Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you will have heard about the developments affecting the much-loved live music sessions at Maleny Lane, which were recently requested by Council to cease by May 6, 2022. However, all is not lost…

by Victoria McGuin 

Maleny Lane is an inclusive, cosy, open-air venue, with a selection of World Food stalls to savour, while enjoying musicians, poets, storytellers and dancers bringing their creative offerings to the intimate stage.

The FrontUp Club runs on a Monday evening, from 5.30 to approximately 8.30-9pm. People of all ages can book 15-minute slots, and it is a wonderful way to encourage new performers and a space for professional musicians to hone their craft and play for the love of it.

Earlier this year, the HT’s Gay Liddington wrote a double feature story on Steve McLeish, one of the main instigators of the FrontUp Club:

“The artists and young people didn’t have a place to incubate. While having coffee with a couple of artists, an idea hatched. So, I started Saturday morning artists’ coffee catchup with around 40 people attending. Brainstorming, we came up with the FrontUp name. I formulated a plan, and Monday nights FrontUp in Maleny Lane came to life.”

On Friday nights, this characterful little food alley with a BYO option also offers Twilight Gigs – dinner and music. 

Maleny Lane has become a vital, valuable part of the community, especially after the isolation of Covid, where people could reconnect and express themselves. 

However, Maleny Lane’s live music has grown to a point where Council recently decided to categorise the venue as a ‘Nightclub Entertainment Facility’, which it does not have a license for, and yet this venue doesn’t even sell alcohol or stay open after 9pm.

Maleny Lane’s Steve McLeish, Sue Palmer and David Lamond recently met with Councillor Winston Johnston and the Council Compliance Officer to discuss the current directive.

Winston Johnston indicated that he does not support Council shutting the music down at the Lane and he wants to find a solution.

The decision was made that Maleny Lane would ask for an extension to the directive date (which is underway via their solicitor) and then work with Council to find mid- and long-term solutions. One possible solution is to apply for a Market Licence. 

So the good news is, for now, the music can continue on Monday and Friday night, and Steve thinks these recent events could be a catalyst for something exciting. 

The main idea to come to light is to create a new arts hub, something the community definitely needs – and deserves. 

The community is clearly behind Maleny Lane’s live music: a Save Maleny Lane Live Music petition has amassed over 3,800 signatures; over 200 people have written to Council; a “show of support” event was attended by over 300 people, and donations have been received, such as $1000 from Rob Outridge of the Maleny IGA and Ross Rutledge from Maleny Realty.

“With great community spirit and support we were able to turn heads and make a difference in the bureaucratic regulatory machine,” shared Steve.

“Council and their planners could not ignore the passion Maleny has for the arts and live music.

“I think now we have a wonderful opportunity to work with the council to come up with a solution that will suit almost everyone. So please, watch this space.”

Visit the Maleny Lane and the FrontUp Chalkboard Facebook page for updates.

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