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In our first post we take an insider’s look at the launch event for the Australian Music Vault.

An excited buzz fills the room. The glassware at the back bar clinks as drinks are served to the eager patrons. The crowd fans around the stage, waiting for someone to step in front of the microphone.

It’s a familiar scene that would be at home within one of Melbourne’s iconic live music venues. But gone are the sticky carpets, the dingy corners, the chipped pint glasses and soggy chips. Instead, there’s dressed-up “Aussie” snacks, like mini brioche sliders and revamped “Chiko rolls”. There’s carefully designed mood lighting. And in finely polished stemware are a selection of fine Australian wines.

The Pavilion at Arts Centre Melbourne, recently played host to over 600 music industry influencers, fans, heavyweights, and lightweights, for the official opening of the Australian Music Vault exhibition.

A veritable passion project by the Victorian Government, the Australian Music Vault charts our rich contemporary music history, from the 1950s to today. It explores the history of our musical storytellers – the stars, the songs and landscape.

As Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, explains, ‘From the artists and songs of yesterday through to today's music heroes – the Australian Music Vault belongs to the industry and to music-lovers of all kinds.’

With an advisory board of 17, including patrons Archie Roach, Kylie Minogue, Michael Gudinski, Molly Meldrum, Tina Arena, as well as industry partners, government representatives and technical advisors – it was a project dedicated to providing an immersive, educational and even emotional experience.

"We wanted to celebrate Australian music and bring it the front of people’s minds," explains Senior Curator of the Australian Music Vault, Carolyn Laffan.

"We know how important music is instinctively, and how we have a soundtrack to our lives. But this exhibition is a great opportunity to celebrate that and look at it in an organic and thematic, rather than chronological, fashion."

Thanks to the Victorian Government’s investment of $8.3 million and dedication to the project, the exhibition is an interactive, educational and fascinating experience. Delving into every aspect of the music industry, from contracts to costumes, generations of Australians will be able to explore our musical evolution – for free.

"All the objects have a song associated with it, which you can hear right there," explains Carolyn.

"The addition of the coded Spotify mixtape also allows you to build a playlist of your songs, and take it home with you. It’s taking a static exhibition to the next level."

Such a memorable and unique project needed a launch event that was equally as meticulously customised and considered.

"We had the team from Solution Red transform the space and create the feeling of a Melbourne live music venue," explains Pina Virtuoso, Coordinator, Stakeholder Events. ‘We wanted the space to have a cool, edgy feel.’

From the moment guests entered the venue, nostalgic familiarity hit their senses. The smoky mood lighting set the tone. The revamped oil drum cocktail tables, milkcrate stools and huge amplifiers all hallmarks of Melbourne’s iconic music scene. The menu was a cheeky nod to those days of late-night post-gig sessions. Think mini potato cakes with spicy chipotle aioli instead of a floury potato pancake drowned in tomato sauce.

Masters of versatility, the team at Arts Centre Melbourne can transform any one of their 10 function spaces and four theatres into a bespoke venue, complementary to its host. Unbound by the constraints of traditional luxury hotels, Arts Centre Melbourne can achieve a customised experience. From lighting, to furniture hire, even a tailored food and drink menu – guests can be fully immersed in their event.

It was the ideal setting for the launch the Australian Music Vault. The combination of refined service and clever, yet simple nostalgic touches perfectly complemented the opening of an exhibition that celebrates the songs and stories of our cultural evolution.

Contact details

To enquire about how we can create an extraordinary event for you please call (03) 9281 8350 or email events@artscentremelbourne.com.au.

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