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Sydney’s Club 77 was pumped to celebrate its Cold Club’s “second brrrthday” last night with a hearty dose of techno culture, booking a six-act bill of DJs to toast two years of “Cold Times, great classic hits” during the opening weekend of the Vivid Light Festival.
Sadly, NSW police derailed the fun, with a gang of 15 officers allegedly storming the venue, turfing interstate headliner Vegas Collie from the premises (forcibly canning his set), tasering a punter in a “back alley” for refusing to comply with their drug search and employing a number of “bullying” and “intimidation” tactics against both patrons and staff despite finding zero drugs and making zero arrests for their efforts.
These concerning allegations come from club runner Matty Bicket himself, who’s taken to Facebook to vent his frustrations in a fiery rant against “over the top policing” and the #nannystate.
“15 police and a sniffer dog arrived at club 77 last night storming the venue, 0 arrests were made, 0 drugs were found,” Bicket fumes.
“Our headline act from Melbourne was searched and barred from the club for the evening (even though he had done nothing wrong except have a lot of tattoos or something). he was unable to play his set.”
The irate businessman continues: “One kid was apparently tazered in the back alley for not complying and multiple were searched in inappropriate places in front of people. Upon asking wtf was going on and introducing myself as the person running and booking the establishment I was given no interest, interaction or time and kept in the dark.”
But that was far from the end of Bicket’s nightmare.
“The police then visited our humble venue again, sitting at the front door intimidating and acting as rsa marshals telling us who were intoxicated and dragging people out of the club yet again,” he alleges. “The result of this? A bad taste in my mouth for over the top policing, a loss of income, and a pissed off promoter.
“I’m running a fucking business, i pay tax and I work extremely hard to hold onto what we have here to keep a culture, I don’t deserve to be bullied and treated like a fucking criminal. I don’t know any other type of business or industry that gets treated so poorly. Thanks NSW police.”
Anti-lockouts group Keep Sydney Open have also weighed in on the drama, sharing Bickett’s status and offering their own thoughts on proceedings.
“Just when a little confidence in Sydney’s nightlife starts to build, NSW Police pull a stunt like this,” they write. “We need to have a very serious conversation about police conduct and their use of taxpayer-funded resources.”
Music Feeds has contacted NSW Police for comment.
ICYMI: this incident plays into an ongoing debate surrounding the state’s harsh regulation and its impact on live music and culture in the city of Sydney. If you need a refresher, we’ve seen more live music venues than we can count shut down as a result of the city’s strict lockout laws, live music threatened or cancelled as a result of one-off noise complaints (this has happened more than once) and numerous other bizarre incidents, like the time police stormed in to shut down a chorus of backpackers singing DJ Otzi’s ‘Hey Baby’ on the rooftop of The Bondi Hotel or the time they accused a restaurant of “promoting unsavoury behaviour” with their bloody wine list.
A Sydney live music venue operator has previously alleged to Music Feeds that licensing police have been “coming down hard” on any venue that expresses solidarity with the Keep Sydney Open movement.
“There’s politics and strings being pulled in the background and businesses have everything to lose,” he claimed. “The licensing police have made me feel threatened with regard to our ability to trade despite being a very responsible venue. They are relentless.
“They treat us like we’re the problem when we should be working together to achieve a solution.”
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