The Ultimate Gig Guide - Music in Geelong & The Bellarine
By Natalie Richards
You can’t beat the beat of a live music gig. The electric atmosphere can't be faked, bedroom speakers can't compete and science has literally proven it helps you live longer! Geelong and The Bellarine has quite the reputation as a key stop on large and regional tours; playing host to some epic international and local live shows. With everyone's tastes covered, you just have to know where to find it.
So here's your go-to gig guide; a manuscript for when only music will do.
The Barwon Club has been established since 1990 (what a decade for live music if I do say so). They continue to prove themselves as one of Geelong’s leading venues for live acts, with the ‘Band Room’ frequently visited by musical heavy hitters. Past/presents gigs include The Smith Street Band, The Superjesus, Tumbleweed and Frenzal Rhomb.
The Sphinx is a Geelong local institution that leaves a lasting impression - as the name suggests, it is just that, a Sphinx. Much like the venue’s exterior, the gig list is pretty remarkable too. Leaning towards artists in the latter stages of their careers, Aussie music legends that have graced the Sphinx’s stage include Wendy Matthews, Uncanny X-Men, Ross Wilson and Badloves.
Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues does banging gigs too; spiritual home of The Bellarine's blues acts. Having been described as ‘a tiny slice of Louisiana in Geelong’, Pistol Pete’splunges you into the world of rhythm and blues by inviting such talent like Tramwreck, Sammy Owen, The Little Lord Street Band, Shaun Kirk and The Hornets to play in intimate performances just for you.
The Wool Exchange is a mainstay of Geelong's music scene, bringing established artists along with fresh Indie bands to this great city. The beautiful heritage listed venue with high ceilings and sophisticated décor creates a magnificent musical atmosphere. Recent artists includ Thirsty Merc, Pete Murry, ARIA winning rapper 360, Dan Sultan and Regurgitator!
Saints and Sailors in Portarlington is an award-winning venue for live music (part of the annual Torrent This! TV & Radio Awards). With fantastic views over the bay and pier, the setting is picturesque and pulls a steady stream of immense local and national talent. Past performers have included a solo set from Paul Woseen (one of the founding members of The Screaming Jets), celebrated Blues bands; Salty Dog, Tramwreck and Plan B AND rising artists; Fraser A Gorman, Mike Monea and Georgia Rodgers
GPAC is a grand space perfect for grand performances. The venue, converted from Geelong’s old wool stores, is not only architecturally superb but acoustically phenomenal. Just ask Troy Cassar-Daley, The Waifs, Guy Sebastian and Matt Corby who have all performed at GPAC.
Sporting events may spring to mind when we mention the Geelong Arena but this auditorium has played host to many a musical event, including genre-bending Cat Empire, international artist Kelly Clarkson, Australian starlet Jessica Mauboy and the incomparable Chris Isaacs.
Leura Park Estate's funky, boutique vineyard grounds seamlessly lend themselves to spectacular open air entertainment. The vineyard grounds, with their gently rolling slope, allows for the entire crowd to be offered prime viewing of some seriously headline acts. Past and upcoming talent includes John Butler, Icehouse, Mental as Anything and John Farnham.
Mt Duneed is another winery that wins the music game, not least as host of ‘A Day on the Green’. An array of the hottest international acts regularly take to Mt Duneed’s outdoor stage. Flip the picnic rug out, fill your glass and immerse yourself in what is always destined to be a memorable experience. How can it not be with names like Florence and The Machine, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Robbie Williams and Bryan Adams in the mix! And also not forgetting the ‘Monster Tours’ that Day on the Green also hold at Mt Duneed. These monstrous performances have included the likes of The Living End, Spiderbait, You Am I, Something For Kate and Jebediah.
The regional sister club to The Workers Club, Fitzroy, The Workers Club Geelong is already making plenty of noise! Housed in a former auction house, the venue oozes style with exposed brick walls and towering wooden rafters. Indie Bands are featured regularly in the line-up: Taylor Henderson, Geelong’s Sweethearts Band, Jesse Redwing and Judah Kelly (Winner of the Voice 2017) have also featured at this rocking establishment.
So there you go, get on out and enjoy some live tunes on Geelong and The Bellarine.