Leaps and Bounds: Here’s all the hidden gems on at Melbourne’s buzzy inner north music festival

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Leaps and Bounds: Here’s all the hidden gems on at Melbourne’s buzzy inner north music festival

Leaps and bounds

It was back in 2013 that the inaugural City of Yarra Live Music Festival was announced, but by the time it took place, it had been renamed to the now-beloved Leaps and Bounds Festival.

At the time, no one could have predicted what it would turn into, but since then, it’s grown by… well, you get the idea.

Initially, the festival was created with the simple idea of helping to support all of the local venues, musicians, and businesses through the traditionally quiet period that is a Melbourne winter. As the years went on, it slowly evolved into what can only be described as a cornerstone of the City of Yarra’s cultural landscape.

Leaps and Bounds

  • A celebration of local music with a diverse line-up of live shows
  • Venues across Fitzroy, Fitzroy North, Collingwood, Abbotsford and Richmond
  • Returns 25 – 28 July

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

Recent years have seen names like Emma Donovan, The Fauves, Porpoise Spit, The Maggie Pills and more on the bill, while bigger events like the Punters Club Reunion Show, and RocKwiz Live have been paired by venue-specific happenings, cultural displays and community radio-curated activities.

If there was a key takeaway here, it is that the Leaps and Bounds Festival is all about celebrating Melbourne’s live music scene in any way they can, and they’re not letting up any time soon.

This July will see the Leaps and Bounds Festival return for its latest edition, with Abbotsford, Collingwood, Fitzroy,  Fitzroy North, and Richmond all set to be transformed for the four days from July 25th to 28th. In lieu of asking, ‘What’s on the lineup?’, it’s probably easier to ask about what isn’t on the lineup.

Kee’ahn at The Corner

  • Sunday, 28 July, 2:00 pm 2:45 pm
  • The Corner
  • Free event

With a name that means “to dance, to play,” Kee’ahn, a Yalanji, Jirrbal, Badulaig artist, skillfully weaves vibrant soul-pop melodies with narratives of melancholy and reflection. As part of this year’s Leaps and Bounds celebration, Kee’ahn will bring her remarkable talent to The Corner Hotel for their Front Bar Sessions, providing an afternoon of true magic in the process.

Find out more here.

Horsepower at The Tote

  • Saturday, 27 July, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • The Tote Hotel
  • Tickets here

Melbourne’s hardcore favourites Horsepower will be taking the opportunity to celebrate their two-year anniversary thanks to a massive party with life.lair.regret.records & New Ethic records at The Tote. Expect a full-throttle live show combined with their signature lyrical depth and musical nous. 

Find out more here.

PBS’ Swinging City Live

  • Thursday, 25 July, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • The Corner Hotel
  • Free event. 

PBS’ Swinging City Live will see The Corner Hotel transformed into a radio station for the afternoon, with hosts Crispi Winsor and Myles O’Neil-Shaw teaming up to deliver a four-hour broadcast of the Radio City and Swinging Doors programs. Beaming direct from the sticky carpets of Richmond, you can expect plenty of live music and special guests, with a few rare records thrown in for good measure too.

Find out more here.

Totalno Zeleno! 

  • Friday, 26 July, 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • The Grace Darling

The Grace Darling is joining forces with Totalno Zeleno! for a full venue takeover which sees them exploring the underground worlds of trip-hop, avant-punk, and more. Expect names like Cutting Room, Birdsnake, and Magajie up in the bandroom, while the basement hosts the likes of Nate Lust, Dumbhead, and more. Whatever your flavour, you’ll be well-catered for.

Find out more here.

The Old Bar Band Bonanza

  • Saturday, 27 July, 5:00 pm – Sunday, 28 July, 10:00 pm
  • The Old Bar

Across two huge evenings, The Old Bar will turn itself into the place to be thanks to a lineup that only Johnston Street could deliver. Names like RUB, Porpoise Spit, and Slomo will occupy the Saturday slot, while Eaglemont, Paddock Bomb, Serpette, and more will take over your Sunday. If ever there was a good excuse to spend a whole weekend at The Oldie, this is it!

Find out more here.

Kiwat Kennell and Enoki (Live)

  • Thursday, 25 July 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Bodriggy Brewpub

The Bodriggy Brewpub will be putting on a night to remember thanks to a lineup full of stellar Indigenous talent. Kicking off with 3RRR’s Feel The Floor host Ethan Savage, Torres Strait Islander musician Kiwat will deliver two sets of stellar tunes across the night. Meanwhile, his performance will be paired with live painting by proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta Blak Fulla artist ‘Enoki’.

