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Melbourne for music fans

/ 28 Mar 2018
As the global Music Cities Convention gets set to rock and roll into Melbourne on 19 and 20 April 2018, new census data shows Melbourne’s latest count of live music venues is at 500 -  more per capita than any other major global city including New York, London, Tokyo or Los Angeles.

The Music Cities Convention will bring together music industry, government and academic leaders from across the world to discuss the many ways music can improve city life. It’s the first time the reputed conference will be staged in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s fitting that Melbourne, Australia’s live music capital, was chosen to host it.

The music industry generates in excess of $1 billion in the city; with 60,000 annual performances attracting more than 15 million patrons in Melbourne. As well as attending a live performance, there are many ways visitors can appreciate Melbourne’s love for music with tours, exhibitions and record store events.   

Stadium concerts
One of the added benefits of being  a city obsessed with sport, is that Melbourne boasts a plethora of world-class stadiums that international music acts can fill to the rafters with their fans (as Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran did when the both held major concerts here on the same weekend in March). From AAMI Park, Etihad Stadium, Rod Laver Arena and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground which holds up to 100,000 people, the world’s most popular acts have got Melbourne firmly on the tour schedule.

Live music venues
On any given night of the week, live music can be heard emanating from the pubs, clubs, basements and rooftops in a city that values and fosters it’s live music scene. Whether it’s a spot of Jazz at Paris Cat Jazz Bar or Birds Basement, a  neighbourhood gig at The Workers Club, Northcote Social Club or the Prince Bandroom, or international acts at 170 Russell or the recently refurbished Forum Melbourne, Melbourne’s live music scene is second to none and it’s the city that musicians flock to to hone their skills and learn their trade.  


ACDC Lane, Melbourne

AC/DC Lane
The narrow, inner-city laneway which is home to rock stalwart, Cherry Bar, changed its name in 2004 from Corporation Lane to be named after the legendary rock band, AC/DC. One wall of the laneway is adorned with a thunderbolt of name plaques calling out the music fans who helped contribute funds needed to soundproof Cherry Bar when apartments were built behind it. A new addition to the laneway is another tribute to AC/DC in the form of a sculpture coming out of the wall of Bon Scott, by street artist Mike Makatron. The entire laneway is in fact a work of art with many iconic art pieces including a Banksy, which visitors can hear more about on one of the Melbourne Street Art walking tours.

The Australian Music Vault
Open daily and featuring a free permanent exhibition, digital and interactive experiences and an extensive learning program, the Australian Music Vault charts the story of contemporary Australian music from the 1950s until today. It showcases the iconic people, events and places that define Australian music in a purpose-built exhibition space within Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building on St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Patrons of the Australian Music Vault are co-founder of Mushroom Records Michael Gudinski, music legend Ian “Molly” Meldrum, songstress Kylie Minogue, Indigenous singer-songwriter Archie Roach and Australian singer/songwriter Tina Arena.

Melbourne Music Bus Tour
Six scheduled music bus tours have proven to be so popular that organisers Arts Centre Melbourne are going to be scheduling more in the coming months. The tours allow music aficionados to get a deeper understanding of Melbourne’s music history. Run by musicologist Bruce Milne, the three and a half hour tours include a broad and diverse range of inner Melbourne sites such as Dame Nellie Melba’s first home, sites visited by the Beatles and ABBA as well as venues and locations associated with Nick Cave, AC/DC, the Seekers, the Easybeats, Men at Work, Paul Kelly, Kim Salmon, Frente, Gotye, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Courtney Barnett. There will also be some surprise stop-offs along the way to pick up announced guests.

Record shops
Before vinyl was cool... again, Melbourne has been a city that's loved its traditional bricks and mortar record stores. From north, south, east and west there are gems that have become part of the fabric of the areas they have called home.  Polyester Records in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy has stood the test of time opening in 1981, and has been joined in the neighbourhood more recently by Oh! Jean. In the south, Greville Records has been  around since 1978 and  featuring an extensive, eclectic selection of second-hand vinyl records and CDs. In the west, White Rabbit Record bar will serve you a beer while you browse the vintage collections in Kensington and the city centre is home to Basement Discs - a below-street-level record shop with a broad, global selection of vinyl and CDs, plus regular events - including Melbourne muso Dan Sultan playing his new album as part of Australian Record Store day on April 21, 2018.

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