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Beat's Guide to Regional Victoria for Music Lovers

Melbourne is renowned for its live music scene, but that’s not to say you have to head into the inner city to find some action. 

Regional Victoria boasts an array of live music venues which are often overlooked due to the city’s smorgasbord of bandrooms, and while the convenience of catching the tram to your local watering hole to cop an earful of live tunes is pretty hard to turn down, sometimes it’s good to get out of the city and experience something different.
 
To make sure you’re not on a wild goose chase around the Victorian countryside, we’ve compiled some of Regional Victoria’s best live music venues that are well worth making the trip for.  
 
The Westernport, San Remo
San Remo’s seaside live music venue, The Westernport gives you everything you could want from a gig, all wrapped into a neat little package. Offering the chance to see big acts on a small stage, The Westernport delivers a super laidback vibe and intimate setting, resulting in a great way to witness your favourite acts. Plus, if you throw back a few too many pints during the set there's accommodation within the venue, so you can zip upstairs to sleep it off before making your journey home the next day. The coastal town also offers a number of things to do while you’re there, such as daily pelican feeding from the jetty each morning, or the picturesque George Bass Coastal Walk.
 
Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
Castlemaine, a former mining town sandwiched between Bendigo and Ballarat, is full of history - as is its iconic music venue, Theatre Royal. Since the original Theatre Royal was built in 1854, the building has been demolished and rebuilt several times, both following a fire which ransacked the joint back in 1887, and also for a number of refurbishments over the years. The venue is now one of Victoria’s most well known regional live music venues, as well as home to the oldest functioning cinema in mainland Australia. While you’re in the area, learn some more about the town’s origins with a ride on the Victorian Goldfields Railway or a visit to the Old Castlemaine Gaol.
 
Barwon Club, Geelong
At the heart of Geelong, both geographically and culturally, you’ll find The Barwon Club. Boasting a gutful of character, The Barwon Club is the place to catch your favourite bands while knocking back a few drinks. Cafe by day and driving force of the Geelong nightlife by evening, Barwon Club - or BC - ticks all the boxes. There's plenty to see and do while you’re in the area; if you’re a beer fanatic you can take a tour of some of the best craft beer breweries like Little Creatures and White Rabbit with the Ale Blazers tour, or if exploring the outdoors is more up your alley you can visit the beautiful Geelong Botanical Gardens.
 
 
Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan
Meeniyan Town Hall is a bustling hub, injecting excitement into the town with the flow of renowned musicians who constantly grace its stage. The South Gippsland town’s population sits in the triple digits, giving you a good chance to see your favourite artist in a very warm and personal setting. Places like Meeniyan Town Hall are a rarity, so it’s highly recommended you make the trip before this well-kept secret gets out. Meeniyan is on the cusp of the stunning Wilsons Promontory, or The Prom as the locals call it, so make sure to check it out while you’re there.
 
 
Major Tom’s, Kyneton
Perched within the Macedon Ranges, midway between Melbourne and Bendigo, Kyneton is a country town-meets-creative centre. Kyneton’s top music venue, Major Tom’s, is a burger and live music joint named after Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ which takes some of that beloved Starman pizzazz and injects it into the eclectic space to provide a welcoming, inspired atmosphere. Give yourself a bit of time to check out the natural attractions Kyneton has to offer while you’re around, such as the Lauriston Reservoir and Turpins Falls.
 
Baha, Rye
Offering the ultimate combination of live music and tacos, Baha is a Mexican-themed venue serving up tapas, cocktails and Mexi-feasts that you can enjoy while you catch your favourite bands. That’s right, you can park yourself in front of the stage, chow on delicious burritos and throw back some margs all while being serenaded by the act of the evening. As Rye is located within the Mornington Peninsula, you’re going to want to set aside some time to make your way to the beach to check out the coastal views from prime vantage points, such as the Cape Schanck lighthouse.  
 
Golden Vine Hotel, Bendigo
Bendigo’s one-stop shop, Golden Vine Hotel, is the place to go to satisfy your hunger pangs, quench your thirst and see a band or two. It’s a popular place for Melburnians to escape to when they’re looking for an excuse to get out of the city - and being only a 90-minute train ride away, you can see why. Bendigo cops a pretty poor rap for a place that’s actually full of things to see and do. Check out the Bendigo Art Gallery and Golden Dragon Museum followed by a stroll through Rosalind Park, and you’ll fall in love with the place in no time.
 
Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Famous for its popularity during the Gold Rush, Ballarat is still bursting with hidden treasures – one of which being Karova Lounge. The stage at Karova Lounge has seen an incredible number of greats across the years and is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Small but not cramped, and dive-y in the best possible way, Karova Lounge is full of character and charm. While you’re in Ballarat, why not experience the town as it once was with a trip to the replica Gold Rush town, Sovereign Hill? You can step back in time for the day and even pan for gold in the creek.
 
 
The Loft, Warrnambool
Holding up Warrnambool’s tradition of celebrating music, The Loft supports musicians of all genres, whatever their status. Once inside, you could easily mistake The Loft for an inner-city Melbourne venue, though it does bring that special magic you only find after slipping away from the confines of the city. Being that Warrnambool is situated within the Great Ocean Road region, be sure to set aside some time to venture the famous stretch and stop in at Logan’s Beach Whale Watching Platform or Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.

Made in partnership with Visit Victoria.