We were overwhelmed by the turnout for our inaugural MP Music Network ‘Professional Development and Networking Event’ which took place on Wednesday 13th. Due to the ongoing restrictions, it was a virtual event. Themed ‘Connecting the MP Music Community’, over 100 attended  the largest ever local gathering of music industry. It featured input from the best local artists and professionals as well as a few expert guests. Paddy Donovan (ex-CEO Music Victoria) facilitated the day. He also assisted in updating  the Peninsula music sector on the Shire music plan which he has helped to write.

It was all put together by hard-working MPMN team – Robin Griffiths, Heidi Luckhurst, Maxon, Michael Clarke with Paddy Donovan (ex-CEO Music Victoria), who also facilitated the day. Patrick also assisted in updating the Peninsula music sector on the Shire music plan which he has helped to write.

Mayor Despi O’Connor and Deputy Mayor Sarah Race both spoke about their passion for music, and that the Council is stacked with music supporters who want to elevate music’s role in Council priorities.


MP Music Plan

Steve Harris – coordinator of Festivals and Events then announced several new Shire initiatives including a set of new grants available for music activations, events and festivals and that the Shire will be waiving musician busking fees. He then presented an update on the Shire draft Music Plan 2025 which has just been released for public exhibition and feedback link here:  https://shape.mornpen.vic.gov.au/music-plan-2025 or available from the Shire website. Steve’s presentation was well received. Funds have been allocated to the first year of the Plan and the Community will have a say in how those funds will be spent by clicking the link above.

Simone Schinkel (CEO Music Victoria) represented the Vic music sector and Vic Gov. She gave an update on the Vic Gov ‘Roadmap out of COVID’ which really does nothing for the music sector as the 4sq m per person capacity restrictions or 150 max (for venues the size of The Forum) means that there will be few indoor gigs until Feb or March. So outdoor gigs are the go for the Summer and Autumn.


Panel Discussions

Panel discussions included subjects affecting Artists, Traditional venues, Non-traditional venues, Inclusion and Access, Festivals and a final discussion on ‘The Future of Music Post-COVID’

Triple J favourite Ali Barter (recently relocated to the Peninsula) and Hayden Calinin (grew up on the Peninsula) were the main artists panelists. The take out here was it’s been a dreadful couple of years for artists and we need to help artists and musicians reconnect with the community for everyone’s mental wellbeing.  Artists have missed human contact and interaction during lockdown and some are dispirited by performing streamed shows.

Local indigenous musician Carissa Nyalu stressed the importance of artists being able to play in ‘culturally safe spaces’ and mentioned that she does not play at most venues on the Peninsula as they are not ‘safe spaces’. She said we need to help venues to improve and in this respect and also consider booking culturally diverse acts and indigenous artists.

Many venues will not be opening until Feb or March depending on restrictions. BaHa’s will be re-opening as HABA and will once again be a live music venue under the direction of Jerome Borazio (with local promoters booking regular nights, and Melbourne best bands coming through). Mr Borazio – entrepreneur and founder of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival gave a sparkling talk full of positivity and promise for the Peninsula musci sector in the future. And new owners plan to re-open SoundBar in Capel Sound while The Pig and Whistle, Main Ridge is planning to extend its live music offering to its 1,000 capacity outside lawn and offer free rehearsals.

The Peninsula is home to several non-traditional music venues hosting artists performing original material started by local entrepreneurs. Events such as Bayview Arts house concerts and Music on the Hill (MOTH) were started by passionate music fans because they were sick of driving to Melbourne and waiting for bands to come on at the pub at midnight to then have drunk crowds talking through shows. These venues have built up strong databases of music lovers who are eager to get back to live gigs, and artists are desperate to play at these venues.

The Festivals segment featured local operators who are excited by the Shire’s commitment to assisting large music events to take place on the Peninsula in the near future.


Overall the mood at the event was positive, feedback has been encouraging and everyone is looking forward to the next networking event – hopefully in person and with live music next year.

Shaun Adams, respected music industry booker said ‘Mornington Peninsula is poised emerge from the pandemic stronger than any other Victorian region’.


Please check out the Shire draft Music Plan and give your feedback here https://shape.mornpen.vic.gov.au/music-plan-2025

It’s our future, so have your say!