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Perth Basement Music Venue The Sewing Room To Close Its Doors

20 April 2023 | 9:31 am | Mary Varvaris

The Sewing Room will close its doors at the end of this month.

(Source: Supplied)

Perth music venue The Sewing Room has hosted many of our favourite acts, from Spacey Jane to G-Flip to Voyager, but at the end of April, the basement space will close its doors.

Run by Mark Neal at Blue Grey Pink, the 320-capacity venue opened in 2017. The Sewing Room quickly became a haven for DJs, dance artists and EDM-loving communities with its unique nightclub licence; the first to be granted in 30 years. In its five years, The Sewing Room remained open until 5 am, keeping the music going all night.

Neal is candid in a statement offered to The Music, admitting that the venue “didn’t make enough money,” but he is currently making space for something new in the Perth music scene.

Blue Grey Pink will continue to support WA music. Winners of the 2020 and 2022 WAM Label of the Year awards, the booking agency recently took on music bookings for The Moon Cafe in Northbridge. It will continue to work in music through artist management and label releases. 

Only two weekends remain until the giant wooden doors on Wolf Lane are closed forever. 

“A unique space in the WA music community, for five and a half years, we hosted a wide variety of events in both the live music and electronic music sector. Hosting up to 5 events per weekend that range from up-and-coming artists to national touring acts,” Neal began in a statement about the venue’s closure.

“We saw Spacey Jane playing a support spot on our little stage, and other acts like G-Flip, Noah Dillon, Sly Withers, Ruby Fields, Gum, Waax, Voyager, and Great Gable have all gone on to sell out bigger rooms around the country. That’s just to name a few of the artists who played shows here. We nurtured new talent with weekday events and ran heaps of after-work shows for the inner city audiences.”

Neal continued, “The Sewing Room became home for a lot of Drum and Bass events. We have had a long list of talent coming through the space, both from DJs, Dance, and promoters. The underground dance scene fit perfectly in The Sewing Room; it was home for a lot of club people who wanted an alternative to the big room shows.”

The Sewing Room is also an accessible nightclub, one of the most accessible in the Perth CBD, “with a lift installed at the entry and the first gender-neutral toilet in the city. We actively ran shows for accessible audiences with suitable lighting and space for everyone to feel comfortable,” Neal said.

Neal added, “The owners of The Sewing Room are closing down the business to make room for something new. In reality, the venue didn’t make enough money. There's a lot of factors that went against us.”

Neal cited a change in drinking culture as one of those factors: “For starters, much like every other venue in Australia, we exist on drink sales, and the drinking culture is changing. The cost of living has gone up, and the price of drinks has gone with it. Young people are smarter and healthier, they don’t wanna get caught on film doing something stupid while drunk, and they have to be more conscious of how they spend their money.”

“It’s a good thing the alcohol culture is changing, but it’s tough for live music spaces. If we charged more for tickets, then the space becomes less accessible, we’d be open less often, and we wouldn’t be able to support younger artists.”

“Nightlife in Perth city has been struggling for several years,” Neal concluded. “Before the COVID lockdowns, we saw constant campaigns run by the City of Perth trying to bring in people and promote the city. Perth is a spread out state, and people don’t want to travel far for entertainment anymore.”

The Sewing Room is hosting an “It’s The End” party tomorrow night featuring local sets from Daniel Castledine, Park Authority and Increment.