AFTER spending a small fortune on legal costs, former motor mechanic and security guard Neil Swan has won a prolonged battle to host live band concerts in his Liebig Street pool hall tavern.
He got the official OK from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week and will stage his first gig this Saturday night in the upstairs venue. “It’s been my dream to have a live performance venue, but it’s been a hard road,” the Your Break proprietor told The Standard yesterday.
“I’ve had to re-mortgage the house and sell my cars to pay for the expensive legal costs. But now finally we are off and running.”
Since he obtained a Warrnambool City Council planning permit in December 2007 to operate a tavern and pool table hall Mr Swan has been through three liquor licensing commission hearings and a VCAT challenge chasing the right to stage live entertainment.
A dozen objections from nearby business operators and residents initially challenged the proposal, with police also raising concerns.
“In the end VCAT ruled in my favour and I received the official ruling in writing on Friday,” he said.
“The liquor licence has been amended to allow live music performances under our 1am permit. It won’t be just bands, but we’ll have a burlesque dance troupe, stand-up comedians and other artists.
“The venue has legal capacity of 532 people, but we’ll hold it to about 200.
“It will fill a gap left when the Criterion Hotel closed.”
Saturday’s opening gig features local rock band Michelles Velocity. He’s also booked Guns’n’Roses tribute band, Appetite for Destruction, for October 27, a Lady Ga Ga tribute group and other big-name tribute acts into next year.
In the meantime he hopes to have a regular offering of local district bands and will continue to run pool competitions and social nights.