got to experience even a few years ago. It’s just not the same now and that really breaks my heart for a lot of younger musicians.”

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