A hugely popular Melbourne venue for outdoor events, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl sprawls across a section of the Kings Domain Garden. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is home to Carols by Candlelight and the free, open- air concerts of Melbourne Open Air Orchestra. The famous annual music festival is held here every January. The venue has seen regular performances by international artists. American musicians Jack Johnson, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West and Canadian singer k. d. Lang- all have performed at the Bowl.
The idea for a music Bowl in Melbourne occurred to violinist and philanthropist Sidney Myer after he attended a show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. On Myer’s death the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust (now the Myer Foundation) was established. The trust funded the construction of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. A total of $500,000 dollars was spent.
The Sidney Myer Music Bowl opened its gates to the public on 12 February 1959. The inauguration was attended by thirty thousand people- a sign that the venue’s popularity would only grow manifold in the years to come. In fact, the 1967 homecoming concert of the celebrated pop band Seekers, at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, saw an attendance of two hundred thousand people- the largest attendance at any concert in any part of Australia, ever!
Chief architect Barry Patten was at least ten years ahead of his time when he designed this open air structure. The Bowl is a membrane covered tensile structure. Aluminum faced plywood panels have been securely attached to several prestressed cables which are in turn covered to an inextensible curved cable, the endpoints of which are attached to two masts.
At the time of building, it was one of the very few structures in Australia to have employed this architectural technique, and also the grandest.
Guided tours are available at Arts Centre Melbourne. These tours cover all the six performing venues, including Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Guided Tours, specially packaged School Tours, and Theatres and Exhibition Tour are the three tours available. These tours take the visitor behind-the-scenes, and some tours may even include a theater workshop.
Visitors to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl need to use the general parking for the Arts Centre Melbourne. The car park is located just outside Melbourne’s CBD, and has two levels.
Car Parking Information
Accessible Parking: Disables parking bays are available at both the levels.
Earlybird Parking: Cars arriving before 10:00 a.m. and leaving before 6:30 p.m., are charged a $16 flat fee. Overstay rates are $6 per hour to a maximum of $55 for a full day.
*Available monday to friday only.
Electronic Car Parking and Charging: Two bays near the Valet Parking area on the upper level are available for electronic car parking.
Permanent Parking: Monthly permits are available at $370 per month. Six and twelve monthly contracts are available at $275 per month. Permanent parking permit holders have access to the car park 24 X 7.
Valet Parking: Valet Parking is available on Mondays through Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. Charges are $50. Discounts are available for disabled people and Melbourne Arts Centre members.
Reserved parking is available on Sundays and public holidays from $30.
Standard Parking: A $34 flat rate applies to day parkings, from Monday to Friday, where one enters after 10:00 a.m. and exits by 7:00 p.m.
A $25 flat rate applies to evening parkings, from Monday to Saturday, where one enters after 4:00 p.m. and exits before 4:00 a.m.
Weekends and public holidays have a flat rate of $19. The timings, between which to avail of the flat rate, are as follows:
On Saturdays, enter before 4:00 p.m. and exit by 8:00 p.m.
On Sundays and public holidays, exit by 4:00 a.m. the next day.
Overstay rates apply at $6 per hour and up to $55 for 24 hours.
If you are visiting Sidney Myer Music Bowl, or any other venue at Arts Centre, car park authorities encourage calling in advance to clarify rates and timings.
Phone: 03 9281 8012
Sidney Myer Music Bowl Map
Facts about Sidney Myer Music Bowl
- The real name of Sidney Myer was Simcha Baevski. Baevski (later Sidney Myer) was a Russian immigrant.
- Prime Minister Robert Menzies inaugurated the venue in 1959.
- The 200,000 strong attendance at the 1967 homecoming event of Seekers has found a place in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records as the largest attendance at a concert in the southern hemisphere.
- The venue was added to the National Heritage List on 21 September 2005.
- The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is one of the six performance venues in Arts Centre Melbourne. The rest are Gallery 1, Fairfaz Studio, Hamer Hall, the Playhouse and the State Theatre.
How to reach Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Reach by Air: The nearest international airport is Melbourne Airport. It is 17 miles away from Arts Centre Melbourne, via Flemington Road and M2 Highway. A cab will take 21 minutes to travel the distance.
Reach by Train: The nearest railway station is the Melbourne Central Railway Station. It is serviced by the Metropolitan Train. From there it is little more than 2 miles via the Batman Avenue and Exhibition Street. A cab will take around 10 minutes to cover the distance.
Reach by Tram: The nearest tram station is at St Kilda Road. From there, it is a short walk.
Address: Alexander Avenue, VIC 3004
Best time to visit Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Melbourne is at its best between March and May and between September and November. This is because all the summer tourists have left by March, and are yet to arrive till November. Temperatures run in the range of 63º F and 75º F in these months. However, if you plan on attending the ticketed event, Carols by Candlelight, or the free Melbourne Open Air Orchestra, then you need to brave the summer heat as well as crowds of tourists as both these concerts take place in the peak summer season of December to February when temperatures can go higher than 80º F.
Show timings vary.
To book tickets for any event at the Bowl visit www.ticketmaster.com.au or call 136 100.
Attractions near the Sydney Myer Music Bowl
National Gallery of Victoria, Rod Laver Arena, Shrine of Remembrance, Royal Botanical Gardens, Street Art on Franklin Street, Melbourne, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Theatre Company, the Australian Ballet, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Tips for anyone visiting Sydney Myer Music Bowl :
- The shape of the Sidney Music Bowl ensures a superior sound quality. Make sure to attend a concert to truly appreciate the architectural greatness of the Bowl.
- If you cannot manage a seat inside the amphitheater try sitting on the grassy mound outside, rather than return home. Sitting out on the grass is a great experience too.
- Myer’s philanthropy is not limited to the Bowl alone. Visit the Myer Department Store Chain and the Mural Hall to see other initiatives funded by the Myer Foundation.
Image credits : Raymo009Published On: Thursday, February 5th, 2015