Babushka owner speaks about closure

Regrettable closure: Garth Horsfield says he leaves Babushka Bar regretfully but with great memories. The venue will close after its booked shows are completed.
Regrettable closure: Garth Horsfield says he leaves Babushka Bar regretfully but with great memories. The venue will close after its booked shows are completed.

Ballarat has lost its second live music venue in a week after Babushka Bar announced it would close its doors.

The alternative Humffray Street venue announced on Facebook that it would be closing down; however a closing date is not set. It will still be hosting farewell gigs over “the next few months”.

Owner Garth Horsfield said while there were many reasons for closure, increased council regulation has not helped.

Mr Horsfield said while the the City of Ballarat’s Live Music Strategy had produced a glossy brochure, little of what it has proposed has been translated into assistance on the ground.

“They have been very good at talking the talk,” said Mr Horsfield.

Babushka has operated for almost six years and has played host to hundreds of musicians and various other acts. It had previously set up a crowdfunding page to remain afloat in the wake of increasing financial pressure.

Many acts had come to the bar because of the music system quality – something of which Mr Horsfield remains proud.

He says it was a delight to host artists of the calibre of Wendy Rule and Lloyd Spiegel.

“They came here because we were an honest bar, and we loved music,” said Mr Horsfield.

In an eloquent post that has drawn hundreds of responses, Mr Horsfield thanked those musicians and punters who had graced the venue over its lifetime.

“As some of you know Babushka will be calling it a day after nearly six years and hundreds of great musicians passing through our little bar. Running a live music venue comes with its share of challenges, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull it off... in fact I never would have survived this long without a lot of help, particularly from the musos themselves, my friends, and everyone who helped us by donating for our licence...

“I hope I've added to the town's history of live music in some small way, provided a great sounding little room for brilliant artists and helped some people create good memories. That's what I'm taking away with me.”

Babushka joins Sutton’s House of Music as another loss to the live music scene in Ballarat. The latter venue will close at the end of October after it was unable to renegotiate a lease with its landlord.