It’s a sad day when any live music venue shuts its doors and when Karova Lounge announced they were joining the list of fallen venues back in May, it was an especially hard blow to the region.
Probably Ballarat’s most iconic live music venues, this spot has attracted some of Australia’s most renowned musicians and performers over the past 15 years, including Okkervil River, Paul Dempsey, Birds of Tokyo, 360, Ben Kweller, Peking Duk, Josh Pyke, Ali Barter, Girl Talk, Wolfmother, You Am I, The Jezabels, Boy & Bear, Something for Kate, Art vs. Science, DZ Deathrays, Thirsty Merc, King Parrot, Set Mo, Augie March and Architecture in Helsinki.
Not only has the venue played host to a seemingly endless list of Australian and international talent, but Karova Lounge also prided itself on promoting the local acts that were well on the way to making themselves known across the country, including the likes of Epicure, Yacht Club DJs, Hunting Grounds, and Goldfields.
With the closure being a huge blow to both local musicians and fans, the Karova spirit will live on under the new name, Volta – Arts & Culture. Slated to open at the start of February following major renovations, the live music venue will be Ballarat’s answer to sustainable arts and culture, showcasing talent and diversity in a clean approachable atmosphere, providing a dynamic space for people to socialise in a low-risk environment.
“We’re not continuing with Karova Lounge, but we’re paying homage to it,” says Volta booking agent Lachy Anderson. “Karova’s obviously had such a strong culture and we’d like to continue that legacy on in Ballarat but now as a little hub for art and culture, where people just spawn ideas – whether it’s music or comedy or dancing.
“With Ballarat already having The Eastern Station there, I think it’s extremely important that this venue continues as well with live music for the touring circuit. It just gives the opportunity for people to see bands that they might not ever see, or see in a regional setting. It’s exciting for the town, and the bands, to have this venue back up and running.”
Upholding the Karova tradition of bringing quality music to the region, the venue already has a slew of high caliber acts locked in for the upcoming months, including the likes of Melbourne songwriter and guitarist Ali Barter, Australian rock legend Tex Perkins, Melbourne-based alt-pop duo Eternal Crush, powerhouse singer-songwriter trio Dyson Stringer Cloher, and Josh Pyke, a modern-day storyteller whose unique and evocative use of both words and music places him in a league of his own.
While there’s clearly a focus on music, Volta is designed to stimulate and promote creativity through the arts with no limitations, open to people from all walks of life.
“There will be a number of those touring acts that the audience will see that have potentially played in the past in Ballarat, or have always wanted to play in Ballarat, so those bands will be still touring through, but we’re looking to book a more of a diverse range of acts and performances, occasionally appealing to different demographics.”
So far, it’s looking like we’ll be seeing everything from live music and comedy to open mic nights and Q&A’s, all with the aim of embracing art and culture in Ballarat.
“It’s about opening a space up for people to strive and create ideas. It could be a bedroom idea that someone has always had, but it’s about giving them the ability to be able to perform on a stage – that’s what is really important in this region.”
Volta – Arts & Culture is located at 15 Field Street (formerly known as Karova Lounge).