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June 25, 2020

Live music and dance nights are (slowly) returning to the CBD

We've been awarded another gold star for our collective response to the coronavirus pandemic: nightclubs and music-centric venues in South Australia can reopen from Monday, 29 June.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main image: Danny Howe


Hallelujah and praise be to the reason that hath fallen upon our city’s benevolent dictators. And congratulations to you, dear reader. As of Monday, you are the proud owner of two metres less of personal space.


ATTN: Some live music venues have altered their opening dates or operation offerings due to the ever-changing State Government guidelines.

When the heavenly Jacinta Adern all but wholesale lifted New Zealand’s hardcore lockdown several weeks ago, saying “we have eliminated but not eradicated the virus,” Adelaide collectively yelped as we looked at our own stats and good behaviour and wondered out loud (on social media) why we weren’t the beneficiary of our own firm and collective action against the spread of COVID-19.

CityMag was dumbfounded by news that our government was discussing opening borders while our beautiful COVID-free bubble was still being treated like the virus was a guaranteed patron at every hospitality venue in town (and the state). Venue owners, understandably, felt the same way.

Logic has prevailed and finally we adults have been given back some autonomy to fraternise as we see fit – albeit minding not to gather too close together.

With this news, we reached out to a few clubs and live music venues to see when we might be able to return to a local dance floor.


The Crown and Anchor
196 Grenfell Street  

Reopening: Already open
Music from:
Soon (kind of)

The Crown and Anchor is already open, and the pub’s front bar will feature acoustic sets in the next couple of weeks.

There are no plans to reinvigorate the band room  with live music just yet. The Cranker team have adopted a “wait and see” attitude towards relaxed borders restrictions, and when this eases, perhaps so will their stance towards the band room.

“Pool darts and pinballs are back, though!” Crown and Anchor marketing and media coordinator Jack Fenby says optimistically.

The Exeter Hotel
246 Rundle Street

Reopening: Already open
Music from:
No date set

The Exeter has been serving pints and lunch for a few weeks now, but despite the new easing of restrictions co-owner Kevin Gregg says bands will not return anytime soon.

“It takes a fair amount of lead time to get bands booked and sorted,” Kevin says.

When bands do grace the stage, Kevin says they will be local.

The Golden Wattle
110 Pirie Street

Reopening: Already open
Music from:

Golden Wattle co-owner David Blumberg says the venue is still working out the live music program, but they will soon host bands again.

Friday and Saturday gigs will be brought back and will kick off at 9:30pm.

The team are working on other hump day highlights, but have a new backline for musicians to make use of.

“That’s thanks to a grant from the city council,” David says, “and on top of that, just before the lockdown we had done some work on a brand new, bigger and better stage which has now arrived!”

Grace Emily Hotel
232 Waymouth Street

Reopening: Already open
Music from:
 1 July

The Grace Emily is already serving patrons as a pub, but publican Symon Jarowyj had been holding out for more workable capacity limit before reintroducing live music to the venue.

Right up until this morning, he told CityMag Monday’s changes likely wouldn’t change anything for the Grace.

However, by midmorning, things had changed. The Grace’s Instagram page popped up in our feed with an announcement that Django’s Jazz Jame would return to Grace Emily Hotel on Wednesday, 1 July from 8:30pm.

This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, folks – the actual return of the Grace.

There are still some limitations. The pub is putting a 40-pax cap on the band room. But this just means it’ll be a little intimate for the time being.

181 Hindley Street

Reopening: Soon
Music from:

Although it may be a month before Jive hosts its first live music performance, venue owner Tam Boakes says this is the news she’s been waiting for.

“Finally, something to look forward to,” Jive owner Tam Boakes says.

“Bands are itching to play and crowds are itching to come.”

Jive has bands tentatively booked for October and will organise more in the interim. They will run from 8pm ‘till 11pm.

Lion Arts Factory
68 North Terrace

Reopening: Friday, 3 July
Music from:
Friday, 3 July

Friday and Saturday nights are back on with bands and deejays, but there will be no ad hoc weekday shows. Acts will mostly be local too, as it’s too soon and risky to organise interstate talent.

“It’s a mad rush to book something for next weekend,” co-owner of Lion Arts Factory and Five Four Entertainment Craig Lock tells CityMag. “But we’re excited.”

Craig is anticipating 200 people in the venue, maintaining the one-person-per-2sqm cap. Lion Arts hope patrons can “do the right thing” in regards to social distancing.

Mary’s Poppin
5 Synagogue Place

Reopening: Friday, 3 July
Music from: Friday, 3 July

Friday and Saturday nights are set to return with a mix of divas and DJs. Hours are subject to change but will tentatively run from 9pm ‘til 3am.

On the first night back there will be nine diva performances, plus DJ sets by residents.

“We’re happy to become a safe space again,” Mary’s Poppin owner Stephen Craddock says.

“I can’t wait for the divas to shave off their iso beards and pop on a wig, and show Adelaide what they’ve been working on during this time. Maybe the work will reflect what they’ve been going through.”

274 Rundle Street

Reopening: Friday, 10 July.
Music from:
Friday, 10 July

Mixed Tape Wednesdays will make a comeback, as well as house and disco nights on Friday and Saturdays. Live bands will perform on Thursday and jazz groups on Sunday.

Co-owner Driller Jet Armstrong says more notice of easing restrictions from the government would have been appreciated, as the bar staff are knee-deep in renovating the venue.

But ultimately, he’s excited.


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