Though Australia has long been seen as a leading market for electronic music with prominent artists like Flume and What So Not rising from the region as well as prolific major festival brands like Stereosonic. However, Murat Kilic of Reckless Republic and Spice in Australia offered an important and insightful look into the darker side of the Australian scene in his opening keynote titled “Saving Sydney.”
Murat himself was impacted by the city’s strict laws and regulations that were placed on the city’s once-prosperous nightlife and entertainment scene. He watched his own venue – which was previously thriving with success – crumble, and he told the heart-breaking story of how each of his employees were personally affected. The speech was difficult to hear, but a necessary cautionary tale to share with the room.
“We had to survive and adapt or we died – that was it. There were casualties. I was a casualty. Watching something you’ve built with love and passion be destroyed like a house of cards really hurts.”
Murat’s tale was a haunting story and warning of what tight government chokeholds could do to an entire city’s scene. Essentially, Sydney’s culture has been decimated and currently sits in a state of flux. Though the future of the city remains to be seen, Murat’s story is a crucial take away for industry professionals from all over Asia-Pacific and the world.
“We don’t really like change, but often change is necessary. Sometimes it comes from within us, and sometimes it comes from an external force. Sydney’s electronic music scene was changed by the government. Our community, our identity, our livelihood is all threatened. We have to save Sydney’s soul.”