The Fly By Night Musicians Club’s lease of the Military Drill Hall ends in September, with an invitation by the National Trust being extended for Expressions Of Interest from other parties for a new lease after that date. BOB GORDON chats with Executive Director, John Reid, about the future of The Fly, a true Fremantle icon.
How real is the danger that The Fly will lose the lease?
The threat is real, and if another entity with a more favourable application to the National Trust’s needs and wants gets up the Club would no longer have a sustainable space.
Has it been a mere formality that The Fly would keep the lease when it was up for renewal in past years?
Yes it has. The last two leases were a mere roll over procedure to renew, but there were months of delay to get the actual signed lease and a hard copy on file. The Club should have expected an issue as there was no renewal clause on the current lease.
It seems that The National Trust has been quite uncommunicative about the matter upon your follow-up. Any idea why?
Well they have been too busy at times, and the just request a proposal or a business plan. The Club would like open dialogue about the future of the military hall with the Trust as we have a long time relationship with the building, which the Club saved from demolition back in the day, before the National Trust took over management of the building.
Could this be connected with the termination of rental assistance by the DCA at the end of 2013?
Nothing has been communicated via the Trust.
The National Trust has advised the Club not to book acts after September, or until the process is completed. As you noted, this threatens the livelihood of the business. How best can you proceed in terms of a schedule?
The Club will meet with the National Trust at the end of June and address the Expression of Interest process. I expect that 28 years history within in the 128 year old building would be of historical significant and cultural value to the National Trust, and the community as a whole to ensure the Club’s longevity within the Military Drill Hall.
The process to date unfortunately has been regrettable in regard to not being able to confirm bookings after September and could further affect the Club’s core business, due to possible delays after the June deadline of securing a new lease for September.
How can the public help with The Fly’s cause?
The Club will be sending out an information package shortly to members, and to supporters within the general public to petition the National Trust, and Government, but I’m hopeful it is just a good governance process by the National Trust, and I am making a mountain out of mole hill, but currently the mole hill is high.
A petition is now up on the Fly By Night’s website at flybynight.org. Supporters are asked to print it out and return the completed form to Fly By Night Musicians Club, 1 Holdsworth Street, Fremantle, or post them to PO Box 73, Fremantle WA 6959.