(6/6/2018) Fly by Night tenure coming to an end
The Fly by Night Musicians Club’s tenancy in Victoria Hall in Fremantle will come to an end in August.
The Fremantle Council considered the club’s lease on the hall back in February.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was a difficult decision not to renew the lease.
“The Fly by Night Club has been an iconic part of the Fremantle music scene for more than 30 years - hosting great performers and nurturing local talent. It would be heartbreaking to see it close,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“Since the National Trust decided not to renew the Fly’s lease on the Old Drill Hall in 2014, the City of Fremantle has gone out of its way to help the Fly survive, including offering half-price rent on Victoria Hall, spending more than $20,000 to improve the acoustics of the hall and giving them a $20,000 cash grant.
“But sadly, despite lots of hard work by the Fly’s staff and board and support from the City of Freo, the Fly has not been able to make Victoria Hall work as a profitable venue.”
While not supporting a long-term extension of the lease when it was considered in February, the council did agree to a six-month, rent-free lease to allow the club to honour existing bookings and give it time to transition to a new arrangement.
The council also agreed to waive the club’s outstanding debt to the City, which was around $70,000.
Over the past few months the City has been working with the club to help them improve the sustainability of the business and find a new home in Fremantle.
This has included exploring opportunities for the Fly to continue to present shows after August in other suitable venues in Fremantle, including the Navy Club, Fremantle Town Hall and South Fremantle Football Club event space.
Fly by Night Musicians Club Board of Directors chair Steve Wells said the board would meet later this month to finalise its exit strategy from Victoria Hall and consider the future directions of the Fly.
“The Fly appreciates the support it has received from Brad, Arts and Culture manager Pete Stone and a range of other City staff since our forced move from the Drill Hall by the National Trust,” Mr Wells said.
“It will be a shame if we need to leave Fremantle after all this time but that is one of the options our board is currently exploring.
“We are committed to the Fly continuing as a not for profit promoter of live independent music.
“Options currently under development include the Fly partnering with the state government and WAM to manage a coordinated program to foster artist development across the state.
“We know we need to change the business model if the Fly is to continue and we are confident that the support of government, WAM and even philanthropists will help the Fly to achieve its full potential.”