Music lovers heading to Melbourne tend to stay in the centre of town, but it’s worth taking a journey out of the city. The area around St Kilda Road has much more than gardens going for it. In fact, there are plenty of musical attractions that make this underappreciated part of Melbourne worth a look.
Sidney Myer Music Bowl
The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a fabulous shell-shaped outdoor amphitheatre on the lawns of the King’s Domain. Local businessman Sidney Myer was inspired to commission the venue after attending a show at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. He established free, open air concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1929, and these continue to this day.
The Bowl recorded the largest crowd for a free concert on Aussie soil in 1967, when around 200,000 people turned out to see The Seekers play. It’s also hosted the likes of AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Crowded House, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Swedish House Mafia, The Black Keys, and Neil Young. And every Christmas you can catch a who’s who of local stars spreading festive cheer at the annual Carols by Candlelight.
The Magic of Moomba
Every March, St Kilda Road comes alive with the annual Melbourne Moomba Waterfest. This free family event is the largest free community festival in the country and one of Australia’s longest running events. Kids love the birdman rally, water sports, and crowning of Moomba monarchs, but music lovers are much more interested in the top artists that play Moomba every year. And there’s been some serious talent in the past including ABBA and Neil Diamond. AC/DC, Tex Perkins, Daryl Braithwaite, and adopted Aussie Kimbra have also graced the Moomba stage.
You’ll also need to get out of the city centre to see a show at Hamer Hall, formerly known as the Melbourne Concert Hall. With 2,661 seats, it’s the largest venue in Southbank’s Arts Centre complex. However, it’s still much more intimate than seeing a show at Rod Laver Arena or the MCG. It’s home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the preferred Melbourne performance venue for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. It’s also a great place to catch performances from contemporary acts like Tripod, The Gloaming, Kate Ceberano, Train, and Ben Folds performing with the MSO in the coming months.
Hamer Hall is currently receiving $128.5 million of upgrades including new and expanded foyer spaces, better disability access, and improved acoustics.
Plenty of Places to Stay
The area around St Kilda Road also has some great hotels which put you an easy walk from these great musical attractions. Bayview on the Park has exceptional views of Albert Park Lake and Golf Course, and its mid-priced rooms won’t put a hole in your pocket. The Hotel Charsfield is a bit ritzier, with a French restaurant on site and cool snooker and reading rooms. Both hotels have tram stations out front to get you into the CDB for those inner-city gigs.
This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. Which part of Melbourne do you love?