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How Many Music Venues Are There In Melbourne?

To say that the live music scene is important here is to completely underestimate the deep hold over many of the city's locals. In Melbourne, it's a billion-dollar industry, and both audiences and the number of gigs continues to grow. So checking out a band at a pub like The Tote or getting tickets for a gig at Forum Melbourne is as popular for many as going out for dinner. And while the alternative and indie scene is huge, there are also plenty of options for those who prefer jazz or classical sounds. 

Venues For Where To See Live Music In Melbourne

Melbourne has a decorated history regarding living music venues, with venues coming and going regularly, not without controversy! But regardless of what laws, restrictions, complaints or general interferences occur, Melbourne's live music scene carries on strong with a huge selection of venues to choose from. But if you want to experience the best of Melbourne currently.

Howler

There were already plenty of music venues in Brunswick when Howler opened its doors, but it's managed to stand out nonetheless. There are two parts to this excellent spot—a partially-covered beer garden where locals gather for drinks and a bite to eat, and the band room. They started with the basics here, so there's an amazing sound system, the stage is high, and there are some booth seats at the back. More experimental styles of music often headline here so that you might catch some indie rock or electronica. Local legends Courtney Barnett and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played at Howler before they hit the big time. In addition, the venue has hosted the likes of rapper Anderson Paak and L.A. singer-songwriter Conrad Sewell.

Wesley Anne

Set within an 1854 church in Northcote, Melbourne's prettiest pub is the Wesley Anne. The lovely, intimate space has a truly cozy feel with stone walls and tables set beneath high ceilings with exposed beams. There's a shady courtyard out back and a relaxed band room to the left of the main room. So when you want to chill out and listen to beautiful tunes by some of the city's finest singer-songwriters, you won't find a much better place to do it. On weekends, there are afternoon shows, but even the evening gigs tend to end at a reasonable hour.

Forum Melbourne

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Many Australian bands have hit the big time play at Forum Melbourne, in the CBD (Central Business District), as international acts aren't quite ready for stadiums. Past performers have included Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Katy Perry, and The Yeah Yeahs. The auditorium itself is stunning, with Grecian-style statues and a domed ceiling dotted with lights to resemble the night sky. So if you have even the slightest inclination to see an act here, do so without hesitation. Experiencing a great band here can be an almost ethereal experience.

Retreat Hotel

The Retreat Hotel is a rambling old pub in Brunswick that hosts free gigs every day of the week. There are three spaces—the small front bar (so unpretentious there's sometimes a clothes horse draped with drying bar mats in the corner), the main room with a stage styled like a saloon, and an epic beer garden. Bands and singers could be playing tunes in any of them; you'll find local singer-songwriters testing out new material, punk and rock bands on the rise, and familiar faces on the Melbourne scene.

Corner Hotel

When a promoter has a band too small for the Forum, they'll often book them at Corner Hotel in Richmond. About 800 bodies can cram into this popular rock venue, where popular Australian bands launch albums or play warm-up shows for much bigger tours. The genres here range from pop and rock to blues and country; the likes of Andrew W.K., Charles Bradley, Peaches, Dinosaur Jr., and David Hasselhoff all have lifted the roof.

The Tote Hotel

With upcoming gigs painted on the exterior wall, people who look like they're rusted to the stools, and sticky carpet that emits wafts of stale beer, The Tote has all the hallmarks of a classic local music venue. The bands who play here are mainly local and fall into the punk, hardcore, and heavy metal scenes. But over the years, the likes of Fugazi, The White Stripes, and Mudhoney all have hit The Tote's tiny stage, as have influential Australian acts like The Meanies, The Birthday Party, and Cosmic Psychos. So pay your money at the door, grab a beer, and check out what inner-city Melbourne is listening to right now.

Rubix Warehouse

From the outside? Unassuming warehouse in Brunswick. But inside, there are walls coated in graffiti, three separate spaces, and a wicked sound system. Rubix is a hub for the city's subcultures, and you can never be quite sure what will be going on once you arrive. It might be closed one Friday evening for someone's birthday party; more likely, though, there will be some party organized by promoters. So if you want to find out what happens when Melbourne's club and music kids go wild, check the calendar.

