Darwin Blog

SoCo Cargo Club
Sunday, 2 September, 2007, 5:00 am
Filed under: Observations

One of the other attractions of the Festival of Darwin was the SoCo Cargo Club.  We finally made it there on the final night due to my determination to see DJ China and I was very curious about the concept of having a club inside demountables.

I am not a big fan of nightclubs in Darwin and unfortunately if you want to see some the best dance DJs perform, you need to go to Discovery – I do not even contemplate it.  But the SoCo Cargo Club offered an alternative.

We got there just after 9.30pm, as we had been told that it was a free venue and if not there early, you have to line up and in Darwin, I just do not line up for anything – there is no need!

No problems getting in and the venue was a lot bigger than I envisaged.  It is a fabulous concept and a pity that some savvy businessman in Darwin did not come up with this idea in the mid to late eighties, when there was a devout house and trance dance scene in Darwin and put this concept in the middle of Winnellie!  It could still work now, although there would be heaps of objections from the public.

Speaking of objections, my understanding is that there were plenty.  The Minister for Planning also amended the Town Plan at the last minute, to allow the Club to proceed as part of the Festival line up.

DJ China was excellent for the 45 set we listened to, unfortunately no one was dancing, perhaps it was too early, perhaps people hadn’t consumed enough Southern Comfort!

This is where it gets interesting.  Southern Comfort, as in the liquor, is what SoCo stands for.  The club itself is a promotional tool for Southern Comfort.  It is all you can buy from the bar – premixed Southern Comfort drinks, Southern Comfort cocktails or whatever one mixes with Southern Comfort.  I tasted Southern Comfort about 20 years ago and it tasted awful then and I suspect nothing much has changed.

Whilst this Club was heavily promoted as a drawcard for the younger generation and placed in Mitchell Street, there are a few things I do question.  In Darwin and the Northern Territory for that matter, there are serious issues in relation to the consumption of alcohol.  Is it sensible for an organisation to have an event that is run by a liquor company, which is primarily a tool to promote more drinking to such a young audience.  I also question the validity of another bar/ club in Mitchell Street where the incidents of violence is escalating.

Are Festival organisers looking for an easy way out to involve the 18 – 35 age group, rather than looking at what is the best fit?  Sure, much easier to go with a Club concept whereby everything is provided and hell Southern Comfort would have the resources (including financial) to run the promotion, establishment costs etc because, well, it is in their best interests.

What I also object to is not one bit of the marketing material put out by the Festival of Darwin acknowledge the fact that the concept is a Southern Comfort marketing tool.  We came home and read the Festival program again, looked at the SoCo cargo Club booklet from back to front and also went online – nothing and I mean nothing mentions Southern Comfort.  No doubt an application had to be made to the Liquor Commission – was this fact acknowledged?  I would some how think it might be imperative to mention this small fact?

To some degree I think the marketing of this event was quite deceptive and how foolish of organisers to think that Darwin people wouldn’t get it.  Southern Comfort is plastered all over the Club, right down to the stamps they use on your arms and to the stencils they have over the lighting so that Southern Comfort is projected onto the dance floor.

Just for the record – Southern Comfort has been mentioned 13 times whilst writing this entry!


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