Killer free gigs: Valley Sounds is the brand new, totally free music series coming to Melbourne this May

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Killer free gigs: Valley Sounds is the brand new, totally free music series coming to Melbourne this May

live music Melbourne
Words by Juliette Salom

The western suburbs of Melbourne are getting its very own music series this May to keep you grooving and moving all over and around Moonee Ponds.

Being a city built on music, you’d be hard-assed trying to find a corner of Melbourne that doesn’t boast an exciting roster of talent and artists keeping the venues alive, no matter the time of year.

Brand new music series Valley Sounds is playing its part this May to keep the hum thrum of the city beaming bright as the days begin to grow darker, with a lineup of incredible musicians playing a bunch of venues all across the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Valley Sounds

  • Moonee Ponds and surrounding suburbs
  • May 17 to 26

A multicultural, multi-dimensional music celebration

Running from May 17 to 26, Valley Sounds is dishing up an assortment of local talent and hidden gems who will be taking the stage at all of Moonee Ponds and surrounding suburbs’ favourite neighbourhood bars, restaurants, and pubs. The series is free, meaning that you can catch some of your favourite artists – and discover new ones – without paying for a ticket (a literal steal in this economy).

The program – curated by Moonee Valley City Council in partnership with programmer Raleigh Williams – is a melting pot of music of all kinds, for all kinds. Much like this corner of the city itself, the music that will be showcased in Moonee Ponds as part of the series boasts a range of cultures, genres, sounds and people. From gypsy jazz to indie pop, Italian influences to flamenco, blues and soul to Irish jams, the sounds of Moonee Ponds are shining through this exquisite array of talent.

On the bill for the home-grown series is the incredible local musician Xani Kolac, a violinist, songwriter and performer that has made a name for herself in the Australian music scene. Playing at the beloved Hold Bar in Essendon on Wednesday May 22, Xani’s solo set will be a taste of what the renowned musician does best – intertwining genres and sounds with her innovating looping and engaging performance. Also in the mix is an event at the Holmes Hall in the heart of Moonee Ponds on Friday May 24, presented by Ed Moon and Stilla, a duo of singer-songwriters that also aren’t afraid to blend genres and experiment with sound.

It’s not just musicians and their instruments that are willing to push the boundaries of sound performance at Valley Sounds, though, with a roster of exciting ensembles, bands and groups coming together to produce some of the most innovative performances this side of the Ponds. Some of the standout events to keep an eye out for include the Women of Soul night on Thursday May 23 at Freddies at Mt Alexander Hotel in Essendon, the Italian Fiesta night with Carla Troiano and DJ Adrian Montagnese on Saturay May 25 at Pizzicotto in Strathmore, and of course the Swingin’ Valley Sounds event also on Saturday May 25 at the Clocktower Centre in Moonee Ponds.

Local venues opening up their doors for in the name of music

If you’re stuck for who to see or what events to hit up, you can always take a lucky dip from the array of incredible venues that are hosting the series across the inner west. Teaming up with Moonee Valley City Council to bring Sounds together for these ten days of non-stop tunes are pubs like the Union Hotel in Ascot Vale and the Mt Alexander Hotel in Moonee Ponds; bars like Mango Lounge in Moonee Ponds and the Last Stop Wine Bar in Essendon; restaurants like 400 Gradi and Negroni 888, both in Essendon; and even neighbourhood-favourite cafés like Benny and Me in Essendon and Pepper Café in Flemington. Moonee Ponds’ very own Palace Cinemas Penny Lane is even getting in on the action with a cabaret performance by the exquisite Nina Ferro.

There hasn’t been a more exciting time in the local music scene of Melbourne, to be in such close proximity to what is going to be an incredibly innovative, unique, and community-focused celebration of arts and culture in the city’s west. A perfect event for locals and visitors alike, Valley Sounds from May 17 to May 26 is a sure-fire way to cure those winter blues and keep you moving and grooving all the way into the cooler months.

Find out more about Valley Sounds here.