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A Bad Taste In The Hills

Nov 14, 2017 02:10 pm
Grant Condo

In the beautiful Adelaide Hills town of Clarendon, sits a once brilliant venue, The Old Clarendon Inn. Tired and in desperate need of love and attention, this wilting building still shows signs of better days when it was bursting at the seams with
music and lovers of fine food and wine. In an attempt to relive its glory days, current owner, Grant Condo, wakes the sleeping giant from time to time and holds the odd concert, dusting off the kitchen for those who want to brave a meal.
It seems, however, that the prospective audience for such events are put off by the venue’s long dormant state (and perhaps the smell of mould and the dusty glasses inside) and prefer to see their artists in a more reliable setting.
The last attempt at a dinner and show was back in July of this year. Mr Condo engaged singer/songwriter, Beccy Cole during her tour in South Australia. After capacity crowds of around 450 people at each show in both Hahndorf and Loxton, only around 70 people stepped inside The Old Clarendon Inn for the concert, a small turn out but slightly bigger than that of Mental As Anything who had ‘an embarrassing roll up..’ according to their spokesperson (The Mentals also had capacity at their Hahndorf Inn show on the same weekend).
Mr Condo makes little attempt to promote the shows, relying on a very poorly attended social media page to inform prospective audience members of his intention to shake the venue awake. There appears to be no community involvement from Mr Condo, in fact, he was described by one local business owner as ‘difficult’ and ‘rude.’
Perhaps the worst part of Mr Condo’s operations is that he has taken to refusing to pay artists for their services. Ms Cole, for example, took a 5 piece band plus two production crew, sound equipment and lighting to the venue on her performance date of July 26, 2015 and to date, hasn’t received her contracted fee. Mr Condo refuses to take the calls of Cole’s office and Sydney agent and on the occasions where they have reached him, he promises part payment the following day but no attempt has been made as yet.
Diane Montgomery-Brooks, who works in Beccy Cole Music’s office, expressed her frustration. “Everyone needs to be paid! We have musicians, agents, sound equipment and operators, travel and accommodation to cover. We have had to pay everyone out of our own pockets, we can’t make them wait for a bad business operator, these people have families!’ Cole enjoyed an extremely successful concert in February of 2012 under the previous owner’s management.
After shutting the doors for 9 weeks, it appears The Old Clarendon Inn will open on October 3 for another crack at a show with a well known Australian Artist. One local Hills resident, however, has bought his ticket to the artist’s Norwood Live show stating he’d rather ‘travel to some decent atmosphere.’
Let’s hope, for Clarendon’s sake, that this venue can, once again, be another great reason to visit this beautiful town.

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