Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is here to stay

After a long and arduous 18-month battle, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse has received notification that the venue can continue with its plans to deliver a thriving hub for arts and culture in Burleigh’s industrial precinct.

City of Gold Coast has approved the venue’s development application which means Mo’s can lawfully operate as a music venue and artistic space.

The creative industry warehouse, established in 2017 with the vision to create, inspire and collaborate, offers musicians, artists, performers and the wider creative industry a safe house for creative endeavour. As well as co-working spaces, the warehouse provides a performance space, rehearsal studios, charity store and creative studios. It’s currently home to musician Doolie, charity thrift store Thryft GC, vintage collectors, wedding artist I Am Poppy Designs and screen printing company Smoke Screen.

With no defined land use for such a creative space within the City Plan, Mo’s was forced to employ the services of town planners, lawyers, acoustic technicians, engineers, liquor licensing professionals and traffic consultants in a bid to gain legitimacy as a creative entity.

The subsequent DA approval for Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is a first for the city with a new ‘Creative Industry’ zone now being established as the benchmark to pave the way for future like-minded businesses.

More than 570 submissions of support flooded Council during the community consultation stage – the largest show of written community support ever seen for a development of this nature on the Gold Coast.

“Dreams can be hatched and achieved, this is a real win for the underdog and will pave the way for similar projects to start and flourish on the Gold Coast,” said Christian Tryhorn, one of Mo’s three Directors.

He said the community support shown for Mo’s was unheard of.

“It’s a landmark approval,” he said.

Co-director Kimberley Ferguson says the last 18 months have been “mentally, emotionally, financially and physically draining.”

“We don’t have a big bank roll to keep forking out cash, so financially the strain has been real.”

“I guess the most frustrating part has been that everything has had to be on hold, our hands were tied. We have been unable to operate to our full capacity and have essentially been treading water with our operations for almost two years.”

Kimberley says the approval is significant, especially given the closure of similar creative spaces over recent years.

“Warehouse Number 5, The Burleigh Common and Arthaus all within the local industrial estates have been forced to close due to the expensive and restrictive definitions of land use within the town plan and the excessive restrictions placed on creative industry in regards to live music,” she said.

“This is an incredible win for the underground music and arts scene on the Gold Coast.”

“We are a grass roots business and getting this approval is 100% because the community wanted and needed us here.”

“The incredible thing about the approval is that it paves the way for creatives to be able to actually operate.”

“We are big believers in creative collaboration and so excited to see creative enterprise be able to move forward, and hopefully with less red tape,” Kimberley said.

The team now need to raise $100,000 capital to get Mo’s up to building certification level. That includes the installation of a bar, disabled toilets and additional audio-visual capacity.

“We have some serious planning and building work to do,” Christian said.

“We will be back soon with a fully renovated bar and license, we will be an all ability access venue, more art, more music and more good vibes,” Kimberley added. “The Desert is going to really come to life in Burleigh Heads and we can’t wait.”

While running Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Christian and Kimberly (who are also new parents) run music agency Beats Cartel with Christian also working as a musician and Kim as an MC and presenter. The trio is completed by creative fibre artist and event coordinator Emilia Lorena. They’re all adamant that Mo’s would not be here without the local community’s support.

“Mo’s was never intended to be such a huge undertaking,” Kimberly said. “Our vision was to create a clubhouse of creatives to create, inspire and collaborate with one another.”

“The DA forced our hand to either move ahead with gusto or close our doors forever. The decision to move ahead was only due to the incredible network of local artists, musicians and creatives that really backed Mo’s. Before we knew it we had such an incredible supportive network, teams of people willing to put their time, energy, money and support into our creative idea.”

“Without the grassroots Gold Coast arts and music scene Mo’s would not be here. Hands down.”

“So to them, to all our Mo’s family YOU ROCK. This is your clubhouse, a space for you to exist. Keep on creating, we will back you like you have backed us.”

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