Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel will stop hosting live music in April

Its owners have cited their landlord’s decision to renovate it into hostel accomodation

Sydney’s iconic Lansdowne Hotel will be ceasing operations as a music venue – for the second time – in April, with its owners citing their landlord’s decision to renovate it into hostel accomodation.

The news came this afternoon (February 2) in a statement shared by the venue’s parent company, Mary’s Live – a spin-off of the titular burger chain that originated in Newtown – who have steered its operations since 2017.

They noted that shuttering the gig room to host accomodation was “not a part of our vision for the Lansdowne”, and as such have “decided to call time on [their] custodianship of this iconic live music venue”. NME has reached out to the venue and its landlords for comment.

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The crew have nevertheless assured punters that they will be “working with the landlords to facilitate the remaining shows” booked between now and the end of April. At the time of writing, the last act slated to perform at the Lansdowne is local indie-folk artist Oly Sherman, whose gig is pencilled in for April 29.

The venue, which first opened in 1932, operated as one of Sydney’s prime hotspots for live music throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. It was eventually shut in 2015, before being reopened by the Mary’s team (led by Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham) in 2017.

“2022 was shaping up to be one of the busiest [years] at the Lansdowne,” Smyth and Graham said in today’s statement, noting that they “will forever be proud of what was achieved” at the venue in their four years of running it. They assured regulars that they would not be leaving the live music scene, endeavouring to “provid[e] stages for new and emerging voices at Mary’s Underground and in venues yet to come”.

“The Lansdowne came to be a figurehead in the recapturing of our collective conscience, a bulwark against the tide of closures and a voice against the apathy that had snuck into the core of the conversations around our vital nighttime culture,” they wrote. “The Lansdowne showed the power of art and its deeply important role in our city and our culture.”

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Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Lansdowne served as the setting of the ‘Empty Room Sessions’ video series. Among the bands to have performed for that include PLANET, The Buoys and Party Dozen.

Since its 2017 reopening, notable acts to perform at the Lansdowne include Amyl And The Sniffers, Girl In Red, Wolf Alice, IDLES and Billie Eilish.

In a review of Violent Soho’s performance there last February, NME’s David James Young wrote: “You could probably hazard a guess as to what ensued: Bodies went flying, manes of hair thrashed in time with Mikey Richards’ pounding drums and the singing got so loud that frontman Luke Boerdam could have dropped off-mic at any time and allowed the pub choir to take the reins.”

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