Andy Portokallis, the co-owner of the Tote and champion of live music, passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning after battling cancer.
After the Tote was slated to close in 2010, Portokallis supported the venue’s former owners as more than 5,000 punters descended on the Collingwood pub for one helluva send-off. Time Out spoke to Portokallis last year, who described the closing weekend as “mayhem” and at one point diverted an entire shipment of kegs from his bar Bar Open “so that we had something to sell!”
After community outcry, more than 10,000 people marched through Melbourne, and the Tote was saved. The protests also led to the creation of Music Victoria, which is dedicated to protecting live music venues. Portokallis eventually went on to become the new licensee at the Tote (along with Sam Crupi and Jon Perring).
Portokallis had a long association and love for the Tote, having seen his first gig there in 1985. On the Tote’s Facebook page co-owners Crupi and Perring described Portokallis as a courageous business partner, a loyal friend and “a passionate lover of life".
Portokallis is survived by his partner and four children.