We asked 6 Melbourne venue bookers about their jobs

Written by Poppy Reid on 27th June, 2018
We asked 6 Melbourne venue bookers about their jobs

Melbourne’s Leaps and Bounds Music Festival, the 10-day celebration all things culture, has always been an avid advocate for live music venues. This year though, the festival is taking its love for music one step further.


The festival programming in the City of Yarra from July 13—22 will be curated by venues. Venues like The Pinnacle, The Gaso, and The Yarra Hotel – with the Council’s financial support – are staging their dream lineups to bring fans a stack of gigs to suit any punter palate.


Tone Deaf spoke to the bookers of some of Melbourne’s most storied music venues to ask about their jobs.

Kat Campbell


The Rainbow


Kat - The Rainbow
Kat Campbell

What are your early memories of Yarra?


We moved to Fairfield in 2001 and have lived in this area ever since. One of my first memories of this area was walking our dog to the Fairfield boathouse and feeding the ducks whilst watching the people row past.

What the first record you bought?


Never bought one. Never had a player or records. The first CD I ever bought was The CranberriesEverybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

What are you listening to right now?


Tame Impala and Pond.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


Anywhere where there’s a pool table and good banter. The Rainbow, The Fox, The Catfish, Great Northern, The Union and so on.

What do you love about The Rainbow?


It’s a beautiful locals pub and everyone feels welcomed. The beer selection is on point and the food just as equally. The music is always great to liven up the weekends and gets everyone dancing, which always brings a smile to my face. Oh and I have home advantage on the pool table!

What is the best thing about your job at The Rainbow?


Everything. They go above and beyond to make sure everyone is treated fairly, with respect, with compassion and they embrace you like their own family.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


Probably a Queen concert, or a Prince concert.

What song best describes your life?


There’s too many to choose from, but my favourite song is Africa by Toto.

The Rainbow hosts Anna Scionti Trio (July 15) as part of Leaps and Bounds

Joel Morrison


The Old Bar


booker at the old bar in melbourne
Joel Morrison

Did you grow up in Yarra?


I didn’t grow up in the city of Yarra but from first taking over the Oldie ten years ago I’ve seen lots of bands grow up from this area. Coming to The Punters club, The Tote, The Rob Roy and more and seeing bands like Magic Dirt and Sea Scouts and heaps more would be a favourite memory from my early introduction to live music venues.

What’s the first record you bought?


Chipmunks Punk.

What are you listening to right now?


Sarah Mary ChadwickSugar Still Melts In The Rain and Roller One I Saw Her There.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


Pesto Pasta at Marios then a gig at The Oldie til stumps with maybe a quick jaunt to another bar.

What do you love about the The Old Bar?


The community we’ve created here at Oldie and the quality of bands we get in our little band room blows me away constantly.

What is the best thing about your job at The Old Bar?


Getting to watch bands go from a small tiny band from their first gig to where they end up going on to is pretty great but just seeing some amazing live bands every week is the best thing.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


No need for a time machine. Great gigs happen every night somewhere around here.

What song best describes your life?


Probably something from Chipmunks Punk.

The Old Bar hosts Queer.Here. on July 17 as part of Leaps and Bounds.

Jules Sheldon


The Yarra Hotel


Jules Sheldon melbourne bar The Yarra
Jules Sheldon

Did you grow up in Yarra?


I grew up in Thornbury but was always commuting to see or play shows from when I was 16. It’s always been a place of work for me either as a muso or band booker.

What was the first record you bought?


David Bowie‘s Aladdin Sane when I was 8 years old. I saved up all my pocket money.

What are you listening to right now?


‘Style It Takes’ by John Cale, preceded by Royal Headache‘s ‘My Fantasy’.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


When I remember courtesy of the last great night i had in Yarra I’ll let you know.

What do you love about the Yarra Hotel?


The fireplace, the warmth, the food, the community, the staff, big Jules, Kaelan (sound), and the woodpile.

What is the best thing about your job at Yarra Hotel?


Being able to help bands that I truly love and believe in, and support folks who might not necessarily get shows elsewhere.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


I’d go back and see the amazing shows here that I’ve missed due to me stupidly booking DJ sets for myself on the same night.

What song best describes your life?


‘I Often Dream Of Trains’ by Robyn Hitchcock.

The Yarra Hotel hosts Penny Ikinger with OV Pain, Ms 45 + Little Desert on July 13 as part of Leaps and Bounds.

