While Melbourne is surely a City of Literature, we are also a city of music with a rich heritage of words in music (and if we could have two UNESCO designations, we would!).

The words of our songwriters are known all over the world through the work of artists including AC/DC, Paul Kelly, Hunters and Collectors, Kylie Minogue, Courtney Barnett, Archie Roach, The Seekers, Kaiit, and Gotye (to name a constantly growing list), but of equal note is the thriving and vibrant independent music scene, supported by concert-goers and community radio stations like the magnificent Triple R.

Music Victoria study released in 2022 found that in 2019, Melbourne hosted a whopping 184,043 live performance gigs, making us the live music capital of Australia. In 2019, Melbourne lived up to this title with a Music Victoria census report showing that there is one live venue per 8,785 inhabitants. 

Rock fans will be familiar with the iconic Tote Hotel in Collingwood (established in 1980), whose closure was prevented in 2010 after rallies and protests by the music industry and punters. The Palais Theatre in St Kilda is the largest seated theatre in Australia. The powerhouse of Bennetts Lane have presented the best jazz gigs for over 25 years, and continue to do so. The impressive architecture of the Forum Theatre provides a stunning backdrop to its many music shows. For further reading, a fascinating history of Melbourne music venues may be found over at Cordite.

The City of Melbourne has combined Melbourne Music Week and Knowledge Week to create the 17-day festival Now or Never. To see the latest gigs in town, check out the Beat magazine website.

Words and music don’t stop with contemporary music. Melbourne is also home to the world famous Victorian Opera and the innovative Chamber Made Opera. Some of our most renowned venues around the city host musicals, such as the Princess Theatre, the oldest continuous entertainment site on mainland Australia.

It would be remiss of us to not quickly mention the great work of our sister Creative City, Adelaide a UNESCO City of Music.