Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms: Darebin Live Music Venues, 1955-2020

Image: Hello Tut Tut at the Northcote Social Club. Photo by Peter Cahill.

Music has long been at the heart of the City of Darebin’s rich cultural history. The city remains home to numerous venues which have featured over 1000 jazz, cabaret, folk, pop, soul and rock gigs a year, playing a major role in making Melbourne one of the world’s best cities for live music. Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms: Darebin Live Music Venues 1955 – 2020 highlights the city’s vibrant and continuing tradition of musical performance via an immersive audio-based tour.

The tour brings listeners to 15 key locations and reveals the songs and stories behind the city’s venues, past and present. Johnny Chester, Wilbur Wilde, Tony Pantano, Ian McFarlane (Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop) and others discuss the glory days of pub rock, pop and cabaret from the 1950s to the 1980s. Mick Thomas, Tony Lovett (Stray Blacks), Paige Black, Rose Turtle Ertler, Sofia Chapman (Vardos), Achilles Yiangoulli (The Habibis) and others discuss the history of Rebetika and Eastern European music in Darebin as well as contemporary country, indie, punk, folk and pop venues and scenes. The early history of buildings, and the music associated with them, is chronicled by experts from Darebin Libraries and the Cinema Record.

By using the free downloadable Echoes app Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms can be undertaken as a guided walking tour. Alternatively it can be listened to as a series of episodes or read at home.

Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms was commissioned and funded by Darebin Arts for HYPERLOCAL – a new series of immersive art works that invites audiences to see Darebin differently. The tour has been produced by Iain McIntyre, Kirstyn Lindsay and Teishan Ahearne.

The tour was produced during Melbourne’s 2020 COVID-19 lock-down and you will hear reference to this in the interviews.

More stories about gigs and venues in Darebin, plus flyers, posters and videos, can found at our Facebook page.

Presented by Darebin Arts.