Melbourne’s floating nightclub ATET faced with license termination

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Melbourne’s floating nightclub ATET faced with license termination

words by staff writer

It's been a rough year for Melbourne's preeminent floating nightclub.

From the barge catching on fire in January to an unprecedented amount of noise complaints, ATET can’t seem to catch a break. A concept five years in the making, the floating, open-air club has been forced to close a mere eight months after its opening.

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Check out their statement, posted to their Instagram yesterday:

Built on a repurposed barge, ATET is anchored on North Wharf beneath the Bolte Bridge towers. On the venue’s opening, DJ and architect Jake Hughes said “ATET is more than just a bar on water. We are channelling the open-air day party experience of festivals and day clubs around Europe and providing it on a regular basis in the heart of Melbourne.”

“[When ATET launched] there was a lot of excitement,” ATET’s music director, Walter Juan, told us. “Our music and arts community has always been massively behind us. I guess in the lead up, everyone was really excited for it. So, the City of Melbourne, all the authorities were very excited about us activating Docklands, which has probably struggled really for a couple of decades and has never really taken off like it was imagined. I guess they’re coming out of COVID the whole CBD, but especially Docklands was hit really hard. So, bringing people back to that area was something that everyone was excited for.

“Even coming into the colder months, we’ve had had consistently had really good crowds. So like I said, it’s obviously what we’re doing is resonating with people. I think it comes down to us providing something unique. It has a point of difference and it’s n. the same as every other bar or nightclub. It’s something else. Go out in an outdoor space or an open air space and then we have PVC covers on it to keep people protected from the weather but it still feels like an open air space and being out on the water, it’s yeah, it’s just a point of difference.

“I think there’s a bit of a misconception there around what Docklands is and what the planning scheme is and what it’s designed to be, which is an events precinct essentially. Obviously, it’s a mixed-use zone so, there are residents there, a lot of residents, but I guess what they’re expecting is a purely residential zone, which is not what it is. And so yeah, there seems to have been a bit of a concerted effort from a very small number of residents to shut us down before we even launched. And so there was a heap of complaints the weekend before we launched, as they were anticipating our launch. Our launch ended up being delayed by a week because we weren’t quite ready, and they were already on the front foot with noise complaints that weekend. Then they found out that we yeah, we hadn’t actually launched yet.

“The biggest thing will be to sign our petition and share our petition. We’re really trying to get the music community behind us because we believe that it is kind of cultural institution that are under threat, not just us.

“Since this has been happening, we’ve heard from a number of venues who are experiencing similar issues with councils. We just really want to make this story as big as it can be. So, the petition is a great way for us to make people realize you know how important these kinds of venues are to people and to help us get our voices heard. That would be the main thing, just signing our petition, sharing it and hashtagging #saveATET.”

You can check out the petition to save ATET by heading here.