Celebrating 60 years of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Sidney Myer Music Bowl  Photo Credit Laurie Richards Australian Performing Arts Collection
Sidney Myer Music Bowl Photo Credit Laurie Richards Australian Performing Arts Collection

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl has been part of Melbourne’s entertainment scene since 1959, and today we celebrate 60 years. Officially opened by Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1959, the Bowl has seen many of the world’s greatest entertainers perform live.

“At Arts Centre Melbourne we take our role as custodians of this extraordinary venue as both a privilege and a joy. We are proud to offer an incredible range of events and artists from the beloved Carols by Candlelight to our adored local heroes such as Kylie Minogue, who will perform here next month.

“Celebrating 60 years of high-calibre performances has meant that hundreds of thousands of audiences have had the opportunity to enjoy live music in a stunning outdoor venue, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Sidney Myer Fund, which was established upon Mr Myer’s passing in 1934”, says Claire Spencer, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne.

In 1967, The Seekers performed their homecoming concert wowing an estimated 200,000 people that spilled over into the lush grounds of Kings Domain. Listed in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest attendance at a concert in the Southern Hemisphere, this extraordinary event is part of Australia’s rich and varied musical heritage.

Over its long and hallowed history, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl has had highly acclaimed local and international artists rock the stage, including: AC/DC, Sir Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Kanye West, Lorde, Florence and the Machine, Bob Dylan, Blondie, Pearl Jam, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Lenny Kravitz, Crowded House, Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, Daft Punk and most recently Missy Higgins and John Butler.

Its namesake, Sidney Myer (himself a violinist), established free open-air symphony concerts in 1929 where thousands of Melburnians and visitors came to enjoy classical music. To this day, these concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are a much-loved and regular part of music-lover’s calendar.

Bowl facts:

  • Originally presented to Melburnians on 12 February 1959 by the Sidney Myer Charity Trust
  • Handed over to (then) Victorian Arts Centre by Kenneth Myer, Sidney Myer’s son, in 1980
  • Acoustic canopy protects the audience and stage from outside noise
  • Capacity of 13,000 (2,000 under cover)
  • For more than a decade the Bowl was transformed during the winter months into an ice skating rink




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