Suttons House of Music Birthday Festival

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Suttons House of Music Birthday Festival

Surviving as a live music venue in the industry is a big deal, and ticking of the milestone is Suttons House of Music in Ballarat. Originally a music warehouse in 1891, the venue is now a bustling hub for local music. Time to put on your party hat and celebrate everything Suttons have achieved over the past 12 months.
So we understand there’s quite a bit of history behind Suttons House of Music, what made you to decide to open the venue as a live music hub again?
Suttons House of Music Warehouse was first built in 1891, at the time of construction it was Ballarat’s tallest commercial building. It quickly became more than just a landmark, it was a glowing attraction in the centre of Ballarat that became a hive of culture and music – every bit as grand as the main room adorned with gas-lit chandeliers and headlight windows celebrating five great German composers. There is strong musical blood in the walls and my business partners and I fell in love with the building, but mostly the story of the Sutton families musical history and of course Henry Suttons inventions. I have always enjoyed throwing a party and as a music teacher and professional performer of over 25 years, bringing quality events to Ballarat was something I really wanted to try.
It has now been a year since opening, how has the year been for the venue?
We have achieved an enormous amount in 12 months. Our events vary from VCE and VET music opportunities for up and coming young Ballarat artists (through our AMPED program), Cabaret style theatrical performances, dance bands where audiences are partying in every corner of the building to intimate big name sell out shows.
Have there been any highlights or memorable moments across the year?
During the Ballarat Heritage weekend earlier this year we were so thrilled to have Henry Suttons great grand daughter Lorayne Branch and journalist friend Jarrod Watt conduct an interview on our stage. Lorayne told stories of the Suttons family and spoke about Henry’s fabulous inventions. It was a moving experience to hear these tales in the building where it all began.
Musically some highlights for me personally have been The Jordie Lane show, a truly intimate and breathtaking performance, Barry Morgan and his world of organs completely hilarious and entertaining. And we always welcome and love Suttons’ favourite Pugsley Buzzard. We’ve also had some world class Ballarat performers who have graced our stage in stunning sellout shows including Geoffrey Williams with his Nina Simone and Bill Withers tribute to Motor City Sounds Motown. Another proud moment for us was International Jazz day when we threw a Jazz Jam which featured over 20 Ballarat jazz musicians who played to a packed supportive crowd.
There’s no doubt Suttons has contributed immensely to the live music scene in Ballarat, what are your thoughts about where it is now?
I’m super proud and excited about what we’ve achieved in one year. It’s everything I hoped for although sadly I don’t have enough hours in the day to reply to all the enquiries I get from artists. The room is in high demand and my brain forever clicks over with ideas that I’d like to offer the locals so bring on the future!
There is quite a big celebration lined up for the birthday milestone, what made you decide to have it held across four days?
We usually have live music Friday, Saturday nights, Sunday afternoons and most Thursday evenings anyway, but we wanted to see how many we could feature over that time and invite some of our favourite acts and supporting artists to play. I also tried to schedule acts that I know Ballarat crowds love to see with a few extras that I wanted to treat the locals with.
It’s great to see that Bustamento are involved in the celebrations as well, do you think the Suttons team will have the chance to wind down and enjoy the festival as well?
I’m thrilled to have Nicky Bomba and Bustamento play. I was trying to think of a great party band for the celebration and when he came to mind I was very excited and when they were available too – we were overjoyed! The plan is for myself and business partners to step away from a working role that night and enjoy the party with our guests.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, are there any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
Thanks for the continued support over our first year forte magazine. I’d like to say to your readers, please help keep live music alive folks. Support your local venues, get out and about, check out shows, support artists, share events, pay cover charges – musicians are worth every penny. Their craft can take many years to master and a small cover charge (often the price of one drink) for hours of entertainment is well worth it!
When & Where: Suttons House of Music, Ballarat – November 12-15