Local musicians have been mourning the imminent loss of a venue that has been long regarded as the home of live music in Wagga.
The Home Tavern on Fitzmaurice Street was put on the market for $1.75 million last week and, according to a Fitzpatricks Real Estate agent, will have its hotel licence removed to allow for redevelopment into retail and office spaces.
With the end of an era dawning, Wagga musician Geoff Simpson of the Groove Factorie said the Home had always been a place where local musicians could have a go in front of a live audience.
“It’s pretty sad, in fact it’s really sad to see it go, because they’ve been all about fostering and nourishing local music and musicians,” Mr Simpson said.
“It’s only recently become a place where bigger touring bands have visited, but it’s always been a place where young musicians could go and apply their craft to an appreciative audience.”
That was a sentiment shared by Wagga’s Damian Evans, who has worked as a professional musician and music educator for more than 20 years.
“The Home has been an institution for live music in Wagga and a meeting place for musicians and music enthusiasts for a long time,” Mr Evans said.
“There are very few venues suitable to play live music, and the Home was really the only one with a purpose built (sound) system.”
That purpose built sound system meant the Home was also able host big name acts throughout the years, including Kasey Chambers, Daryl Braithwaite, Shannon Noll, Dragon, and the Choirboys.
Mr Evans, who is also the curator of Wagga’s recurring live music street festival Fitz Live, said it was time to get creative and discover new ways to promote live music in the Riverina.
“The imminent closing brings to a head a desperate need for new venues in Wagga and a change in the landscape for the live music scene,” he said.
“We live in a different world where people can watch whatever they want on TV and listen to whatever they want on Spotify and the internet.
“Live music across the country has suffered as a result, but perhaps it's starting to change again with musicians being forced to create new opportunities.”
With events like Fitz Live and Original Sundays emerging, Mr Evans said he hoped Wagga’s live music scene would live on.