Sidney Myer Music Bowl - Melbourne
Sidney Myer Music Bowl is an open-air performance venue that’s located at Linlithgow Avenue on the grounds of Kings Domain Gardens, in Melbourne. It’s a band-shell style performance area – a band-shell is a specially designed open-air performance theatre with a sheltered stage area that’s designed to have fantastic acoustical properties and to project sound towards the audience.
The music bowl is very close to the Arts Centre, and it’s adjacent to the entertainment and theatre precinct at Southbank. The venue is easily accessible from the city centre. If you are driving to the bowl, you can always park your car at the Arts Centre Melbourne and take a short walk to the venue. It will only take you a few minutes to get to the bowl if you go through the rear entrance on Kavanagh Street or the one on Sturt Street. If you take the train, you can stop at Flinders Street Station and walk up to the music bowl. If you take the tram, you can stop at Saint Kilda Road right next to the music bowl.
Sidney Myer Music Bowl has been in use since the late 1950s. It was named after Sidney Myer, a renowned philanthropist, and businessman who came up with the idea for the music bowl after visiting the Hollywood Bowl, a similar facility in California. Upon his death, Sidney Myer’s estate funded the construction of the bowl. Myer envisioned the music bowl as a place where free symphony orchestras would be performed for the entire public, and his vision lives on today; at least 3 free concerts are held at the music bowl every year.
The music bowl has a small fixed seating area that can accommodate about 2000 people, but the rest of the area is made up of vast sloping lawns, which makes for a very versatile event space.
Although Sidney Myer Music Bowl was inspired by the Hollywood Bowl, the two structures are very different. Whereas the Hollywood bowl has a concrete shell structure, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl has a freeform roof which covers a bowl that’s made of a tensile structural system. This kind of material and design was both new and revolutionary at the time when the bowl was constructed.
Since its establishment, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl has hosted many concerts and rallies, with record-breaking numbers of people in attendance. 30,000 people showed up to witness its launch in 1959. Later that same year, 70,000 people attended an evangelical rally hosted by Billy Graham. In 1967, a concert headlined by the band Seekers attracted an audience of 200,000 people; that concert still holds the Guinness world record for the greatest attendance at a concert within the Southern hemisphere.
Over the years, many international performers have toured the music bowl. The bowl has hosted bands such as The Beach Boys, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Paramore, and many others. It has also hosted artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, and Lorde, among hundreds of other artists. Orchestras that have played at the bowl include The Czech Philharmonic and The Electric Light Orchestra.
The music bowl has been under the management of the Victorian Arts Centre since 1980. It underwent major renovations in 2000, and it was reopened on the Christmas Eve of 2002, during the Carols by Candlelight concert. Since then, Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight events are always held at the music bowl; it’s one of the most important annual cultural events in the city.
During summer, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl always has a heavy schedule of concerts and performances. Performances are fewer but plentiful during the other seasons. No matter what time of year it is, you can always check Art Centre Melbourne’s official website to find out what music acts are scheduled to play at the music bowl in the near future. You can also book a ticket to an event from the website.
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