Living in Newcastle and being a young (ish) gay man feels at times a little hard up for entertainment and a safe place to meet people. While the Gateway has stood tall for many years as the only LGBT venue in town, only having one option is well, not really an option at all. Another highlight is Picnic In The Park, run by Rainbow Visions, who run the annual LGBT festival that is one of the greatest cultural events our city has to offer. Then in 2012 a second LGBT venue opened, “Unity”, at the Sydney Junction Hotel. It was not just a venue; it was a club and event venue that attracted some amazing national and international talent to our town.
So when I read this year that the picnic in the park was cancelled due to lack of support, and Unity closed due to new management at SJ's, I was honestly really ticked off. It felt like the gay community in Newcastle was just starting to go somewhere and then it all just disappeared. The Rainbow Visions Festival is partially funded by the government but relies a lot on membership and fundraising events to put on more, and sadly it did not raise enough money this year to cover the cost of the picnic.
The Sydney Junction Hotel forced Metro Entertainment's Unity club with the owner Kate Beauchamp stating that she wished for the hotel to go in a “different direction” (oddly enough the hotel is now painted hot pink - looking gayer than it ever did?). I spoke with Aaron Little from Metro Entertainment, who is hard at work finding a new home for Unity in Newcastle. “We are very busy working on getting UNITY Nightclub relaunched at a new venue in Newcastle. Currently we have had many offers, but are looking for the right place to move our safe venue.”
So what can we do? Get out there and support local LGBT events! If we want our community to grow and make a mark in Newcastle, supporting the venues and people that put on these events is essential. We will be posting what is happening on our Facebook page so please get behind our community and show your pink support!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ THE UNITY PRESS RELEASE THAT WENT OUT LAST WEEK.
UNITY FINDS A NEW HOME Newcastle’s UNITY Nightclub has found a new home in Newcastle after being approached by the owners of one of Newcastle's most iconic nightlife hotspots
UNITY's new home is at Newcastle’s Crown & Anchor Hotel. The Crown & Anchor Hotel owners approached Metro Entertainment directors Aaron Little & Ashley Doran after hearing about the clubs sudden ejection from the Sydney Junction Hotel at the hands of the Hamilton hotel’s new licensee.
The Crown & Anchor has dedicated its 2nd floor club level, formerly the iconic “Frostbites”, to UNITY after hearing about the plight of the club. The owners of the Crown and Anchor have copped their fair share of media attention recently when they met heavy opposition from residents to turn the hotel into a gentleman’s club however have decided to work with UNITY, a nightclub brand which had statistically the lowest recorded incidents of alcohol-related violence in the Newcastle area in the last 12 months.
“We received so many calls from licensees, club promoters and venue owners in the Newcastle area and beyond, wanting to take UNITY after the Newcastle Herald published their story on UNITY”, said director Aaron Little.
“The boys at the Crown and Anchor are young, full of ideas and wanted to help the LGBT community of Newcastle plus it’s a great venue” explained Little regarding the reason that the Crown & Anchor was their final choice. “It’s centrally located, close to public transport, there’s a taxi rank directly outside and with our clubs record of outstanding patron behaviour we think it’s going to be an asset to that area of town and really help to rejuvenate nightlife in a positive direction.”
“People are under the perception that UNITY is a “gay” bar… but it’s not. Yes, we provide a safe space for the gay, lesbian and transgender community of Newcastle but we also have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any sort (race, gender or sexuality) and a zero-tolerance policy on violence or bullying of any type. Everyone is welcome at UNITY as long as you are there to have a good time and you believe, accept, respect and promote that everyone is different.”
At this point UNITY promoters have advised that the club will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will play host to many of Australia’s best DJ’s, performing artists and drag queens. Whilst Friday and Saturday nights have always been extremely busy for the nightclub brand the promoters hope to bring back “Sunday sessions” to the inner city where patrons can enjoy laidback house music with a cocktail or 2 on one of the two balconies overlooking the mall and the harbour during summer.
UNITY will open on Friday 8 November with Diva award winning DJ (2006-2013) KITTY GLITTER plus a huge show lineup and some very special international guests on the Saturday 9 November
The Crown & Anchor Hotel is located at 189 Hunter Street Newcastle. For more information on UNITY go to their website www.unitynightclub.com