Where to Hear Live Local Music
whether you’re after a concert or some background acoustic
there’s an amazing array of local musicians in toowoomba.
We’re rounded up the places you can be sure to hear from some local talent, including some information on what vibe you can expect from each, and how to find out the particulars of each gig.
The Spotted Cow & Blank Space
The Spotted Cow has a long history of supporting local artists, and bringing touring artists to town. (They were one of the first supporters of Gang of Youths – a sign that they know where popular taste will lead.) With their larger venue, Blank Space, just across the road, they’re now able to bring bigger acts (and therefore bigger crowds) to town, with Vera Blue and Meg Mac being memorable favourites. But they always leave plenty of room for the local artists to bring in their own crowd, so get on down and buy yourself a beer.
If you’re wanting to support local artists at the beginning of their careers, USQ Artsworx is the hub. The shows here don’t just feature young local artists, they’re often produced by them too, meaning you’re supporting the education and career growth of the whole music industry. USQ Artsworx offers a ‘pay what you can’ ticket structure to ensure their concerts remain accessible to everyone.
toowoomba busking festival
The 2019 dates haven’t yet been announced, but this annual street festival brings together musicians of all genres (and abilities!) to vie for the grand prize. With pop-up performances all over town, you can vote for your favourites, or just enjoy some CBD activation. We’ll update you as soon as we know about this year, but last year’s dates were around Easter, so we’ll hopefully know soon!
Toowoomba Jazz Society
Hosting gigs twice a month, the Toowoomba Jazz Society has set themselves up at North Toowoomba Bowls Club. Gigs always start at 7.45pm (after dinner; very civilised), with tickets between $15-20. The music is generally mainstream jazz, swing and Latin, and a mix of local and visiting acts. Refreshments (tea, coffee and biscuits) are available, and the bar is open all night. Bring your dancing shoes.
A long-standing favourite of local musicians, launching an EP at Bon Amici’s has become almost a rite of passage. There’s a regular open mic night on Tuesdays, as well as a jazz session every Sunday afternoon, and the casual Campfire Sessions every second Friday night. Order a bottle of wine and some dinner to share, and settle in for a night of live music.
The Empire Theatre
If you’re looking for a more formal sit-down concert vibe, The Empire Theatre has a full roster of both local and visiting artists. Owned by the local council, The Empire’s remit is to ensure there is something on the program for everyone, so whether you like the symphony orchestra, belting musical theatre tunes or obscure cover bands, you’ll find a concert for you.
Another Council initiative, Summer Tunes pops up each year in Laurel Bank, Queens and Picnic Point Parks. Designed to attract picnickers to our world-class parks, Summer Tunes is also a showcase of local musicians. The program tends to theme each park – with all jazz at Picnic Point, for example – so you can be sure you’ll enjoy yourself.
Fitzy’s (and Tapestry Bar) are well-loved favourites for live music. Fitzy’s plays music from 5pm on Fridays, varying from DJs to country to folky pop, as well as a good Sunday session from 2pm (on Sundays, obviously). Tapestry plays from 8.30pm on Thursday nights, as well as 9pm on both Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a huge variety, so if you’re wanting a particular vibe, make sure you check out their program on Facebook beforehand.