"It's really just a celebration and so awesome that these people are prepared to give their time."
Brisbane’s newest music venue is set to open with a bang in July with an explosive night of Queensland music.
The launch of The Fortitude Music Hall, this 26 July, will feature performances by Ball Park Music, DZ Deathrays and Tia Gostelow on top of special guest appearances from Bernard Fanning and Ian Haug (Powderfinger), Patience Hodgson (The Grates), Thelma Plum, Dave McCormack (Custard), Busby Marou, Sahara Beck and Jeremy Neale.
Having been in the works for two years, co-owner John Collins, of Powderfinger and more recently The Triffid fame, is excited to begin “celebrating with people and start talking about the good stuff, which is having artists in the venue”.
The venue itself finds its home in the Brunswick St Mall. But as the pipe dream of “replacing the lost Festival Hall” looked to become a reality, first it was all about finding the right space to do so.
“One day [Scott Hutchinson] said, ‘Mate come up and see this spot in the mall.’ And as soon as I walked in it was like, ‘Oh this is what we've been looking for,” Collins recalls of a phone call with Hutchinson, The Triffid’s landlord and one of the leads spearheading the new project.
“That location, that was just the killer for me. That lightbulb moment, was, ‘This is where it should be.’ It shouldn't be somewhere too far out of town, it should be right in the heart of the Valley and yeah that's where the inspiration came from and we started working from there.”
"It's been a bit of a dead zone, the Brunswick St Mall, and I'm hoping this does energise that part of the Valley."
The importance of a central music venue of that size - The Fortitude Music Hall will be able to hold 3,300 patrons - in the centre of town was of key significance for Collins.
“I think if you look at places like Melbourne, I think it's important to have all your entertainment in central spaces,” he shares. “I mean everyone's going to benefit in the area if we've got 3,000 people coming out on a Wednesday night...
“That's where I think it should be and it feeds into a stronger culture of the whole area. It's been a bit of a dead zone, the Brunswick St Mall, and I'm hoping this does energise that part of the Valley.
“The Council has been really proactive with us and they see it as a really positive thing for Brisbane so I'm hoping that's the case.”
A strong Queensland heart beats behind the venue and it was very important for Collins to celebrate that at the opening.
“The three bands that are playing, Ball Park Music, DZ Deathrays and Tia Gostelow, that's a pretty broad spectrum of Brisbane, or Queensland, music and that was the idea, to make it not one-dimensional,” he enthuses.
“To celebrate the differences in the music scene up here and then having Dave and Patience and Bernard [among others] get up brings another element to it and a bit more of a history of what Brisbane and Queensland's music has been like. It's really just a celebration and so awesome that these people are prepared to give their time and the artists that are playing are prepared to work with these other acts.
“I just want to have this feeling that it's a really special night that was always the intention; of making it a really special, Queensland-based evening.”
"We're all there to create a really good show and have a good time and I don't want to lose sight of that.”
The following night, the venue will host Skeggs and Collins laughs “that’s where everything’s going to be tested”: "All the younger people going off, that will test our systems I think." But coming from the success of The Triffid, he has learnt some valuable takeaways they’ll be able to bring across.
“I think when I did the Triffid, I was very new to this world. I've learnt so much in the past five years, I think probably more from management side of things; about communication and having the right team that communicates well among each other... I'm really confident I've got the right team in place.
“The other thing is The Triffid has got a really good reputation now, if I don't mind saying so myself, the staff are great, it's a really friendly place, artists are well looked after, that was always the intention, and we have delivered that, artists like playing there.
“So that's sort of philosophy of The Triffid, I just want to bring that up to The Fortitude Music Hall and have the same ethos from the whole team. We're all there to create a really good show and have a good time and I don't want to lose sight of that.”
The Fortitude Music Hall Opening Party in conjunction with Queensland Music Festival will be held on 26 July. Tickets for the event are on sale now; scroll down to theGuide for all the details.