Find out more here.

Amos Roach Unplugged

  • Friday, 26 July 7:00 pm – 11:55 pm
  • Railway Hotel Fitzroy North
  • Sold out, but join the waitlist here

Award-winning musician, dancer and director Amos Roach takes over Fitzroy’s Railway Hotel for a special unplugged afternoon. He’s a prodigious instrumentalist, so combine his talents with such a special venue, and you end up with one of the most moving events of the entire festival. 

Find out more here.

Tjum Tjumba at Glamorama

  • Saturday, 27 July, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Glamorama Nightclub

With a launch fundraiser planned for the newly-renovated Glamorama, production and DJ showcases will highlight the talent found within Tjum Tjumba. With a huge lineup set for the night, punters can expect talks and musical performances from Michaelis, Pepe Silvia, Fosters, and much more.

Find out more here.

So Tonight That I Might See: A Mazzy Star Tribute Night

  • Saturday, 27 July, 8:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • Lulie Tavern
  • Free event

Iconic purveyors of the dream-pop genre, Mazzy Star’s unique discography will be honoured with an ethereal night at the Lulie Tavern thanks to vocalists Freya Josephine Hollick, Nkechi Anele, and Queenie. Teaming up with a lineup of stellar Melbourne musicians, it’s bound to be a magical evening for music lovers of all kinds.

Find out more here.

A Gillian Welch Tribute

  • Sunday, 28 July, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • The Gem
  • Free event

Gillian Welch’s impressive legacy has seen her span numerous genres in the worlds of country, folk, and Americana, and even inspire a tribute as part of the 2023 Leaps and Bounds festival. This year, it returns for another outing, with JAZZPARTY’s Loretta Miller leading the charge, paired with a huge roster of talented singers and backing musicians who will reinterpret Welch’s stellar discography.

Find out more here.

All Night Fever 

  • Saturday, 27 July, 8:00 pm – 3:00 am
  • The Tote Hotel
  • Tickets here

Taking a look back to the ’80s Queercore punk movement, All Night Fever is a no-holds-barred punk and dance party, featuring appearances from musical acts such as Serpette and Hacker, drag performances from Simple and Cooper Feel, and a three-hour DJ party from DJ Fluxx Club.

Find out more here.

Paradise: The Music of John Prine

  • Sunday, 28 July, 7:30 pm – 11:55 pm
  • The Catfish
  • Free event

The late John Prine’s legacy will be remembered with a powerful night of music at The Catfish. With eight great artists – including Alex Gow, Van Walker, Lucy Thorne and more – performing 16 of Prine’s most beloved songs, it’s bound to be an impactful and emotional night out.

Find out more here.

GRRLS To The Front

  • Friday, 26 July, 8:30 pm – 1:30 am
  • Bad Decisions Bar
  • Tickets here

An all-night celebration of femxle and non-binary artists, Bad Decisions Bar’s GRRLS To The Front is a fantastic event that returns with Girl In Eora, G Rebel, Harper Bloom, Abiola, Devaura, Emeree, Inca, Miss Understood, and Sadgal 69 on the barnstorming lineup.

Find out more here.

The Final Dance 

  • Saturday, 27 July, 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • The Gasometer

The Gasometer will step into the ring with a celebration of youth program artists called The Final Dance. Held in partnership with Yarra Youth Services and showcasing some of Naarm’s finest emerging artists, with Tinika, Adriana, Rakhi, DJ Seif and Nate.Antonucci on the lineup.

Find out more here.

Berada at Nighthawks

  • Saturday, 27 July, 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Nighthawks

Nighthawks are one of Naarm’s best venues at pushing boundaries and spotlighting unusual and impressive talent. Berada aims to honour Naarm’s long-standing reputation as a “convergent hub of innovation, creative ambition and diversity”.

Find out more here.

Leaps and Bounds Record Fair

If that’s not enough, there’s loads more to discover and get involved in throughout the City of Yarra, including the beloved annual Leaps and Bounds Record Fair, which returns to the Collingwood Town Hall to give music-lovers and crate-diggers a chance to uncover some classic gems.

As always, there’s so much on offer at the Leaps and Bounds festival, with so many talented artists, rising names, and hidden gems all ready to be discovered by the general public. Needless to say, if you didn’t feel connected with the Melbourne music scene beforehand, all it takes is one look at the Leaps and Bounds lineup to be convinced otherwise.

For more information and the full program, visit Leaps and Bounds Music Festival.

This article was made in partnership with Leaps and Bounds.