Melbourne Music Week, the city’s yearly celebration of its thriving music scene and cultural community, saw record attendance this year, with the third annual edition of the 10-day festival tripling the attendance of 2011.
According to the City of Melbourne’s website, 44,000 people attended this year’s festival, up from 15,000 last year, who took in 90 diverse events staged across 47 different locations around the city.
Highlights including Paul Kelly playing a secret gig as part of the Tram Sessions, as well as the Live Music Safari seeing record attendance with The Cherry Bar being filled with a reported 753 punters.
The Melbourne Town Hall hit full capacity housing international headliner Goblin, performing to a sell out crowd playing live accompaniment to Dario Argento’s 1977 cult horror film Suspiria. Supported by The Night Terrors and Thematica (featuring members from the Midnight Juggernauts) the program staged a second session due to popular demand.
On a similar note, Nick Huggins and his band performed the soundtrack to Melbourne documentary I Am Eleven at ACMI, with other events including Melbourne duo Forces filling out the Melbourne University underground car park with with the darkness of their set.
The “Labels Series” also sold out, with three events curated by Melbourne record labels Chapter Music, Siberia Records, Cutters and Two Bright Lakes taking place, headlined by Melbourne quartet Crayon Fields and the slacker jangle of Twerps.
The success of this year’s event shows the city’s commitment to Melbourne’s local industry and culture, prompting a chuffed Lord Mayor Robert Doyle to remark of this year’s great turn-out: “Melbourne Music Week has been an undeniable success for the city.”“Melburnians love their music scene and have shown once again their support and passion for local talent.” – Cr Cathy Oake
“MMW showcased our city’s thriving local music scene and reinforced our status as a world music city,” said the Lord Mayor Doyle.
One of this year’s most successful engagements was the pop-up venue Where?House, which converted the old Argus building – on the corner of La Trobe and Elizabeth streets – into Melbourne Music Week’s vibrant hub for its 10 day duration.
A total of 24,000 people visited the long defunct building, formerly owned by La Trobe University, which was sold two years ago by the institute for a reported $15 million.
Two of its six stories were brought back to life, transformed into a 400 person capacity upstairs section and an 800 person strong capacity venue down below in the concert hall.
French duo Housse De Reacket performed at the pop-up venue, with San Francisco’s up-and-coming Pillowtalk also gracing the stage. Melbourne’s post-rock act New War, along with Bamboo Musik and Harris Robotis, also appeared for performances.
The building presented a feast of late 80s and early 90s culture, housing a computer lounge, food stalls, and a selection of vintage clothes shops.
Cr Cathy Oke, a member of Melbourne Music Week’s steering committee, cited the venue’s strong turn out as a contributor to this year’s event’s large success. “Melburnians love their music scene and have shown once again their support and passion for local talent. From the old Argus Building and the Melbourne University underground car park, to the National Gallery of Victoria and small cafes, almost half of the 90 events were at full capacity.”
Other venues included the Rooftop cinema, which saw a record turn out, with full houses reached at three of their screenings. On top of this The Kids Dance Party at Artplay sold out in all but a few days.
In just three years, Melbourne Music Week has managed to come into its own, and the success of this year’s event brings to light the city’s strong appetite for local music and an endorsement of its culture.