Owners Phil Smart and Becky Buckwell, with the ?crew? (at rear) take a break while preparing Play nightclub for its opening in
Owners Phil Smart and Becky Buckwell, with the ?crew? (at rear) take a break while preparing Play nightclub for its opening in

Lots of energy gets Play to first base

By WILL JACKSON

WHEN Phil Smart and Becky Buckwell signed the lease on their nightclub all they got was an empty shell.

No sound system, no lighting, no smoke machine, no turntables, no mixer.

In July, the venue ? formerly known as C-Moog ? was raided by Byron Bay police, resulting in two staff being charged with dealing drugs.

The club closed its doors soon after.

However, Phil says he and Becky come with 'a totally different energy'.

"I think people will see that through the things we do," he said.

Phil, recognised as one of Australia's best and most popular DJs, moved to Byron Bay two years ago from Sydney.

Becky, a well-known local music journalist and former public relations consultant, has lived in the town since 1999 after arriving from London.

They have renamed the club Play and hope that, with a coat of paint, some renovations and good vibes, it will become a place of development for the North Coast's electronic music culture.

"We're really focusing on local artists and local music, which I think have been forgotten a bit in the past, and in turn we're receiving a lot of support from the local industry," Phil said.

Added Becky: "We don't feel like this is our club, it belongs to the Byron music community."

The club opens tonight, only two weeks after the business partners signed the lease.

Becky said that a local businessman was planning to turn the venue into a piano bar, but bailed out of the plan at the 11th hour.

"It's been hard work getting the place ready so quickly," she said.

Phil said they had faced a lot of challenges.

"The whole thing has been incredibly complicated ? everything from getting the air-conditioning to work to sorting out bar staff," he said.

"But we've had a really good crew from the dance community helping us out.

"It's the only way we got through it.

"I've done a lot of promoting over the years and it's been a dream of mine to have my own club.

"I have plenty of ideas and now it's time to put them into action."

Play opens its doors at 10pm for the launch party featuring Phil and popular local DJ Nick Taylor.

Entry is $5 before midnight and $10 after.



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