After nine years of operating in Sydney’s Chippendale neighborhood, intimate Venue Freda’s will be forced to close on November 21st. Management had overcome numerous challenges over the years, but impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have left them no choice but to shutter their doors.
“After surviving five years of lock outs, red tape, rising rents, and an exodus of youth from the city centre, Freda’s had finally been flourishing after receiving one of Sydney’s first 4:00 AM licenses (outside the casino) since the heady days of the Olympics,” wrote Freda’s owner David Abram in a Facebook post. “We had been looking forward to by far our most successful and stable year ever. Boy were we wrong.”
Abram went on to suggest that coronavirus or otherwise, however, the nightlife hotpot’s time was limited. “Although we could not foresee an international pandemic, it had already become clear to us that we were not part of the long-term plans for our building,” he went on. “The 100 year old warehouse we have inhabited, as is the way for many grassroots cultural spaces, will eventually become a memory to the high rise construction that is likely to envelop Chippendale in the next 10 years.”
After opening in 2001, Freda’s became a prominent platform for up-and-coming talent from in and around Sydney. NO ZU, Karifi Ensemble, Ramzi and Freda & Jackson are but a few of the artists to perform there over the years. Over the next three weeks, the space will play host to artists like Rimbombo, Gauci, Heavenly, Vibe Positive, Pelvis, and the Freda’s House Band as part of a series of farewell celebrations called Festival of Freda’s.
Despite the circumstances, Abram closed out on a positive note. “Finally, while we are saying goodbye to a beloved space, this isn’t goodbye forever,” he wrote. “When one door closes, another one opens. We will see you again soon.”