In February, Mary’s Group, which had operated legendary Sydney pub The Lansdowne since 2017, announced it wasn’t renewing its lease after the pub’s landlords decided to use the middle level of the building – the bandroom – to expand its hostel accommodation. Pub regulars, musos and live-music lovers mourned the loss. But mourn no more – another live-music legend is taking it over and bringing it back to life.

Oxford Art Factory has just announced it’s taking over The Lansdowne. And it sounds like it has big plans. New venue management will be hired and renovations are already underway to improve all spaces, including the bathrooms and audio-visual equipment. The food and bar menus will also be overhauled.

The new operators have also pledged to continue The Lansdowne’s live-music legacy – the likes of Billie Eilish, You Am I, the Living End, the Hard-Ons and The Preatures have played there over the years – taking over the booking of local and international artists to play its hallowed stage.

To celebrate the takeover, the pub will throw a huge, free party on June 25, running from 5pm to 5am.

“Sydney doesn’t need to lose any more live music venues; it has suffered enough,” said Oxford Art Factory CEO and founder Mark Gerber in a statement. “The lockout laws and Covid-19 have severely impacted a once flourishing and vibrant nightlife, and I wasn’t going to let yet another music venue fall by the wayside, not on my watch. Losing music and entertainment venues impacts business communities, our culture and future generations.

“Live music venues are an originator of creativity. They give identity that we can be proud of and take to the world. Lansdowne has played a hugely important role in the careers of many of our greatest music stars who have conquered the world. The Lansdowne is rejuvenated and continues to give voice to emerging and established artists and musicians.”