Open Studio is Melbourne’s live music venue for everyone

Open Studio is Melbourne’s live music venue for everyone

The Wikimen perform at Open Studio - image by Nikolino Nino Filipovic (Nino Photography)
Words By Benjamin Lamb

The inside scoop on one of Melbourne’s coolest live music venues.

Live music venues are a precious entity these days, showing off some of the best artists our musical country has to offer. Melbourne is littered with likeminded haunts, but some venues are about more than just filling a stage.

That’s where Open Studio comes in, giving music fans a different taste of the live music experience. We caught up with Open Studio’s co-owner Tania Bosak to chat about her beloved licensed crêperie.

Open Studio has established its own cultural footprint in Melbourne’s social stratosphere, and it’s Bosak’s rich life in music that’s shaped this inclusive High Street venue.

“I was working across the arts as a music director and producer for various theatre events,” she says.

“One of our biggest focuses [at Open Studio] is mentoring emerging artists, but also providing a stage for established and professional musicians.”

Open Studio helps artists at numerous points of the gig acquisition process, starting with the etiquette around approaching venues.

“Sometimes [artists] don’t understand the protocol around asking for gigs, and often don’t send the information we need.

“These emails would likely get binned by other venues but we do listen to everything and try to get back to artists as well as guide them on what we need to consider with their applications for a gig,” Bosak says.

The idea of putting the musicians before all else is what sets Open Studio apart. Musicians come to the venue knowing they’ll be working with people who understand what it’s like to be a musician; they know they’ll be taken care of.

“We’ve always had this reputation of giving emerging artists a platform to be in front of an audience, we guide them along the way … the relationship is really important, between us and the musicians.

Yet, Open Studio is not just limited to supporting up-and-comers; attend one of their gigs and you’re likely to see some of Australia’s best and most established talents – it could be a revered accordionist or venerated banjo player, maybe a virtuosic pianist or an esteemed DJ.

And when it comes to the feel of the venue, Open Studio is Melbourne’s venue for everyone. They don’t judge or stereotype, and strive to be open and accessible for all, no matter your background.

“It’s not a cliquey vibe, it’s always friendly. It’s a real community vibe,” Bosak continues. “We get a really diverse audience, a lot of older people come on their own, sit down, watch live music, and they feel comfortable.

“We really do welcome all ages, we have afternoon shows which welcome families, so that accessibility is a big one in terms of a community focus.

“Even the late night shows, people will bring their kids and grandparents. It’s quite interesting when you go to a gig, and it’s a party band and there’s 20 or 30 people in their 60s dancing.”

Enter Open Studio and you’ll experience a melting pot of Melbourne’s diversity and multiculturalism. It’s one of the only venues that’s demographically widespread.

“The cross-generational connection is very unique to Open Studio,” Bosak says. “That mixture of people is so rich, [and] really is like a microcosm of Melbourne. It’s fun, and it’s easy going, and it’s always good quality music.”

Some of Open Studio’s gigs are ‘pay as you feel’, while there are also ticketed shows. Walk-ins are possible but it’s also important to register your attendance via the venue’s Eventbrite page.

It’s part of COVID-safe protocols and to ensure Open Studio are across all of their guests.

“It’s good that people are getting used to booking, and they should book for all events because we’re at a very limited capacity.”

For Open Studio’s ‘pay as you feel’ events, punters are invited to chip in what they can afford. All artists are paid no matter whether the show is ticketed or ‘pay as you feel’.

And when it comes to the music, Open Studio is inclusive of all genres, yet their specialty is fostering original and traditional music such as jazz, Afrobeat, funk, Latin, Balkan and more.

To give you a bit of a head start on what’s coming up at Open Studio, check out a little gig list we’ve put together below.

Eli Obando and Vanessa Estrada

This funky duo from Chile and Colombia are going to be bringing some Latin American vibes to Open Studio on Saturday February 13. Book it in here.

Fat Tuesday with Johnny Can’t Dance Band

February 16 is Pancake Tuesday so it’s only just that Open Studio is putting on a huge party. There’ll be music, dance, Cajun food and cocktail specials. Get around it here.

Los Cojones Lite

This amazing Aussie trio will be bringing Cuban classics, raucous mambos and tangled tangos to Open Studio on Saturday February 20. Book it in here.

Ania Reynolds (solo)

This virtuosic pianist has garnered fans across the globe with her unique piano pieces. She’ll play Open Studio on Thursday February 25. Check it out here.

That’s just the start when it comes to live music at Open Studio. Check out the venue’s gig guide here and explore their website here.

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