Can live music take place in Melbourne this weekend?
10.06.2021

Can live music take place in Melbourne this weekend?

Words by Tom Parker

We explore the logistics confronting Melbourne’s live music venues right now.

Yesterday, we informed our readers what the easing of restrictions meant for pubs, bars and other hospitality venues, however, we still didn’t have the full story regarding live music.

After engaging in discussions with specific live music operators and perusing the Victorian government’s coronavirus website, we now have some clarity, and unfortunately, it’s probably not what many music venues were after in the immediate term.

What you need to know

  • The current guidelines around whether live music can take place are now public, with only ‘fixed seated’ venues able to host gigs
  • Of those who can fit chairs in their bandroom, they need to comply with restrictions of up to 25 per cent of seated capacity, up to a maximum of 50 people per venue. They must also adhere to a one person per four square metre density quotient
  • These restrictions will be in place for the weekend and into next week

Keep up with all the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

As it turns out, we’re back to the ‘seated gig’ scenario circa June and November 2020 when restrictions eased after last year’s respective lockdowns.

Referencing this document here, ‘indoor non-seated entertainment venues’ must remain closed while ‘indoor fixed seated entertainment’ can operate up to 25 per cent of seated capacity, up to a maximum of 50 people per venue. The venue also needs to ensure they are sticking to the one person per four square metre density quotient, while the size of each group booking can be no larger than ten people.

To cut through the fat, what this basically means is that unless a normally non-seated venue can fit chairs in their bandroom, they won’t be able to host live music under the current restrictions.

Even those that have the capability to do this will still be operating at a miniscule capacity – 25 per cent of 50 people while adhering to one person per four sqm…

For some small-to-medium-sized bandrooms in Melbourne, their space isn’t designed to fit chairs, nor is it potentially large enough. Even if they could, the aforementioned restrictions would mean they’d be able to fit a handful of people in the space, if that.

In light of the announcement, many Melbourne live music venues have come out and said they won’t be hosting gigs this weekend. The list includes The Old Bar, The Corner, Northcote Social Club, The Tote, Cherry Bar and Bar Open. There would be plenty to add to that list as well.

While these venues and others across Melbourne won’t be firing up the amps this weekend, many of them will be opening up their bars. So make sure you get along, book a table and support these guys as they’re doing it super tough at the moment.

Keen to support live music venues this weekend? Book a table at any one of these venues and you’re on your way.