Melbourne’s new warehouse venue, The Industrique, could be a lifeline for live entertainment

Melbourne’s new warehouse venue, The Industrique, could be a lifeline for live entertainment

Words by Kate Streader

The large, versatile space is one of few venues which can host maximum capacity crowds while maintaining social distancing rules.

Sarah Raynor is an avid member of Melbourne’s music community. She launched drum and bass label, SubSine Records, in 2018 and produces her own music and DJs under the moniker Sera Marie. So, when she saw a need for a large, versatile event space for fellow music-makers and lovers, she made it her mission to fill the gap.

Raynor’s vision came to fruition in the form of an industrial warehouse space in Coburg North which is designed to host anything and everything, from weddings to live gigs. The entire venue is fitted with moveable pieces – “even the bar is on wheels” – which means it can be stripped bare for food trucks to drive straight in or the fixtures can be arranged to create an intimate environment for small events.

“I could just see the need for a facility like this that has a big versatile floor space where people could come and create or hold any type of event,” says Raynor.

The rustic, industrial feel also adds to its multipurpose charm. It’s sleek and simple without compromising its aesthetic appeal or functionality. What’s more impressive is that Raynor and her very small team, comprising Jorge Ustariz and Chris Meier, have made everything from scratch themselves.

“Most of the furniture’s made out of refurbished timber. I’m really into recycling and reusing things, so all the tables and chairs are made out of recycled timber,” she explains. “Everything’s been reused and recycled to create this space.”

Drone footage by Violet Ridge

She launched the venue in March this year after six months of tireless work navigating renovations and red tape. Finally, after “days and nights [of] really hard-slog work” fitting out the space, The Industrique was ready to host it’s first event.

But Raynor barely had time to catch her breath before the COVID-19 lockdowns were announced, forcing her to close her doors indefinitely.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” she says as she recounts the amazing events and bookings she’d locked in for the weeks and months ahead which all fell away in mere moments.

“Luckily I’ve had really, really great support from my landlord who’s really supportive of what I’m doing who’s given me a lot of rent relief. If it wasn’t for them being so understanding, the project could have potentially fallen over,” she says.

If there is a silver lining to the whole situation, it’s that the shutdowns have allowed Raynor to spend more time refining the space without the stress and limitations of impending events.

“We’ve been able to get the whole venue completely finished to where I want it before we open,” she says. “Previously, there was still quite a lot of work to do but we were functional. But the lockdown has been good in the sense that it’s going to be completely ready to roll by the time we can operate.”

Not only does the size and format of The Industrique allow for a broad range of events, but it puts Raynor in the unique position of being able to welcome maximum capacity crowds, while keeping in alignment with government restrictions as they ease and maintaining the four square metre social distancing rule.

In a city littered with squashed venues which would struggle to hold 50-100 patrons while adhering to the four square metre rule, it could be a saving grace for live entertainment and events when Melbourne slowly begins to reopen.

“I’m getting inundated [with bookings and inquiries] already,” says Raynor. “I think it could be a real lifeline for events in Melbourne, because these restrictions are going to be in place for a long time.

“I’m pretty excited that I’m going to, maybe, be able to provide that little bit of hope to everybody, that there is a space that we can do something with a decent capacity while still sticking to the rules.”

The Industrique is located at 5-7 Louvain Street, Coburg North. For more information, head to the venue website

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