Live music to return to Brisbane venue The Zoo from July

The venue is set to open with two groups of 100 people per night

Brisbane venue The Zoo has announced it will begin hosting socially-distanced concerts from July, marking the first decision from a major music venue to return to business in Australia.

The Fortitude Valley venue’s new ‘Anti-Social’ gig program will see shows begin from July 11, with two groups of 100 people allowed in the venue each night. 30 shows are planned, with the current schedule ending in early September.

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The move takes immediate advantage of Queensland’s easing of coronavirus restrictions on July 10 to allow public gatherings of up to 100 people. The venue said the Anti-Social program was “centred around embracing change and adapting to new thought process[es] while focusing on and supporting local and grassroots artists”.

“At all times we will be working within approve COVID safe plans, restrictions and guidelines, while trying to preserve an authentic live music experience,” venue managers said in an Instagram post.

Hip-hop collective Butterfingers will kick off the run of shows on July 11, with The Dreggs, Bugs, The Steele Syndicate, and more also set to perform in the run. Tickets to all shows are set to go on sale tomorrow (June 11) from 10am AEST here.

The Zoo’s owner Pixie Weyland told The Music the venue had originally planned to wait until they could open until 500 people were allowed back in the venue.

“Generally 100 people in the venue for us is a financial loss so it took a bit of adjusting to make sense of it all and change my mindset,” Weyland said.

“We need to absolutely work with whats in front of us together and as an industry we need to be agile, creative and flexible otherwise we will remain stagnant or even worse be forced into silence for good.”

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Western Australia has the laxest public gathering restrictions in the country currently, with its third phase in easing COVID-19 restrictions allowing for large venues to open with 300 person capacity. No major venue in the state however has made an announcement regarding the return of live music. The picture in the rest of Australia also remains unclear.

Victoria will allow concert venues to open “with up to 50 seated patrons per space” from 11.59pm AEST on June 21. The Athenaeum Theatre is the first venue in the state to announce they will take advantage of the new rules, welcoming small live studio audiences as part of the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall initiative.

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