For many of us our venues are more than just bars and clubs, they are community spaces, places in which we can feel safe and come together. In Melbourne particularly, where we are now just a week into our second lockdown, many may be starting to realise just what’s at stake for the owners and operators of such places.
The Laird Hotel is one such space, that since 1980 has been serving our community and for the past three years has also served as the home for Melbourne Rubber.
“Usually in the first weekend in July, we would be crowning Melbourne Rubber Man at The Laird.” Jason Pearce, Melbourne Rubber Man 2019 told Star Observer.
“Melbourne Rubber only started about three years ago, back then it was called Melbourne Rubber Men, only this year did we decide to drop the Men from our name and become more gender inclusive.”
Recently, Melbourne Rubber decided that it was time to give back to The Laird Hotel, as Jason explained.
“They offered the space to do it for nothing but I said to a couple of guys ‘how about we do a little GoFundMe and help give them some money for supporting us’, it evolved from there and turned into the whole community wanting to pitch in.”
When asked how he thought the community may change as a result of the current state of play, Pearce replied, “I think there is enough heart in the community to be fair – that I think we will be able to repair ourselves as a community.
“I think the biggest fear is that businesses like The Laird might not survive, that we may not have our venues, our safe spaces we would normally have. Not all landlords and businesses have an endless supply of money to keep paying rent and the like just to stay alive.”
“The response has been amazing,” Pearce continued. “We got to about two and half grand and I thought you know what, this is worth sharing with everyone because I’m sure people can throw a bit of money back towards businesses that have supported the community.
“If people are happy to throw even 10 bucks here and there, it’s just like buying a beer for them, and that’s how we approached it, let’s just buy a drink from there.
“Melbourne Rubber have worked really hard to grow our online presence to support the community through these times,” Pearce concluded. “I think it’s important that we reach out and always communicate in the best way we can, even when we are locked up in our own houses.”
To shout Brett & Mark from The Laird a beer, and to support the venue through these challenging times you can donate via the GoFundMe page.