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Temple: Auckland's Live Music Venue To Close

Temple - Auckland's Live Original Music Venue To Close

The proposed Smokefree Environments (Enhanced Protection) Bill currently being debated in Parliament is forcing Auckland's only dedicated live original music venue to close its doors after 8 years and approximately 25,000 performances.

The Temple, renowned for its support of NZ original music, will open for the last time on Saturday 11 October says owner Karen q Temple.

While there possibly would be more non-smokers in bars, they will not generate enough revenue for her to continue operating, according to a survey she has conducted.

"My research has shown that if the legislation is passed, we would potentially have more punters but less turnover. The non-smokers who do not currently go out to bars because of the smoke will spend far less than the smokers who drink," says Ms Temple.

"The cold hard business fact is that they don't support themselves, revenue-wise," she says.

Ms Temple says that if the proposed legislation is passed into law, a host of other problems will surface.

"The Government needs to look at the larger issues. Livelihoods and employment opportunities will be affected. You also can't pass legislation and put it back on business to police it. For a small business like the Temple, the legislation will be impossible to enforce. Not only will we need to ensure customers don't smoke, people are going to go outside with their drinks, which contravenes the Sale of Liquor Act. It will also create noise issues when people go outside to have a cigarette. People make a lot of noise," says Ms Temple.

Ms Temple also says that drinks prices and cover charges will increase as bars struggle to retain revenue, which she predicts will fall by at least 10 - 15%.

"The cost structures will have to change if the spend per head goes down," she says.

Another major factor in deciding to close the Temple, is the ongoing noise control issue that the venue has been battling for a number of years. The legal costs of addressing this issue have amounted to nearly $20,000 with more to come if the venue was to attempt to keep operating. Most major centres around the country are also facing noise control issues, which threaten to halt the increasing profile and standard of the NZ music industry.

She says the issue has been created by a lack of foresight by regulatory bodies and poor sound proofing of inner city apartments - there needs to be increased awareness of the realities of inner city living.

"It's noisy living in the city. The physical layout of the city (for residential living) also needs to be addressed," says Ms Temple.

Ms Temple is also concerned that while the profile of NZ music has never been greater, the music industry is losing an irreplaceable resource at grass roots level.

"By the time you get to hear your Anika Moa's, your Datsuns, your Evermore's and D4's, they have had to play somewhere before they got known. Venues that provide performance space for emerging artists need to be better supported," says Ms Temple.

"It is important that the public support NZ music at a grass roots level, if they want to continue to see musicians coming out of NZ we can be proud to see represent NZ on the global stage," she says.

"The whole infrastructure is aimed at the mid to top level - There's not a lot of infrastructure at entry level. The Temple is often the first point of contact for musicians as they enter the industry. The performance opportunities at the Temple are structured to give people a pathway and to meet different levels of experience."

The Temple not only provides performance space but a host of support services and networks.

"We host workshops and competitions, provide musicians with promotional material, advice, mentoring, access to recording, a website which is a huge resource for anyone involved in the music industry and publish tool-kits on different aspects of a musician's career," says Ms Temple.

"The Temple has been the infrastructure for the music industry at this level," she says.

Look forward to an action-packed last couple of months, with events such as the York Street Studios Acid Test, CDS Productions Open Mic Night Competition, our AK03 programme, Temple favourites such as Chris Knox, Mahinarangi Tocker, Káren Hunter, Graham Brazier, Hammond Gamble and Dave McArtney as well as some HUGE closing parties!!

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