Emily Ulman


The Gaso


venue booker in melbourne
Emily Ulman

Did you grow up in Yarra? What are your early memories of Yarra ?


Not as such, but my family did spend every NYE when I was growing up, on the banks of the Yarra River watching the fireworks to a simulcast radio soundtrack.

What was the first record you bought?


Probably something embarrassing, so I’ll revise my own history and say Paul Kelly’s Gossip.

What are you listening to right now?


Laura Jean’s excellent new LP Devotion.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


It looks like the smile of a good mate letting it be known that there’s something pretty special about how good we have it here.

What do you love about the Gaso?


Its ability to cultivate and celebrate diverse segments of Melbourne’s music community, giving a platform to up-and-coming underground acts and established party-starters alike. Plus the roof opens up like a souped-up convertible.

What is the best thing about your job at the Gaso?


I get to pull rank and have Western Bulldogs’ games take priority on the big screen.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


Would love to travel five years in the future to be there for Grimes’ first show on Mars. If Elon puts me on the door, he and a plus-one can come to any Gaso show of their choosing (subject to capacity).

What song best describes your life?


Yann Tiersen’s ‘L’Autre valse d’Amélie’. Assuming Amelie is the French version of Emily. I should probably verify that.

The Gasometer hosts Go! Launch with Blake Scott, Delsinki and more on July 13.

Then Lake Minnetonka, Mayfield and Au Drew on July 19.

Then Tangents Launch with Maria Moles & Adam Halliwell on July 20 as part of Leaps and Bounds.




JJ Baker


The Fitzroy Pinnacle


JJ Baker Fitzroy Pinnacle standing in front of piano
JJ Baker

What are your early memories of Yarra?


I moved to Melbourne in 2007. I knew the music scene was good but couldn’t believe how much amazing stuff was on offer seven days a week. I have very fond early memories of gigs at the Spanish Club (RIP), The Tote and The Old Bar. I remember seeing Silver City Highway at Old Bar on a Wednesday night and they short circuited my brain.

What was the first record you bought?


Totally Krossed OutKris Kross.

What are you listening to right now?


Lambchop, Time For Dreams, Woo, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Laura Jean.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


Hearty pub meal with mates followed by a few pints then then legging it to as many gigs as possible. Finish up with good tunes and quality banter until the bell rings.

What do you love about The Pinnacle?


It’s a special community in a special building. People always tell me they love the Pinnacle because it’s what pubs used to be like, and that’s a big part of what I love about it too.

What is the best thing about your job at The Pinnacle?


Having the freedom to put on a diversity of bands. When you put a lot of work into a gig and you see a packed room having a good time it’s pretty satisfying.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


Any Jason Molina gig. I recall he once played at the Hopetoun in Sydney when I was living there and for some stupid reason I didn’t go so let’s make it that one.

What song best describes your life?


How Much is EnoughYou Am I.

The Pinnacle hosts Beer X Bands on July 13 and July 20 as part of Leaps and Bounds Festival.

Sam Arthur


The Catfish


sat catfish bar in melbourne
Sam Arthur

Did you grow up in Yarra?


I grew up in St Kilda and moved into my first share house in North Fitzroy in a damp and awful terrace house when I was 22 years old. Piedimontes blew my mind.

What the first record you bought?


The first CD I bought was Tom Jones-Reload (was obsessed with the Burning Down The House cover) First vinyl was Grace Jones -Nightclubbing.

What are you listening to right now?


I love Totally Mild’s new album, Jon Hopkins – Singularity has been on high rotation and Branko and PEDRO.

What does a good night out in Yarra look like to you?


Dinner on Smith St, then bar hopping all the way home.

What do you love about The Catfish?


Kieran and Mike the owners are fantastic publicans, I love their passion for The Catfish and the bar feels welcoming. I love hearing Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks Staff screaming out names for the orders.

What is the best thing about your job at The Catfish?


Working with a great team and getting to see bands start at The Catfish and work their way up to the Corner Hotel. It’s nice being a little venue that supports bands grow.

If you had a time machine, what gig would you go to in the past or in the future?


Jeff Buckley’s Melbourne tour and I’d love to have seen Blue Ruin playing somewhere local.

The Catfish hosts Muddy’s Blues Roulette on July 18 as part of Leaps and Bounds Festival.


Leaps And Bounds Festival 2018


Saturday, 13th July – Sunday, 22nd July

Multiple Venues, City Of Yarra, Melbourne

TICKETS



The article was originally published on Tone Deaf

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