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Rough Love Sessions poster artwork


The Rough Love Sessions event was due to happen this Saturday at the Oxford Street Laneway, but difficulties with Vincent council and local businesses have shut it down. BOB GORDON chats with co-organiser, Brandon D’Silva.

How’s it looking for the Rough Love Sessions on Saturday?

Unfortunately not good. I woke up to a call and text that I’d sent you earlier. I’ve spoken to the mayor and the event is definitely no longer approved to go ahead in the laneway. Apparently one of the council members did not attend last Tuesday night due to having Ross River Virus. We were not notified that there was potential for it to be cancelled after the council had already approved it last week, otherwise we wouldn’t have announced the event.

Sadly, we’ll have to cancel the event as Rough Love Sessions was always meant to be a free event concept in and around Perth’s under-utilised spaces, where we’d at least break even from bar sales to cover our expenses until we could get a sponsor on board. This event was meant to be the trial to show potential sponsors a physical example of it.

Finding a licensed venue goes against what it’s about, as we’d need to do a cover charge to cover the event’s expenses and addition of a venue hire fee, and it just won’t have the same feeling compared to doing it outdoors.

What’s more disheartening is that we spent the last three months in negotiations, planning and just general energy and labour poured into the event. To have the laneway taken away from us on the week of the event after it went to council and got approved, is a heavy financial hit, and unfair for our patrons and our business’ reputation.

When you planned this event did you ever entertain the idea that it would be deemed ‘controversial’?

Not at all. Who would have thought trying to activate a laneway event with free entry and a 200 capacity would create such a political storm! It’s just putting a generator, some toilets a custom LED bar and DJ booth in a nicely decorated laneway and transforming it into a space for like-minded people to vibe out. Mayor John Carey who was in support of our event said it best, ‘we’re urban, not suburban’. But I guess house music is the devil to some.

What are your thoughts on the grievances aired by some of the councillors and nearby retailers?

The owner of Sienna’s and Greens N Co are strongly against the event, among half the City of Vincent Council, despite us being prepared to adhere to all the noise and council regulations for the event, having a minimal impact on surrounding businesses. We were also asked to pay a $10,000 bond after we had already announced the event and it was approved by council, along with our approved liquor license. We were willing to pay it just so we didn’t have to cancel the event and let the people down who were looking forward to the event.

However today they said they made a mistake with how the voting should be calculated for the event, and it needs to have all of them in favour, as opposed to 4 in favour, 4 against and the Mayor making the final in-favour decision. It really sounds like there’s a bigger political reasoning behind this.

Our guest DJ Mihai Popoviciu would easily fill a 500+ capacity club in Europe, and we were putting him on for free entertainment as part of our community development ethos.

It makes you wonder why they spent money developing that laneway by putting lights and seating fixtures throughout it, and a majority aren’t in favour of utilising it. I guess some people just don’t understand what music’s about, and I feel deeply sorry for them.

In an article from Perth Voice, Andrew Parrissis, the owner of Sienna’s, really made it sound like it was all about money. Sure, we may take a couple of his walk-ins, but I don’t think mentioning that he pays taxes and rates, and that he and his family live in the city, and labelling me a ‘promoter from nowhere’ is necessary. I’m born in WA, been living in Perth since I was 4, in the entertainment industry since I was 15, and now currently running two businesses that solely focus on vitalising Perth toward a more cultured lifestyle, by the way. Whether you’re a restaurant or a bar, there’s more to running a business than filling your own pockets with cash, but I guess everyone’s intentions and priorities are different.

Would the noise levels affect the businesses close by?

We were planning on positioning the speakers facing in the opposite direction to the closest operating premises. We had an approved Noise Management Plan, and were going to adhere to the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 Act.

Do you find it ironic that a huff is being made about this over the same weekend that two Giants walked a $5 million dollar trail through the middle of the city?

Highly. You can block roads in a majority of the city blasting music but you can’t close a laneway for a night to come together and interact with other people collectively, right? Sure it was something different, and it brought a mass amount of people to the city, but I do wonder if people left the viewing and said, ‘man that was awesome, it felt so good, I can’t wait for them to come back so I can stand there and watch them again!’

I live in the city, the music for The Giants played for a while but I didn’t care. If I did I wouldn’t complain though, I just wouldn’t live around the area. It’s sort of like a giant metaphor about taking a piss on our city, if you catch my drift.



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