The Tote launches festival at the Abbotsford Convent as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations

The Tote launches festival at the Abbotsford Convent as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations

the tote

In a first for their venue, The Tote is hosting three outside concerts down the road at the stunning Abbotsford Convent to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Having passed its 40th birthday in 2021 amidst lockdowns – The Tote is celebrating this milestone with plans for a full 12 months of celebrations, taking full advantage of these eased restrictions. They’re putting on a massive show called CONVOLUTION at the Abbotsford Convent, a two-stage mini festival featuring huge acts such as the Kylie Aulidist Band, That Gold Street Sound and theremin player and composer Miles Brown.

“This is the first of several key shows we are producing, featuring the absolute gems of Melbourne’s live music scene,” says Jon Perring. “We are deliberately broadening into genres not traditionally associated with the Tote’s independent Rock/Punk/Hardcore roots. It is a privilege to be able to highlight and focus on Melbourne’s music scene’s diversity and  depth as part of our 40th Anniversary celebration of Live Music in such a profoundly important setting as the Abbotsford Convent.”

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Famed for hosting Australian punk, post-punk, heavy metal and hard-core bands, they’re broadening their horizons with CONVOLUTION – their new two stage mini festival at the Abbotsford Convent that features projection art from Electric Light Brigade. Celebrating Melbourne’s diverse music scene are The Kylie Auldist Band, That Gold Street Sound, Steppers and the cream of Melbourne’s electronic underground – Miles Brown (Night Terrors), Null Hypothesis, Quell, iceclaw and Justin Ashworth who will play in a quadraphonic in the evocative Convents Industrial School. Combining the quadraphonic sound-field with the Electric Light Brigade’s lightscape, it will be truly an immersive experience.

“The Tote is a venue that is truly accessible to everyone, with artists across many genres and stages of their career playing there regularly. It is well established around the world as the place to see what is happening in live music in Melbourne. It is a hub of creativity and career building, fostering an environment where young bands can cut their teeth and have the opportunity to develop into great live acts.”

“The Tote’s 40 year cultural legacy is the history of Australian contemporary music of which, we are immensely proud of,” says the Tote’s owner, Jon Perring. “It’s a miracle the Tote endures considering being fire-bombed, shut down by the State Government in 2010 for live music being “High Risk”, the pandemic lock-downs, and the odd plumbing disaster.”

“We remain today committed to our core value of staging original contemporary Australian live music by celebrating the 40 plus years with hundreds of truly awesome gigs of old school and emerging Australian rock’n’roll bands.”

They’ll record the best selection of these gigs for a vinyl LP release to document The Tote’s 40th Anniversary: ‘Live at The Tote’.

From being shut down for being a ‘high risk venue’ in 2010 – an event that sparked a movement of protests from locals who mobilised to oppose the venue’s closure – to being firebombed by a Molotov Cocktail in 2012, The Tote has had its fair share of excitement over their 40 years. Popular myths that surround the venue include ‘The Tote Ghost’ – a spectre that haunts the staircase landing and is reported to be neither friendly nor unfriendly. Perhaps a lost patron, perhaps a faded rock god who suffered a tragic demise, perhaps a victim of Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor on a rowdy New Year’s Eve, you might catch a glimpse of the ghost walking upstairs under the ‘Cobra Woman’ banner. As well as this, there have been persistent rumours that there’s a warren of tunnels that facilitated get-aways for bookies that used to operate from the pub, that supposedly run from underneath Johnston Street from The Tote.

“The Tote is an irreplaceable cornerstone of Melbourne’s, Victoria’s and Australia’s live music and arts community,” Adalita said. “The Tote is a very special place for me, a place packed with memories, a space that fostered my early musical expression where relationships that make careers are made, and a place that I am continually inspired by and come back to in my evolution as an artist, mentor and producer.”

CONVOLUTION is part of the Leaps and Bounds Festival, a festival that showcases home grown talent in music venues and music outlets across the City of Yarra.

CONVOLUTION will take place on Saturday June 25. Tickets are avaliable via Oztix and The Tote website