THE nightlife on NSW’s South Coast is about to experience a change for the better, according to the promoters of Industry nightclub opening tonight in Wollongong, with the venue to open its doors to the local LGBTI community and others wanting to party in a safe and truly diverse environment.
Pop sister-duo The Veronicas will headline the grand opening party taking place across Friday and Saturday nights at Industry, which is located at the old Castro’s site. Regular events to take place in coming weeks will include Australian and international artists, DJs, dancers, singers and drag queens.
Industry is the brainchild of Metro Entertainment, the company behind the Unity nightclub events in Newcastle catering to LGBTI people and their friends.
Metro Entertainment directors, Aaron Little and Ashley Doran, said they hoped to replicate that model in Wollongong.
“We ran Unity not as a ‘gay bar’ but rather a ‘safe venue’ that is accepting of all sexualities, genders, races, abilities and offers a truly diverse environment,” Mr Little said.
“Some of our favourite clientele were the heterosexual guys and girls that just wanted to come and have a good time and be part of an awesome community that promotes love and acceptance, without having to deal with intimidation from ‘knuckle-heads’ that just wanted to ‘punch-on’ in the other clubs.”
Since opening in the early part of 2012, Unity has been commended by the local Newcastle police for helping curb alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour in the city. It has also provided a space for LGBTI people to enjoy themselves in a safe atmosphere outside of Sydney.
“Society too often forgets the LGBTI communities in regional areas and satellite cities,” Doran said. “These areas are just as diverse as our capital cities and are home to tens of thousands of people who feel isolated, disconnected and out of place because they don’t have the same access to events and experiences that help to connect them (to each other) that their heterosexual counterparts have access to.
“Its important not only for their mental health and wellbeing but also equally as important for the regions economy to retain and maintain a healthy and well-populated LGBTQI community rather than losing people to the capital cities. More needs to be done for these communities in regional NSW and opening diverse and safe venues dedicated to fostering a healthy community is good first-step forward.”