Quiet Libraries & Haunted Hospitals: A Look At The Hubs That Shaped Melb Music Week

12 November 2019 | 11:08 am | Councillor Rohan Leppert

It's been a big decade for Melbourne Music Week. Here, Chair Of The Arts, Culture & Heritage Portfolio, Councillor Rohan Leppert looks back at the spaces that have defined the festival ahead of this year's events.

Kubik - 2011

This was the first year the concept of a Hub for Melbourne Music Week (MMW) was introduced, so there was the pressure to make it work. It was also the first time that Kubik was built in Australia, with MMW partner Kevin Karlberg from Stable Music bringing the concept to Australia.

Our team realised halfway through that the engineering certifications needed differed greatly from Germany, which made it a complex build. Ultimately Kubik was such a hit with everyone that we have decided to bring it back for our 10 year anniversary.

The Argus Building - 2012

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

This was possibly the largest and most complex build of all the MMW Hubs, but also one of the most memorable. The scale of the Argus building was massive. Turning it into a temporary performance space in such a small amount of time was a tour de force for the MMW team, who only finished the build seconds before the doors opened to the public. An incredible effort by all involved.

The Residence with People’s Market - 2013

In 2013 the initial MMW Hub concept fell through only weeks before the event. The team was tasked with finding a last minute backup plan to build a temporary structure on Birrarung Marr. Luckily, the People’s Market came up with the a great concept involving a large dome surrounded by shipping containers, which came direct from the US. It all arrived just in time for MMW and was a huge success.

Queen Victoria Market - 2014

The 2014 MMW Hub was a challenge because for the first time it was held in a venue which was still operating. QVM is a bustling market place, attracting thousands of shoppers, and made hosting MMW operationally tricky. This, combined with noise restrictions due to the close proximity of residents, presented a number of challenges but ultimately resulted in another memorable and iconic MMW event.

Former Royal Women's Hospital - 2015

The former Royal Women’s Hospital presented a unique opportunity to transform a space which at the time was largely unused. 2015 was another great success, despite the ghost stories told to the MMW staff by the security guards from the University Of Melbourne.

State Library Victoria - 2016

The challenge at the State Library was in its very name – libraries and music festivals don’t usually go together. However, the MMW team managed to avoid any disruption to the library. They were also very mindful during sound checks when the library was open to the public and students in the middle of studying for their exams.

St Paul’s Cathedral - 2017

This was a very ambitious project, but the Dean Of Melbourne – who is a music fan – trusted MMW to stage shows that would appeal to the wider community. The main challenge in the end was ensuring we protected the beautiful heritage listed floor. A major cleaning operation took place every morning to erase any signs of a party the night before.

ACMI - 2018

By comparison to previous years, ACMI was a walk in the park! It was a venue perfectly suited for MMW with incredible stages, lighting and sound. The team also had the luxury of carpet and air conditioning for the first time.

Kubik - 2019

Our biggest challenge, and most exciting opportunity, for Kubik in 2019 has been making the event 100 percent waste free. We are targeting zero waste to landfill and the MMW team are finding innovative solutions to problems, such as replacing simple things like cable ties, or ensuring our caterers use eco-friendly packaging. The MMW team is also working hard to make sure attendees, artists and contractors alike are planning ahead to help us achieve our goals and we are very proud to be working towards such a sustainable event.

Melbourne Music Week kicks off this Thursday 14 November and runs until 23 November. Head here to see the full program and to find out more.