Melbourne Recital Centre

The eye-catching Melbourne Recital Centre, located in the arts and culture precinct of Southbank, has two world-class performance spaces. The larger of the two, the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, is lined with panels of Australian hoop pine to provide perfect acoustics. Hundreds of concerts take place here every year. One evening there may be a recital by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra of pieces by Vivaldi; the next, a Ladysmith Black Mambazo show. Acclaimed companies like the Australian Chamber Orchestra consider this their preferred venue.

Cherry Bar

Nightly live music ranges from soul to hard rock, but Cherry Bar is most famous for its clientele. When big acts are in town, they inevitably arrive at this raging venue in the Central Business District (CBD). The Black Keys and Gary Clark, Jr., have played here; Jack Black once danced on the stage all night; Axl Rose had the staff unplug the jukebox; Tom Morello played D.J. sets every night during one of his tours with Bruce Springsteen. Unofficial wakes for Bowie, Lemmy, and Prince all took place here, and once—after a particularly big night—Liam Gallagher offered to buy the bar. So it's that kind of place.

Best Live Music Venues In Regional Victoria

The Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

If you're looking for live music in Victoria's Goldfields region, don't discount Castlemaine. First built in 1854 (rebuilt in 1855 due to fire), The Theatre Royal consistently brings in talented performers and shows across theatre, comedy, film- and of course, live music. So much so that it was named the Best Regional Venue (under 50 gigs) at The Age Music Victoria Awards 2017- making it the third time they've won that title. The line-up regularly offers a diverse selection of artists- from up-and-coming local talents like Thelma Plum to Aussie and international favourites like Paul Kelly.

Hanging Rock Reserve, Woodend

Tucked away in the Macedon Ranges, Woodend, Hanging Rock was a sacred place for local indigenous people before being made famous by Joan Lindsay's classic novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock. Now, the nature preserve is home to many community events throughout the year and provides one of the prettiest spots in Victoria to catch some live music. But, of course, it draws in big names too. Midnight Oil and Bruce Springsteen, and the E Street Band have graced the stage, to name a few. Not to mention their next big star set to perform- Elton John, on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

The Worker's Club, Geelong

Geelong draws in some big musical talents about an hour out the CBD- many of them bee-lining for The Worker's Club (the cousin of the Fitzroy pub of the same name). The club focuses on bringing in a mix of acts, including touring bands and big national names, but not forgetting their homegrown local talent from the coastal town. So catch punk rock one night and acoustic covers the next.

Barwon Club Hotel, Geelong

We're back in Geelong for this one, this time with a classic live-music-at-the-pub experience. The Barwon Club has been a home for local musicians since 1990 due to its friendly atmosphere, quality food and drink- and even higher quality performers. We're talking Ball Park Music, Magic Dirt and up-and-coming local talents. So order yourself a parma before the gig, chat with the locals and settle in for a good night.

Torquay Hotel, Torquay

What started as a nice place to grab a couple of drinks after a day at the beach, the Torquay Hotel has become a venue sporting some of Australia's favourite musicians as they make their way around Victoria. From the likes of upcoming talents Holy Holy to seasoned performers Spiderbait, the venue is tailoring their line-up to suit a wide range of customers in a bid to celebrate the broad spectrum of talented musicians Australia has on offer. So your dad is as likely to find a band they like as much as your sister is.

Melbourne is considered the live music capital of Australia. The city is alive with music every night of the week, from jazz basements to rock'n'roll pubs. You just need to know where to look.

A Music Victoria study finds Melbourne hosts 62,000 live concerts annually, making it one of the live music capitals of the world. In addition, Victoria is host to more than three times the live performance national average, making it the live music capital of the country.

Melbourne has more live music venues per capita than any other city globally. We were reinforcing our position as Australia's music capital. Melbourne has one live music venue per 9,503 residents, making Melbourne the live music capital of the world. We host more than 3,000 live music performances per week.

The findings come from Music Victoria's Live Music Census, which looks at various subjects surrounding live music throughout the state. The study found Melbourne boasts one live music venue for every 9,503 residents, making Melbourne the world's live music capital on a per-capita basis.

  • The Gasometer Hotel.
  • Howler.
  • Prince Bandroom.
  • Rubix Warehouse.

At 3,371 seats, the Forum featured the largest seating capacity in the southern hemisphere.

FAQs About Music Venues In Melbourne

Other Live Music Venues In Melbourne

Northcote Social Club

Since its inception in 2004, the Northcote Social Club has become ground-zero for Melbourne's indie music scene. The stage is smaller than some of its peer live music venues, but that only enhances the vibe in a room that's specifically designed for watching a gig. There's live music almost every night of the week, and there's a free three-band show every Monday.

