CLARIFICATION: The Hub is moving into the floor above Format’s former tenancy. In preparation, the landlord’s renovation of the space has basically ruined our business – severing the phonelines and internet, destroying access to parts of Format, dust, rubble, water coming in through the walls and ceiling, deafening noise. No compensation, no communication, just the ongoing suffocation of our business, and a thinly-veiled a promise to significantly raise the rent.
We were assured the government were sympathetic. Instead they negotiated with the landlord to acquire the upstairs space for an interstate business which would also benefit from a one million dollar incentive.
The phrase “breathtaking betrayal” sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s not that far from the mark. Prove that we lie.
LATELY WE’VE BEEN under a lot of pressure to comment on both our coming departure from Peel Street, and the tenant slated to move into the building after we’re gone. At first we thought it best to stay out of it and keep our noses to the grindstone. Lately a lot of people both inside and outside the Collective have argued that it’s time for Format to speak out.
Since moving to Peel Street in 2010, we’ve run five major festivals, hundreds of gallery exhibitions and live music shows, sold thousands of zines, and given our community a place to meet, rehearse, record, perform, read and just check their email. All of it organised by a collective of volunteers on a shoestring budget.
Lately our financial position has become even more tenuous because, as many of you have noted, the renovation of the building over the past eight months has involved cutting utilities, deafening construction noise and a quantity of rubble and dust that has severely impacted our capacity to function, let alone retain an income. In addition to this, late last year, we were notified by the property developer that our rent would be up for market review.
Through all this we’ve still managed to record some great local music, provide rehearsal time for some of our favourite local musicians, and put on some shows that a lot of us will remember for a very long time. Thanks again to everyone who’s put up with the trouble – we think it was worth it, and I bet you all do too.
As many of you have also noted, the tenant moving in after us is an offshoot of Melbourne based Hub Space. On their new Hub Adelaide website, they announce:
The SA government have announced that they will provide up to $1M in initial seed funding for Hub Adelaide. This will be spent on the fit-out of the Peel St property, recruitment and cocreation of the community and the space.
Unfortunately, the building they’ve been given $1 million to fit out is the building we’ve occupied since 2010.
We agree with Hub Adelaide that this city has “witnessed a boom in the entrepreneurial, creative and social innovation networks.” We know because we were part of if from 2008 onwards, hosting everyone from Hackerspace to Renew Adelaide. But we don’t have a million dollars and simply can’t afford to compete with a Melbourne based organisation that’s been given a budget twenty times larger than our own.
We respect that the government’s decision to install this tenant comes from a consultancy review undertaken last year by Cornerstone with the Adelaide City Council. We beg to differ with the report’s suggestion that the growth of creative hubs in Adelaide should be driven by government rather than by the sector itself. We entirely agree with those of you who have said it’d be great to see support for existing local hubs, including Format, The Mill, Tooth & Nail, Soundpond, HackerSpace, feltspace, Fontanelle and Animal House. Many of us have received small grants and enjoyed a good relationship with some government agencies, such as ArtsSA and the Department of Premier and Cabinet and we’re thankful for this support.
But from an economic point of view, we simply can’t compete with a million dollar project funded through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Adelaide City Council. We have had interaction with DPTI over this topic, who have said they would like to support us but as of yet we’re yet to see whether there will be any outcome from that.
Like the current Thinker in Residence, the Premier and, indeed, the several thousand people who’ve been in touch to give us their support, we think Adelaide needs more creative hubs and we’d like to think we’ll find a new home and continue. We want to make it clear that right now community backing is pretty much our only hope of moving, finding a site and competing with larger, government funded competitors.
We’ll be hosting a final two-day show at the end of this month, stand by for more details. It’s a two-day show called FORMAT ALWAYS WINS featuring some of our favourite artists and musicians from the last four years.
Once again, thanks for the overwhelming support. If you can, share this letter as much as possible – Adelaide deserves its fair share of artist-run venues, and this is as good a time as any to make your voice heard.