Award-winning Darwin Ski Club's 5 live music tips

Darwin Ski Club was named Best Live Music Venue at the HospitalityNT Awards, and club treasurer Paul Gurr joined us to share his tips for hosting live music.

Renowned for hosting the likes of Jimmy Barnes, John Stevens, Illy, Lime Cordiale and Timmy Trumpet, Darwin Ski Club has been recognised for its excellence in the Northern Territory's live music scene, winning Best Live Music Venue presented by OneMusic at this year's Hospitality NT Awards.

With judging for the award based on a wide range of criteria, it was the nod toward supporting artists that really sang true for the local business, with Paul Gurr, Treasurer from Darwin Ski Club saying they champion every artist, whether esteemed or just beginning.

“We don't offer any special treatment to particular artists, and always strive to treat all artists fairly, equally and with respect, making sure our artists feel welcomed and at home within the venue. We’ve proudly supported new artists by offering them regular gigs, which has resulted in increasing their profiles and following within the local community or travellers from interstate or overseas.”

In celebration of the award, Paul Gurr shared his top five tips for live music venues:

What are your tips on creating atmosphere in a venue?

Having regular live music at the venue is key to create an atmosphere. We like to mix the artists and styles week to week, and find we can enable opportunities for new artists. Being flexible with the location of where musicians play within the venue is key to match the time of year and our seasonal Tropical weather conditions.

What are your tips on getting punters coming back to your venue and keeping people engaged and excited?

Having a strong social media presence is paramount, ensuring you have regular updates on live music, engaging photos, images and video content, and making live music fun and part of our normal business. Regularly changing up the artist line ups and genres, arranging and hosting large music events four to five times per year helps to make the venue assimilated with being the home of live music in Darwin. Exemplary advertising across media platforms with strong, fun, and consistent messaging always pays off too.

What are your tips for locking in great talent?

Take chances with cold calls from artists - some of our best performances have been from those we hadn’t worked with before or heard of yet. Researching other live music venues and artists playing, as well as attending other live music venues is a great way to see how your local community is experiencing and enjoying live music outside of your venue. It helps to ensure you don’t just offer the same thing time and time again and helps with ideas to cater to a broad range of entertainment.

What are your tips for building a supportive community for artists?

Engage current and new artists and be flexible to the artist’s needs or requests. Make sure you pay live artists promptly and on time. Don’t stick to just one genre all the time; mix it up.

Top tips on standing out from other live music venues?

Offer a wide choice of genres, regular music and options for wider audience groups. We always make sure we have something for everyone throughout the year.

With over 450 people gathered from the Northern Territory's hospitality industry, Darwin Ski Club was humbled to accept the award presented by OneMusic, and highlighted that community is at the heart of everything they do.

Gurr noted “what makes us so special are the people who walk through our doors. Whether that's our artists, punters, community members or staff, everyone plays their own part in the success of Darwin Ski Club.”

“Faced with a tough couple of years, we’re thrilled to be recognised for this award and can't wait to continue doing what we do best, offering premium live music experiences in the heart of the NT.”

“We congratulate everyone on their awards and nominations, we’re so proud to be part of the hospitality industry,” said Gurr.