Cooperative spirit in ‘Darlo’ speaks volumes

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 3:24 PM

Volumes2015 nine-hour micro music festival was held on Saturday 29 August across three venues on Sydney’s busy Oxford Street, Darlinghurst; a ‘passion project’ of one of the venue’s Operations Managers, James Spink. This was the first Live and Local event not activated by the Live Music Office (LMO) and instead organically driven by a civic minded, and, admittedly, starry-eyed entrepreneur.

James Spink (Oxford Arts Factory) said, “Apart from a few event management modules at TAFE, I went into this project with just enthusiasm and the operational skills I’ve engaged here. We had up to 5,000 come though the doors here each week.”

Volumes2015

“Volumes2015 proved people can come together to deliver a small community music event, without a tabloid headline in sight,” he said.

Early in planning, James sought the advice of the City of Sydney and the LMO and used many of the resources available from both to guide the event.

James invested up to 70 hours a week for several months, along with a small and dedicated team of friends and encouraged by his ‘boss’ Mark Gerber, venue booker Tom Byrnes as well as the enthusiasm of other venue licensees in Oxford Street.

Because this was James’ fledgling project, he chose a Saturday event to ensure ticket sales would fund the event - and the strategy paid off with all venues at capacity.

“We kicked off at 2pm and for our venue and we still had patrons until 11pm. The only incidents we had were incidence of people having a great time enjoying music on a sunny late winter’s afternoon. Even though we had a pedestrian crossing across Oxford Street to manage, with careful planning and safety management company connections we made through the LMO, the event was trouble free.”

James plans very few modifications to Volumes2016, “My plan was always to keep the momentum going so we could host events like this year-round and I am pleased to say that all venues reported record or near-record trade that day not seen since the lock out laws were enacted. On top of great audience feedback and no safety issues, it felt like a huge success,” he said.

“It a very transient area of Sydney so it was great to see the community spirit – local radio station FBi Radio, suppliers, record labels, the media, venues, local government and APRA AMCOS all worked to help make it happen and support the concept.,” he said.

Surry Hills/Darlinghurst (postcode 2010) actually comes in 9th as a honeypot for songwriters and composers, according to APRA AMCOS’ annual postcode rankings. It is the home of most of the country’s dance/techno writers, but also performs well in several other genres.

Volumes2016 is in progress and James is happy to share the secrets of his event success by email.


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