Best venues for live music in regional Victoria

Travelling Well | Megan Whitfield | Posted on 03 September 2019

From Torquay to Ballarat to Bendigo, here’s where to watch live music in Victoria.

Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia’s cultural capital, and for good reason. Wander the city and you’re sure to find a new street art installation, a museum exhibition right up your alley, a live gig or a comedy show to leave you in stitches.

However, let’s not let the CBD get all the credit. From Geelong to Castlemaine, Victoria is doing its fair share of the work as well, bringing local and big-name musicians to the forefront. 

Here are seven of Victoria’s best regional music venues. 

Black and white photo, close up, of person playing electric guitar

DZ Deathrays at Tap House Bendigo. Image: Facebook.com/TapHouseBendigo


Best live music venues in regional Victoria

The Theatre Royal

Castlemaine

If you’re looking for live music in Victoria’s Goldfields region, don’t discount Castlemaine.

First built in 1854 (rebuilt in 1855 due to fire) The Theatre Royal consistently brings in talented performers and shows across theatre, comedy, film- and of course, live music. 

So much so, that it was named the Best Regional Venue (under 50 gigs) at The Age Music Victoria Awards 2017- making it the third time they’ve won that title.

The line-up regularly offers up a diverse selection of artists- from up-and-coming local talents like Thelma Plum to Aussie and international favourites like Paul Kelly.

Upcoming gig: Kate Miller-Heidke, September 18

Hanging Rock Reserve

Woodend

Tucked away in the Macedon Ranges, Woodend, Hanging Rock was a sacred place for local indigenous people before being made famous by Joan Lindsay’s classic novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Now, the natural preserve is home to a number of community events throughout the year, and provides one of the prettiest spots in Victoria to catch some live music.

It draws in big names too, Midnight Oil and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band having graced the stage, to name a few.

Not to mention their next big star set to perform- Elton John, on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

Upcoming gigs: Elton john, January 25 & 26

Sir Elton John playing piano in front of thousands of people at outdoor concert in Italy

Sir Elton John is set to take the Hanging Rock stage in January.


Singer Paul Dempsey standing on beach at sunset wearing red blazer.

Catch Something For Kate singer Paul Dempsey in November at the Torquay Hotel.


The Worker’s Club

Geelong

Just about an hour out the CBD, Geelong draws in some big musical talents- many of them bee-lining for The Worker’s Club (the cousin of the Fitzroy pub of the same name). 

The club focuses on bringing in a mix of acts, including touring bands and national big names, but not forgetting their home-grown local talent from the coastal town. 

Catch punk rock one night and acoustic covers the next. 

Upcoming gig: Slum Sociable, August 31

Barwon Club Hotel

Geelong

We’re back in Geelong for this one, this time with a classic live-music-at-the-pub experience. 

The Barwon Club has been a home for local musicians since 1990 due to its friendly atmosphere, quality food and drink- and even higher quality performers. 

We’re talking Ball Park Music, Magic Dirt and up-and-coming local talents.

Order yourself a parma before the gig, chat with the locals and settle in for a good night.

Upcoming gig: CJ Ramone (of The Ramones, from ‘89-96)

Torquay Hotel

Torquay

What started out as a nice place to grab a couple of drinks after a day at the beach, the Torquay Hotel has turned into a venue sporting some of Australia’s favourite musicians as they make their way around Victoria.  

From the likes of upcoming talents Holy Holy to seasoned performers Spiderbait, the venue is tailoring their line-up to suit a wide range of customers in a bid to celebrate the broad spectrum of talented musicians Australia has on offer. 

Basically, your dad is as likely to find a band they like as much as your sister is. 

Upcoming gigs: Paul Dempsey (Something for Kate), 16 November 

The Lost Ones

Ballarat

When you think of live music in Ballarat, odds are you go straight to Karova Lounge. However, with the iconic venue set to close this October, other venues in Ballarat are stepping up to ensure live music in the region continues to thrive. 

The Lost Ones is one such venue, for a calm acoustic/jazz/soul-filled evening.

Sitting back in the ambient basement bar (originally the Masonic Temple’s dining hall) enjoy a cocktail as you listen to the smooth tones of country-folk musician Tristen Bird, or a duet performance from jazz artists Paige Duggan and Wayne Parker.

The Lost Ones will also be hosting an event in the upcoming White Night in Ballarat.

(Alternatively, a night at The Eastern catching a local band is sure to get the blood pumping).

Upcoming gig: Victoriana Gaye, 7 September

Tap House

Bendigo

One for a younger audience, Tap House in Bendigo is consistently offering up a range of quality local and nationally-touring acts.

A beer and cider lounge, the size of the venue keeps gigs intimate so you can see your favourite acts up-close, while bringing in performers that will make any Triple J listener very happy. 

Previous bookings include Vera Blue, British India and Thundamentals. 

Upcoming gig: Montaigne, 21 November