Arts & culture,

Gold Coast’s live music scene launches a major comeback

Natalie O’Driscoll | July 17, 2020

Gold Coast’s live music scene is already bouncing back from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 restrictions.

With some of Gold Coast’s major players bringing gigs back to the public, this month marks something of a milestone in the relaunch of the local music scene. Far from being decimated by months of lockdown, Gold Coast venues have fought hard to stay on their toes and ready to bring music back to the masses as soon – and as safely – as possible.

Quick off the mark was Gold Coast’s original night market Miami Marketta, which recently brought live music back to its main stage during the weekend street food markets.

“The sound of live music through the venue was the most surreal feeling,” says Market Coordinator Emma Milikins.

The team at the bustling southern market were kept on their toes during Covid-19, constantly creating new ways to operate through each stage of restrictions.

Bobby Alu performing at Mos Desert Clubhouse (Photo credit: Simone Gorman-Clark)
Lastlings at Miami Marketta (Photo Credit: Gio Siregar)
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse Kim and Emilia

“We basically became master pivoters,” says Emma. “Whenever a restriction relaxed in an area we created a business. We went online with our cocktails range as well as creating a Drive Thru with Drag Queens version of Miami Marketta.”

And now that live music is back on the menu, it’s full steam ahead for the beloved night market. Jeff Martin from the Tea Party plays songs from Led Zeppelin this week, in the first event of a seven week program that consists of 15 intimate shows. On the lineup are artists such as Phil Jameison of Grinspoon, Ash Grunwald, Tex Perkins and Jack Botts. But if you’re wanting tickets, you may be fresh out of luck, says Emma.

“Most of these are already sold out! Punters have been so receptive to tickets when they went on sale, some shows selling out in under 10 minutes.”

Emma hopes this renewed appetite and appreciation for live music will continue once Covid-19 is a distant memory.

For now, social distancing rules apply, which means seated gigs only, and no stand-up dancing.

“Chair dancing is mandatory!” she laughs.

Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is another venue which has made a huge impact on Gold Coast’s musical and cultural landscape in the relatively short time it’s been around, providing a totally artist-run, multi-disciplinary creative hub in Burleigh Heads.

With re-opening on the horizon following a near-total March shutdown, Co-owner Kim Ferguson is eagerly prepping for their upcoming shows.

“It’s exciting to be back on the gig train!” She exclaims.

Critically acclaimed Gold Coast funk-roots group Hussy Hicks will be kickstarting things back at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse with a sold out album launch, with local bands Level H, Donny Love, Thee Endless and Vanilla Drip all slotted in for upcoming headline shows, and Casey Barnes and Butterfingers booked for later this year.

The Mo’s crew have even teamed up with Southport venue Vinnie’s Dive for The Pineapple Club, a one day dual musical bus adventure. One thing can be said for Covid-19, it’s certainly brought out a whole new level of creativity in local businesses.


Jaguar Jonze at Miami Marketta (Photo Credit: Simone Gorman-Clark)


“[Co-owners] Emilia, Christian and I are first of all best mates, secondly business partners,” says Kim. “There were definitely some long nights over red wines, doing what we do best, brainstorming the next greatest and most ridiculously unachievable idea that we can think of and then figuring out how to do that.”

And clearly, it’s worked.

“Mo’s has something for everyone that’s for sure, tickets are flying and with our limited capacity we are selling out pretty quickly,” Kim continues. “We have creative workshops coming out our ears, hot desks and rehearsal spaces are booking up really well, too.”

Kim says that the musical landscape moving forward will depend on the behaviour of punters.

“I think it’s more important now, than ever before, to support artists and venues. Get out and see a gig, buy a ticket to their online streams, buy some merch… whatever degree of ability you have to support the creative scene, the time is now.”

“I think that the sooner we can kick COVID in the butt the better it will be for everyone!”