Live music back on track

June 7, 2022 BY

THE Victorian government has announced grants for 131 live music venues across Victoria, supporting the return of live entertainment after a challenging two years.

The Victoria Live Music Venues Support Program will provide grants of up to $65,000 to venues with capacities between 50 and 1,200 people.

The funding has been used to support a number of venues in Greater Geelong affected by the pandemic, including The Blues Train, Piano Bar Geelong and Queenscliff Town Hall, which opened last year in an attempt to address a lack of live music venues in the area.


L-R Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson stand at The Blues Train with Melbourne musicians Stevies Bethany and Sibylla Stephen from ARIA award-winning duo Teeny Tiny Stevies, Andrew Orvis from Queenscliff Town Hall and The Blues Train operator Hugo T Armstrong. Photo credit Ferne Millen.


The Blues Train operator Hugo Armstrong said the money from these grants will go directly towards core costs including hiring musicians, paying for PA systems, venue hire costs and music equipment.

“It really acknowledges what has become public knowledge, which is that the music industry was the first to leave and the last to return,” Mr Armstrong said.

“Live music venues were heavily affected by lockdowns and live music venues still have staffing shortages and a long way to go.
“At the end of the day it’s an acknowledgement of the important role, and if we lose live music venues we lose the important things that are associated with them.

The Blues Train operator Hugo T Armstrong and Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson at The Blues Train in Queenscliff. Photo: FERNE MILLEN


“It’s the venues that bring the food, the beverage, the live entertainment, the production, the sound, all of all of these businesses together. Venues work across hospitality, tourism, events, and live entertainment, so the flow on is much greater.”

During April and May The Blues Train ran a revival concert series to welcome back live music, and as The Blues Train doesn’t operate in winter, Mr Armstrong said this funding gives live music venues the confidence to start planning ahead for the warmer months.

“We’ve currently got all our October shows on sale. So it’s given us the confidence to put out shows back in the marketplace and that’s also crucial,” Mr Armstrong said.

“It’s vital on every level. You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry, with music its the music industry that is there for fundraisers and therapy and joy and entertainment and I encourage everyone not only to go out and support music but to think about the challenges going forward.

“Music needs to be such a valued part of our society.

“And hopefully come and see us on the blues train!”

Other Greater Geelong Victorian Live Music Venues Support Program 2022 recipients include:

The Barwon Club Hotel, South Geelong;

  • Beavs Bar, Geelong;
  • Bloom, Geelong;
  • Piano Bar Geelong, Geelong; and
  • The Queenscliff Town Hall, Queenscliff.