Ownership of Fortitude Valley live music venue The Zoo, a Brisbane institution, will change hands in June.
Co-founder and manager of The Zoo, Joc Curran, has announced that she is selling the venue to local renaissance woman Pixie, who also owns Lost Boy, an organic cafe in the Valley.
Curran founded the venue in 1992 with business partner C Smith, and has steered the ship by herself since Smith took a step back in 2004.
Joc says that literally hundreds of people have worked at The Zoo since 1992, with many young artists, managers and musicians doing time on the bar, at the door, as a glassy or as a duty manager.
“23.5 years ago two young girls started with a dream to open a space that celebrated independent music, art and creativity,” Joc says.
“We happened upon a deserted warehouse loft in the Valley and started making it our own. We called it The Zoo and we are still here doing what we set out to do.
“I have been its captain for these 23 years and a lot has changed in this time. We no longer use soda stream machines for soft drink. You don’t have to eat food, even though we loved our veggie curries, we now have Eftpos. What has never changed is our commitment to supporting, fostering, encouraging and promoting live independent music. For all of you who know the Zoo and its family of champions, the people who work to keep its heart beating and thriving, it is with such a full heart that I wish to say it is time for a changing of the guard.
“Every story has different chapters and it is time to begin part two of The Zoo and let it grow again with a new generation. Thanks for the memories and all the times it felt like we could make a difference, even just to each other. The baton must be passed to someone worthy of the challenge that is set before them.”
Joc is handing that baton to Pixie, a musician, passionate foodie and business owner.
“I have spent a large part of my life changing my mind,” Pixie says.
“I have had over 21 different jobs since the age of 14, many times juggling three of them at once. From making pizzas, managing musicians and artists, interning with a couture fashion house, office and corporate account management, waiting tables & serving beers, sales, cleaning, and call centre work. I have spent a whole lot of time hating where I was and confused as to what I was doing. I have since started four businesses successfully, made mistakes along the way but always learning how to succeed.
“So now I have finally made up my mind. My number one and absolute passion in life is music. My dad is a musician, I grew up immersed in it, I love to listen to it, learn about it, write it, play it, sing it. I wanted it to be my job, but it is a tough industry to crack. I knew where I wanted to be, I just didn’t know how to get there. So I started Lost Boys, where I could combine many of the things I loved like organic food, mental well being and music. Feeding the touring artists is my way of reaching out to the industry. It was this inadvertent path that has led me to exactly where I want to be.
“It’s been a long and windy road, but I have realised that all the times I changed my mind and all the times I felt lost, were for a reason. I feel incredibly lucky and thankful to be where I am today, having arrived at the Zoo. Joc is an amazing woman and I am privileged to have her guide me through this new undertaking of owning and managing The Zoo.
“I want nothing more than to continue to nurture & support musicians on all levels. I plan to develop and evolve The Zoo while embracing the changing industry, keeping the Zoo held tightly within the Brisbane music scene for many more years to come.”
The change in ownership will be celebrated with an event, 23.5, featuring artists and musicians that have been involved with The Zoo’s history, on Saturday 25 June. More details and the artist line-up will be revealed shortly.