Anna & Jed will appear at the Jacaranda Hotel this Friday night. Photo: Darcy Scott
Anna & Jed will appear at the Jacaranda Hotel this Friday night. Photo: Darcy Scott

Live music scene makes a comeback in the Clarence

WHEN Craig and Narelle Want took over the Jacaranda Hotel five years ago, they wanted to spread their love of music to their customers and become a hub for local entertainment.

As pubs around the country take tentative steps coming out of COVID-19 lockdown back into business, they want to do the same again.

The hotel started hosting weekly live entertainment sessions in their outdoor beer garden again when Michael Baxter performed on June 27.

While they might not be the rocking nights of old times, the pair are determined to support the entertainment scene in a responsible and safe manner.

“We were thinking of doing a musical bingo night, when musician Michael Baxter rang us,” Ms Want said.

“He had a gig booked, and was asking what our plans were … and we just ran with it.”

The sessions run from 6-9pm with strict controls on the crowd and how the sessions run — something the bands are also on board with.

A little taste of live music, thank you Michael and Ryan, awesome 👏 ❤️ they will be back at the Jacaranda Hotel on Saturday the 18th July, 6-9 PM.

Posted by Jacaranda Hotel Grafton on Saturday, 27 June 2020

“It’s a good time. People are coming in to dine in the restaurant and they can dine outside and listen to the music,” Ms Want said.

“People aren’t allowed to dance and have to stay in their seats, and Michael said that he’d stop the music and ask people to sit down if they got up.

“And he did — somebody got up and he stopped and asked them to sit down.”

Ms Want said that despite trying to get back onto their feet as part of the first industry that went into lockdown, it had to be done responsibly.

>>> HOW IT STARTED: 40 gigs gone in four days

“Safety is the main importance for everyone,” she said. “It’s not just us, but it’s about the people who come into the hotel and others as well.

“(Coronavirus) is still around, and it was always still going to be around, and I think people are a bit complacent.

“We’ve always been fairly strict with what we do here. Sometimes people don’t like it, but it works for us.”

>>> HERE IT GOES AGAIN: Pubs, clubs get new restrictions

Ms Want said there had been a strong response to the entertainment, with good forward booking for their upcoming weeks justifying the risks they have taken.

“As long as we’ve got some people coming through the door, we’ll keep it going. We can’t give up,” she said.

“We know as well that some of the musicians, they’re in the same situation as us and they rely on it, so we’re trying to give them a go as well.”

Ms Want said it was just one of many stepping stones to getting back to what would be a new normal.

“It’s been a hell of a ride for all the pubs, and we’re just trying to work outside the square and do it safely.”

Anna & Jed will play from 6-9pm this Friday, with Al from Sabotage playing next Saturday night.

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