Words by Kavina.
For episode 4 of the Muso Podcast series, we chatted to Pixie Weyland, owner and prime booker of the beloved 25 year old Brisbane live music institution, the Zoo.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping into The Lost Boys or Tree House cubby for a vegan meal or a cheeky and delightful beverage you’ll know that Pixie’s whimsy, one of a kind and larger than life visions set her apart. Whether that’s bringing Peter Pan's treehouse to Fortitude Valley, or founding the Music Feed initiative, to aid touring musicians by offering them a free feed as they tour from city to city.
As the past recipient Queensland's Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, and Commonwealth Bank Australian of the Day as well as past nominee for Brisbane Young Entrepreneur, she’s got a knack for venue management and her vast accumulation of knowledge in promotions and booking management has her sights set on a bright future in A&R which we have no doubt she will exceed in!
Pixie took us through her journey from acquiring an iconic venue, revamping it while maintaining it’s rich music legacy, and trying to earn her place in the live music industry.
In a time of massive uncertainty and no past structure to follow in a pandemic, we got her firsthand account of how the COVID live music crash literally rocked her venue. The daunting task of navigating the Zoo through lockdowns and how she put her best foot forward in the daunting post-covid live entertainment structure with the highly successful Anti-Social Series, which really showed the nation how we can get back out there and open our doors if we just shake up our music model a bit.
“Live music is a commodity and a privilege, COVID made us reevaluate life and what’s important and made us appreciate music again. - Pixie Weyland.
The mentality you need to lead your venue into the new phase of live music by being vigilant, innovative, having flexibility and adapting your business model to fit the situation, instead of waiting for things to return to normal.
The importance of having a community of venues to lean on during this pandemic, and appreciating your network because we are all going through the same thing.
Truly appreciating past owner Joc Curren’s words that ‘in hard times I’ve leaned on local artists’ who have saved the Zoo venue, when touring artists couldn’t travel due to border restrictions. Venues will have a newfound appreciation for local talent, and provide a spotlight for them, instead of a supporting role for international artists.
Proving yourself in the industry as a venue is just as hard as it is for aspiring musicians trying to get a gig, and even with the name of The Zoo behind her, Pixie still did the hard yards, going door to door, in Sydney and Melbourne, when no one would get back to her.