The Music Man Megastore in Bendigo is no stranger to live music, and with their upcoming seventh instalment of Music Slam, they’re bringing us 90 bands across the Queen’s Birthday weekend. From the event’s origins to the future plans, we were had the chance to chat to organiser Paul Tzountzourkas about all things Music Slam.
Hi Paul, we’re really excited to have the chance to talk to you, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Hey there, we’ve currently been flat out renovating the ground floor ready to open the weekend before Music Slam. What used to be our music shop is currently being transformed into another level of our live band venue. We have built a stage, installed audio and lighting systems and also built the bar. We are hoping to have this ready by the end of May early June and run a couple of test nights prior to Music Slam 7 which commences on June 10.
For those who aren’t familiar with the event could you please tell us a bit about how it came to be?
Our Music Slam events all began primarily to predominantly promote live original music in Bendigo. We combined a showcase of original bands with a variety of genres to give people the opportunity to experience something a little different than mainstream covers.
Music Slam has grown over the last three years from 25 bands on the first event, to this year where we have been able to run three stages on three days with 90 bands in total. We have had a great response from both bands and punters and therefore have worked hard to make the event bigger and better each time.
With 90 bands on the bill, it can be a bit overwhelming to take in all of the names and we imagine organising that many bands is just as challenging, as a venue owner how do you juggle it all?
Organising 90 bands has been pretty hectic, with the help of a good mate Tim Grey (singer from Ergasia and Die In A Dream) we have managed to quite quickly fill the bill. There is always small teething issues and bands pulling out or wanting to change days but I guess that comes with the territory.
It’s been an absolute blast and I must say we do work in the best industry in the world, and the bands we have on board have truly been so supportive and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with them. Can’t wait for Music Slam 7 to kick off.
By hosting these types of events, you’re definitely having a positive impact on the music scene in Bendigo, what do you think the key is to creating a healthy live music scene?
Music Slam has been a way for us to bond the live music community from bands to punters. Being a smaller venue; punters and bands interact on a close level which helps develop that network and also creates loyal fans of the bands that perform. We are big on involving everyone that attends in everything we do – whether it be having shots at the bar to smoking ciggies outside. One thing I’m truly proud of is how close everyone that plays, that drinks, that comes to The Music Man have become – we truly have our own big family here.
With six previous instalments, we can imagine that you’d have some pretty crazy stories; what sort of shenanigans do you think we could expect this time ‘round?
Music Slam has always been fun and there has been plenty of shenanigans which we probably shouldn’t mention, however what I will say is there will be plenty more this time round with more than three times the bands, three times the party and misbehaviour.
No doubt you’ve probably already got plans for the next Music Slam, are you able to share any details for that?
We are currently working on some dates for Music Slam 8 and are going to try and utilise the laneway as a fourth stage with an outside bar, so we can cater for even more bands and more genres. Also we will be incorporating food in the next one and also considering running some other points of interest such as tattoo comps and other such highlights.
Music Man Megastore are moving forward at a fast pace, what is the next step for the venue itself?
The next step for the venue is to ensure that we can attract some major touring acts through the venue and continue to focus on live original music and making the scene bigger and better than ever before.
Thanks so much for answering some questions, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?
I would just like to thank all bands that have ever played at The Music Man, punters that have come to party and everyone of our staff and family that have helped make The Music Man the iconic venue that it is.
Questions by Jack Cherry
When & Where: The Music Man Megastore, Bendigo – June 10, 11 & 12