Governmental as anything

live music and law and order in Melbourne


  • Shane Homan Monash University



live music, cultural policy, music regulation


On 23 February 2010, shoppers and café patrons in Swanston Street in Melbourne’s Central Business District were confronted by the sight of an estimated 20,000 musicians, fans, publicans, school children, parents and music industry workers marching to state parliament to protest the branding of music venues as part of the city’s problems relating to alcohol consumption and law and order. In this paper I document the arguments of both the government and the live music industry in a battle that raised important questions about Melbourne’s self-image as the cultural capital of Australia. It also provides a recent case study of how the live music venue remains a constant test case in government attempts to reconcile conflicting cultural, economic and urban policy.

Author Biography

Shane Homan, Monash University

Shane Homan is Associate Professor in Communications and Media Studies in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, Monash University. He is the co-author (with Dobe Newton) of a recent commissioned report for Melbourne City Council, The Music Capital: City of Melbourne Music Strategy; and is currently project leader of an Australian Research Council grant, Policy Notes, investigating (with Martin Cloonan, Roy Shuker and Jennifer Cattermole) music policy in New Zealand, Scotland and Australia.


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How to Cite

Homan, S. (2011). Governmental as anything: live music and law and order in Melbourne. Perfect Beat, 11(2), 103–118.