Even before Sydney’s night-time economy was hamstrung under 2014’s now infamous lockout laws, Keep Sydney Open was fighting the good fight. An advocacy group turned cultural phenomenon, the volunteer-run organisation now throws a major hand into the city’s ongoing nightlife discourse and legislation.
Tyson Koh is the man responsible for taking this ramshackle group of devoted protesters to the forefront of the debate. As Keep Sydney Open celebrates yet another victory in their very own music festival, we sat down with Koh to discuss the ensemble’s past, present and long road forward.
Forward into the night: for Tyson Koh, the battle to Keep Sydney Open is far more personal than his city would ever know.
HAPPY: What were you doing with yourself when you took over Keep Sydney Open?
HAPPY: Doing all that, having that experience, is that what had you fired up?
TYSON: Yeah! My professional career has always involved music, whether it’s running nights as a promoter or DJing or working within the industry as a programmer. But before that, what really got me passionate about the issue was realising how important nightlife was to my life and my journey as a human being. You know, it’s how I met all the beautiful people who I now call my best friends.
All the people I’ve ended up working with professionally through the different stages of my life… I met late at night. People who I’ve had deep philosophical conversations with until the wee hours of the morning, people who have shaped my own ideas. A lot of this stuff happens through the prism of nightlife. That’s the same for a lot of people, and they’re the sort of things that don’t get talked about a lot in this whole discussion.
Also in Issue 5: Burning the fucking joint down: we chat to A.B. Original