Victoria’s first ever Live Music Precinct finds home in St Kilda

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Victoria’s first ever Live Music Precinct finds home in St Kilda

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words by sidonie bird de la coeur

St Kilda is poised to take centre stage as "a live music 'one-stop shop'" with the state's inaugural Live Music Precinct (LMP).

The stomping ground of The Birthday Party, a regular haunt of Hunters & Collectors and the birthplace of Men at Work: with its rich live music history, the annual St Kilda Festival, and a multitude of music venues, St Kilda was a natural choice for the Live Music Precinct. 

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

Ahead of its official launch, Port Phillip Council Mayor Heather Cunsolo aims to create a harmonious environment rather than simply increasing noise levels. “St Kilda’s status as Victoria’s first LMP reflects our famous suburb’s past as a much-loved live music hub, its present as a renowned live music destination and its future as a groundbreaking example of how to keep live music alive close to homes and businesses,” Cr Cunsolo said.

This groundbreaking initiative involves establishing a dedicated area where live music thrives across iconic streets such as Fitzroy, Acland, and Barkly. By declaring a Live Music Precinct, St Kilda sets the stage for further progress, providing a comprehensive framework that aims to strike a balance between the needs of venues, performers, and residents across the neighbourhood.

While live music precincts have been successfully implemented in Queensland and New South Wales, St Kilda’s role as Victoria’s first designated precinct is befitting for a suburb renowned nationally and internationally for its vibrant live music scene.

St Kilda is embarking on several key actions to solidify its position as a thriving Live Music Precinct. “By working with the Victorian Government to celebrate, protect and promote live music, we can also help support performers, venues and hospitality businesses to rebuild after being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cunsolo continues.

Currently, multiple regulatory bodies, including the council, can be involved in handling noise complaints. By reducing the burden of regulations, St Kilda can provide an environment that nurtures live music without stifling its growth.

Additionally, investigations are underway to potentially introduce a planning scheme amendment that safeguards existing and future live music venues. This amendment would incorporate the ‘Agent of Change’ principle throughout the Live Music Precinct, ensuring that new residential developments consider the presence of established music venues and implement measures such as adequate soundproofing.

In the meantime, the council remains committed to supporting live music in various ways. The programming of its events contributes to the vibrant atmosphere, while efforts to improve permitting and noise complaint processes aim to further enhance the experience for all involved.

An interactive music history map will take visitors through St Kilda’s iconic venues, featuring images and links to bands that have graced their stages. Exploring this map is a fantastic way to immerse oneself in the rich tapestry of musical history while also indulging in a meal or catching a gig along the way.

For a limited time, take a trip down memory lane with an outdoor exhibition along Acland Street that will showcase captivating photographs from St Kilda’s famed post-punk period in the ’70s and ’80s. Furthermore, a rock poster exhibition will grace central St Kilda, featuring bill posters from that same transformative era.

The Carlisle Street Arts Space at St Kilda Town Hall will also proudly exhibit works by artists affiliated with the St Kilda live music scene of the ’70s and ’80s. This collection, part of the City of Port Phillip contemporary art collection, provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the creativity and passion that continues to characterise the streets of St Kilda.

As St Kilda takes its first steps towards becoming a buzzing hub of musical creativity, the harmony between venues, performers, and residents is at the forefront. By striking this delicate balance, this Live Music Precinct promises to nurture St Kilda’s vibrant music scene, inviting locals and visitors alike to revel in the suburb’s musical offerings.

Keep up to date with St Kilda’s Live Music Precinct by heading here.