The Gasometer Hotel

Featuring some of the hottest local and international indie rock bands and D.J.s, The Gasometer Hotel—or Gasos to those in the know—is one of the only live music pubs in Melbourne where you can rock out under an open sky. The band room has a huge retractable roof and a wrap-around mezzanine that looks over the stage. After the gig, fill yourself at the lounge and bar where they do a mean happy hour—$6 pints for 3 hours.

The Toff in Town

The Toff in Town is a lot of things: a sophisticated and seductive late-night bar, a hideout in the middle of the CBD, a place to grab a coveted train carriage booth and enjoy a meal and a cocktail… but it's a live music venue first and foremost, and one of the best places to catch a show in the CBD. This approachable and eclectic bar was pivotal in revitalizing the live music scene in Melbourne and continues to offer a stacked roster of top-notch local and international talent.

The Evelyn

A staple in the Melbourne live music scene, The Evelyn Hotel is a longstanding pub renowned for cheap drinks, good times, and shows every day of the week. The band room holds up to 350 punters, and over the years, has been host to an impressive roster of homegrown and international artists. Alongside its status as a live music icon, The Ev is defined by its laid back vibe—it's not uncommon to spot the talent hanging out at the bar before and after shows.

The Prince Bandroom

You wouldn't be remiss to call The Prince Bandroom Melbourne's quintessential live music venue. Part of the greater Prince Hotel complex, TBP has been a hot spot for live music since the 70s and is well deserved for its legendary status as one of Melbourne's best known and best-loved venues. Gig-goers flock to The Prince every weekend, and they've been host to the likes of Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Goldfrapp, and Lenny Kravitz, to name just a few.

Forum Theatre

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Another icon of early 20th century Melbourne, the Forum Theatre, is one of the city's top stops for live music. Oasis, Tame Impala, Midnight Oil, and tons of other huge artists have graced the stage, and they continue to welcome artists from all stripes. As a venue, it's magnificent and imposing: Roman statues and mosaic tile facades make the atrium resemble a Florentine walled garden, and the atmospheric theatre is made complete by hundreds of lights in the twilight-blue ceiling that twinkle like stars.

MCG

The mother of all Melbourne stadiums, the venue to which all other venues owe undying respect; nothing comes close to the MCG. For generations, Melbournians have flocked to the 'G to witness moments they'll remember forever, mostly at sporting matches but also at packed-to-the-rafters concerts. More than just a stadium, the MCG is the beating heart of Melbourne, a symbol of Aussie culture, and sacred ground to countless Melbournians.

AAMI Park

AAMI Park popped their live music cherry back in 2011 when they hosted the Foo Fighters and more than 60K punters over two nights. Of course, there's more focus on sports events at this Melbourne stadium, but they hold their own against landmark neighbours like the MCG and Rod Laver Arena as one of the city's premier stadium venues for live music. However, when they do put on a show, they don't muck around; they have both Queen and Elton John coming in 2020.

Bennetts Lane Jazz Club

It ain't a small feat to be deemed "the world's best jazz club" by Lonely Planet. But that's exactly the designation Melbourne's Bennetts Lane Jazz Club received. Among countless other accolades, official and otherwise, Bennetts Lane is a regular venue for the Melbourne Jazz Festival and has hosted some of the biggest names in music ever—Prince, Harry Connick Jnr., The Cat Empire and plenty other greats have graced their stage. In their almost 30-year history, the ethos has been constant and simple: the music always comes first.

Margaret Court Arena

Most commonly known as a sporting venue, Margaret Court Arena is also known to throw a banging party from time to time. Space for 6,500 punters and a retractable roof to help relieve the intense summer heat makes it one of the venues in Melbourne to catch a proper stadium show. Of course, they've hosted some big-name artists, too: Bob Dylan, Hilltop Hoods, The Black Keys, and Tash Sultana are just a few names on their extensive list of past performers.

Conclusion:

Melbourne got a pretty decent live music scene is a bit like saying AC/DC was rather successful–it's the understatement of the decade and borderline blasphemous. Live music is the cultural bedrock upon which Australia's coolest city is built. Melbourne venues have kept punters entertained for decades in countless pubs, clubs, bars, and stadiums.

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