New owners have taken over ‘one of the best mid-sized bandrooms in the country’

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New owners have taken over ‘one of the best mid-sized bandrooms in the country’

Leadbeater Hotel
Words by Staff Writer

Richmond's beloved Leadbeater Hotel is under new ownership and they come with quite a pedigree, so we had a chat about what they have in store for this wonderful venue.

First of all, introduce yourself and Dan to our readers?

Heya! I’m Jfox, I’ve worked in artist bookings and hospitality for about a decade. I’ve booked the Leadbeater for the past 18 months before taking over as owner, and handle a few more local venues including The Wesley Anne and Edinburgh Castle Hotel. Previously, I managed and programmed The Penny Black, worked as an agent at 123 Agency, and co-owned another agency Raida Artists.

Dan originally comes from a construction background so has all the skills, know-how and ideas for venue improvements and to keep things running. He oversees day-to-day operations with our amazing team!

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

You already book for three of Melbourne’s most beloved music venues. Run us through your experience and ethos?

As both an artist agent and a venue booker I’ve put on thousands of shows across the country and gained some insight into how different venues operate. I really want to apply that experience to make sure artists, agents, promoters and fans have a great time with us. I get the opportunity to platform local artists and help facilitate connections with their fans, and I want to ensure that’s always done under the best circumstances possible.

What’s your secret to running a successful music venue?

Creating a warm and welcoming environment for artists and patrons.  In the current hospo and gig environment, adaptability is pretty crucial. We’re also really lucky to have the in-house production we do, it’s honestly a crazy setup.

The previous owners had a very artist-centric approach and changed the greenroom, sound system and stage set-up with that in mind. Do you feel the current venue fits that approach?

I first came across the Leadbeater working as an agent putting gigs through the venue. The team would always be so accommodating, you could tell they really cared about the community and the artists, and worked really hard to give everyone that came through the doors the best damn experience possible. I fell in love with the bandroom and the care they had put into the space. We’re really looking to carry on their vision, and maintain the same incredible production and features of the room. We’ve had several artists tell us it’s the best room they’ve ever played, so it’s really important to us to make sure everyone continues to have the same kind of experience.

What’s your vision for The Leadbeater?

We want the Leadbeater to be the ideal place for a quiet mid-week drink and dinner with friends, and one of the best mid-sized bandrooms in the country.

Where do you feel it sits within both Richmond’s pub scene and the broader Melbourne music scene?

The Leadbeater front bar has maintained its classic local pub feel. We really want it to feel as warm and inviting as possible for anyone who stops through for a casual drink or meal. As a 350-capacity bandroom, we’re really lucky that we’re just the right size to host local and emerging artists while still playing host to international tours across any genre.

Give us a rundown of the kind of events and bands you’re looking forward to hosting most?

We’ve got some internationals lined up that I’m really excited for! Mini-fests are always really fun days we’d be keen to host more of. We can also do a 150-seated configuration in the space and have had some great comedy and live podcasts that have utilized that with more in the pipeline.

What else should people know about the new Leadbeater and your plans for the future?

Trivia on Wednesdays, new cocktail and wine list coming soon, old school meat and veggie trays raffle on Thursdays, more bands, more comedy and some longer-term plans that are a bit too soon to talk about.

Follow the Leadbeater Hotel here and check out their upcoming gigs here. For band booking enquiries email [email protected].