Travel

Published on May 9th, 2018 | by john.weir

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Melbourne crowned world capital of live music

The Australian city of Melbourne has been crowned the world’s capital of live music, with more live music venues per capita than any other major global centre — including London, New York and Los Angeles.

As the home of some of the world’s biggest acts, including AC/DC, Kylie Minogue and INXS, as well as Sydney Opera House, the world’s most iconic music venue, Australia is a music-lover’s paradise and Melbourne is the jewel in its crown. The newly-released 2017 Melbourne Live Music Census has found that Greater Melbourne boasts no less than 553 live music venues, which is one venue per 9,503 residents. By comparison, London has 245 live music venues (one per 34,350 residents), New York has 453 (one per 18,554) and Los Angeles 510 (one per 19,607 residents). Last year annual patronage at live gigs reached 17.5 million and more than $1.42 billion was spent in Melbourne’s small venues, concerts and festivals, which directly created more than 18,000 jobs for musicians, venue staff, security workers and more.

ALBUM COVERS AND MUSIC VIDEOS: BEYONCE, BOWIE AND THE BURRA HOMESTEAD:

Brunswick – Melbourne, Victoria Beyoncé caused a stir in Melbourne’s hipster suburb of Brunswick when she arrived in 2013 to film a music video for her song No Angel. Dressed in a white leotard and matching fur coat, Beyoncé posed outside a rustic home on Beith Street for the video, while she was in town to perform at the Rod Laver Arena. It’s said the 80-year-old home owner – apparently unaware of the superstar in her midst – agreed to the shoot as she thought the man who knocked said he wanted to photograph his ‘fiancé’.

Carinda – New South Wales This sleepy outback town was thrust into the global spotlight when none other than David Bowie arrived at the local pub in 1983 to film a music video for his number one single Let’s Dance. Since the single was released and particularly since Bowie’s death, the Carinda Hotel has become a pilgrimage for music fans, who drive nearly eight hours from Sydney to see where their hero made Aussie music legend.

Burra Homestead – South Australia Drive 160km north of Adelaide and you will find a small house with a big claim to fame. In 1987, the Burra Homestead became famous after being featured on the cover of Diesel and Dust, the sixth album by Australian band Midnight Oil – the house has since become a favourite spot for photographers looking to recreate the famous image and relive rock history.

Darwin – Northern Territory -Australia’s Eurovision hopes are pinned on Indigenous singer Jessica Mauboy, who shot the music video for her song The Day Before I Met You in various locations across Darwin. The Top End is Mauboy’s home and the music video features cameos from the singer’s family, including parents Ferdy and Therese, sisters Jenny, Sandra, Cathy and Sophia, and even Nanna Harriett.

VENUES, GIGS AND FESTIVALS: SYDNEY, SHEERAN, AND THE SIMPSON DESERT

Sydney Opera House – Sydney, New South Wales The world’s most famous opera house and most iconic music venue has hosted some of the greatest performers in music history from Ella Fitzgerald to The Cure. Since its first production, Prokofiev’s War and Peace in 1973, Sydney’s great sails have hosted up to 3000 events a year, including a tear-jerking last performance of Crowded House in 1996, where up to 250,000 people crammed onto the steps to see the band say their final farewell.

Optus Stadium – Perth, Western Australia Ed Sheeran started the biggest tour in Australian history at Perth’s newly-built Optus Stadium earlier this year. More than a million tickets were sold for Sheeran’s Australia-New Zealand tour, breaking the record set by Dire Straits in the 1980s – a staggering one in 23 Australians bought tickets to see Sheeran tour, with 60,000 fans in attendance at each of his two Perth gigs. Sheeran has strong links to Western Australia – the musician boasts a koala tattoo that he had inked two years ago in Perth’s popular coastal town of Fremantle, where he has also enjoyed a local’s favourite of fish and chips at Cicerellos.

Birdsville, Queensland – The Big Red Bash, which is held in the middle of the Simpson Desert with the 100ft ‘Big Red’ sand dune, is the world’s most remote festival. At this unique three-day music experience in south-west Queensland, expect to rub shoulders with Australian music royalty like Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly, who attract more than 7,000 people from across Australia and beyond. In the words of Australia’s very own ‘Working Class Man’ (Jimmy Barnes), it’s ‘like no other gig in the world!’.

MUSICAL INSPIRATION: BEN FOLDS AND BOTANIC GARDENS

Adelaide, South Australia – American singer Ben Folds is a former resident of Port Willunga, a coastal suburb about an hour outside of the South Australian capital of Adelaide. Folds lived there with his former wife, Australian artist Frally Hynes, and was so taken with his new Australian home that he wrote the song ‘Adelaide’, an ode to the city that calls out the famous Rundle Mall shopping strip and proclaims that “the air is clear [and] there’s better beer, in Adelaide.” Cheers!
The Royal Botanic Garden – Sydney, New South Wales American singer-songwriter Don McLean drew inspiration for his 19th album Botanical Gardens from Sydney’s own Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney Harbour. As he puts it, “the inspiration for the project started years ago when I would walk in the beautiful gardens in Sydney Australia near the Opera House. I would dream young dreams and it was a comfort and an inspiration. I was always young inside, like we all are, and I felt it again there.”

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About the Author

John is the editor of Australia & New Zealand magazine, the UK's only title dedicated to travel and migration downunder



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