Melbourne’s live music scene has a new major player – the once-defunct Railway Hotel in Brunswick has been refurbished and rebooted. The old-style boozer has a 200-capacity room, making it a touch smaller than the Gasometer and Tote, with a beer garden, mezzanine and lounge/bistro.
“Brunswick has become emblematic of what's great about Melbourne,” says Railway Hotel’s head of marketing, Alistair Kennedy. “We have been inundated with requests to play the room and for locals to get involved in every aspect of the business.”
The venue is front-loaded with industry talent, not only former Future Entertainment Group director Alistair Kennedy, but also band manager and Thornbury Theatre booking manager Neil Wedd; booker Paul Allen (aka DJ Gringo) and publicist Erin Jameson. They plan to run a Wednesday to Sunday gig schedule, ensuring plenty of exposure for a divergent range of talent.
Says Paul Allen, “We’re wanting to attract local bands as diverse as East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Sun God Replica and Fraser A Gorman, along with labels such as AARHT, Poison City, RIP Society to name a few. “They will have a place to showcase new acts and promote a continuing cycle of new independent acts of all genres, that mirror the diverse Brunswick music scene.”
In fact, live music is just about the only way for musicians to make money these days, according to Neil Wedd. “Providing an outlet where people can have a great experience is the key,” he says. “It’s about ensuring that people trust the venue to be a gatekeeper. Bands will develop and move on to larger venues and more success.”
Since Wedd admits that even a team with as much as experience as the Railway’s can’t know of every band and label, it’s his hope that people will use the venue to curate events and expose new talent.
On top of its appeal as a venue, the Railway will be running all day food with authentic style Italian pizzas and a large tapped beer collection. Alistair Kennedy says the group will also be working to ensure the hotel can brag environmental renewability. “We will be growing our own herbs and vegetables onsite,” he says. “Recycled timber and metals are being used in all areas of the building. We are going to offer local growers market prices for their produce. Rainwater will be used wherever possible.”
|Venue name:||Railway Hotel: Brunswick|
291 Albert St
|Transport:||Nearby stations: Brunswick|