Its already been one hell of a year but the hits keep coming with news that iconic Sydney bar slash club slash art space Fredas will be closing their doors for good.
The news went out today via a release stating that not only had a global pandemic hit the brakes for the popular nightspot but the future of the area with a major commercial and tech hub planned.
It does shine some light on the importance of the space having been granted one of the few 4am licences post the city-destroying lockout laws that led to the closure of a heavy number of venues in and around Sydney.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Freda’s in Chippendale will be closing on the 21st November 2020.
After surviving 5 years of lock outs, red tape, rising rents and an exodus of youth from the city centre, Freda’s had finally been flourishing after receiving one of Sydney’s first 4am licences (outside the casino) since the heady days of the Olympics. We had been looking forward to by far our most successful and stable year ever. Boy were we wrong.
Although we could not foresee an international pandemic, it had already become clear to us that we were not part of the long term plans for our building. The 100 year old warehouse we have inhabited, as is the way for many grassroots cultural spaces, will eventually become a memory to the high rise construction that is likely to envelop Chippendale in the next 10 years.
But if it is to only become a memory, then at least it is of the deep, visceral and transcendent, as opposed to stale and flavourless. Of good times, expression, freedom, connection, music, performance, art and most importantly dancing! It is easy to forget in this most restrictive of times that dancing is the most human of behaviours. An opportunity to be completely free, if just for a moment. To connect with each other regardless of background, gender, or politics. If Freda’s is to be remembered as just one thing, it will be as a room for dancing.
But Freda’s was so much more. It provided a platform and stage for live music and musicians, for emerging artists in our basement gallery Down Under, and for DJs playing for the first time to those playing on some of the worlds best stages.
As immensely proud we are to have showcased so much incredible music and talent, a stage is nothing without an audience. And what a beautiful audience you have been. We have been so lucky that this dark room down a back alley in sleepy Chippendale drew such an alive, engaged and diverse audience. No agro, no fighting, no ego, just love.
There are so many people to thank, and over the course of these farewell weeks we will highlight you all, however without question the most important people on this journey are my parents Freda and Phil. Both immigrants and holocaust survivors of humble beginnings, they have taught me you can make creativity the centre of your life and succeed. No matter the odds. I couldn’t have done this without you.
Finally, while we are saying goodbye to a beloved space, this isn’t goodbye forever. When one door closes, another one opens. We will see you again soon.”
Anyone who has made it through the slightly strange entrance and into the bowels of the place would attest to its welcoming warmth that regularly hosts resident DJs, new bands and really anyone giving it a go.
Reading between the lines it seems like owner David Abrahm looks set on finding space elsewhere to continue the legacy or create something entirely new – so fingers crossed there!
In the lead up the final goodbye is one last hurrah with the fittingly named ‘Festival of Fredas’ that’ll feature a bunch of residents and favourites that have made the dancefloors so enjoyable.
Festival of Freda‘s 6-21 November 2020
6/11 – Disco Bongo: Last Night of Disco w. Andy Webb (Disco Delicious), Keep It Disco & Honey Point
7/11 – Full Moon: Freda‘s Final Birthday w. Pelvis, Lauren Hansom, Rimbombo & Precious Metal ft. Fascinator (Live)
13/11 – Gauci (Live) + Freedom Sounds w. Mike Who & Mike Who
14/11 – Ben Fester & friends
20/11 – Vibe Positive
21/11 – Freda‘s: The End w. Freda‘s House Band (Live), Simon Caldwell, DJ Crabby & DJ Salami
You’ll be able to nab tickets on the official Fredas site but can’t see anything yet so keep a keen eye on it!