SAD FAREWELL: Dusty Attic co-owner Kate Stroud pictured in September 2018, shortly after the venue opened. Photo: Marc Stapelberg
SAD FAREWELL: Dusty Attic co-owner Kate Stroud pictured in September 2018, shortly after the venue opened. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

Popular Lismore venue announces shock closure

A POPULAR Lismore venue announced its shock closure on social media last night.

Dusty Attic Music Lounge co-owner Kate Stroud said the music lounge, which has enjoyed enormous popularity since it opened in September 2018, will close early next month.

Posting on the Dusty Attic Facebook page, Ms Stroud said: "It's important to have dreams, it's important to be bold."

"But most of all its important to listen. Sometimes the universe has bigger plans for us and if we don't listen it will yell at you loudly," the post reads.

"The secret to life is to follow your flow and this thing just aint' flowing."

Ms Stroud announced "unfortunately due to powers outside of my own I need to move on from the Dusty project".

"Without the support of an innovative planning team within our council, without realistic rental and rate prices (we pay $10,000 in rates a year) and all the other seemingly unnecessary hands reaching into the pockets of small business owners, doors will continue to shut in our beautiful town," she said in the post.

"The system to me, seems broken and these old models don't align with the contemporary business landscape.

"A four-year battle got us a year and half of magic … a little glimpse of what we could have should the system have a reality check and stop choking small business.

"For now I choose to not participate in this as I believe there is a much better way."

The post goes on to speak about the positives the venture had created for the town.

"We created 14 jobs. We supported only local growers and food artisans. We produced over 170 gigs. We survived a natural disaster.

"I secured funding that injected $40,000 into the pockets of NSW musicians and industry professionals.

"We made it one time round the sun despite all odds.

"Most importantly we made the safe and inclusive space that celebrated creative outcomes, fostering community that I have always dreamed of."

Ms Stroud used the post to explain the reason for the sudden closure.

"I have been told that the proposed warehouse expansion will never be approved due to 'fire safety concerns'," she said.

"Council also estimated contribution fees between $32,000 and $96,000 which is not a realistic cost for us to carry.

"Given there is no prospect of increasing our capacity and scaling our business, I have no choice but to close the doors to prevent any further loss."

Ms Stroud thanked residents for their "immense support and encouragement".

"It has been the heart beat that kept me going," the post said.

"I will continue to advocate for the Arts in Lismore through my partnership with Norpa.

Sam will continue to bring you 'real food' at the Tuesday Organic Markets.

"Time to re-imagine and welcome in the new chapter. It's been such a wild and colourful ride," she said.

"Who knows what's next … how bloody exciting.

This isn't a sad moment, it's the transition to the new. Let's celebrate all that has been so magic about this chapter."

Ms Stroud said the venue's final day of trade will be February 1, with band APTS (Apartments) the final performance for Dusty Attic Music Lounge.

The post was immediately met with an outpouring of dismay, with many commenters despairing the loss of the venue.

Mariella Childs said "so sorry about the hurdles this sorry excuse of a council has put you through. Another enterprising small business bites the dust".

Sue Guild was also scathing of council, saying "dying town with little foresight and imagination shown by those at City Hall. A disgrace. So sorry to see this happen".

Nathan Gordon said he found the news with "absolute devastation! Dusty will be sorely missed", while Zoe Xanadu said "thank you for everything you have done to spark magic in our town. That little corner will always have echoes of the delight you facilitated, and I know you'll continue to shine and glow in all your projects."