CBD doof spaces sought

By Will Tzaikos

With summer in sight, Melbourne’s dance music scene scans the city for new spaces to throw parties in the afternoon sun. 

Having seen a handful of late-night venues close their doors in the past few years, new venues and spaces within the CBD and inner suburbs for daytime doofs (parties or festival with dancing to electronic music).

Given the city’s creative identity and reputation in the realm of dance music, it would seem as though sites to hold these events would be plentiful and accessible. But increasing rates of redevelopment and construction in the CBD has meant that venues are displaced faster than they re-appear.

Melbourne’s Piknic Electronik migrated from The Paddock behind Federation Square to the area atop the hill of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for its 2017 summer season. Other nightclub closures have led to existing bars being re-purposed for the surviving events.

During the daytime, the locations of these events become more creative. Laneways, cafes and burger bars have been morphed into doof spaces, creating a more immersive urban environment. The majority of events still do tend to be held in private venues, rather than in publicly bookable outdoor spaces.

We mostly see this invigorative use of urban space in events run by the City of Melbourne: the Yirramboi Indigenous Arts Festival, Melbourne Music Week and, of course, White Night.

Especially when the skies are blue, rooftops are the dwellings of choice for such musical endeavors, with venues such as Blue Diamond, Loop Bar and Geddes Lounge opening their skyscraping doors to events by Common Ground, Bunker, and other local music collectives.

Perhaps a game-changer in this regard is the City of Melbourne’s new Rooftop Project (an offshoot from its Greening the City program) which focuses on retrofitting existing rooftops into gardens.

“There is a large potential for rooftops to be used to benefit building owners, the community and the environment by adapting these spaces for solar energy creation, cool roofs, and green (vegetated) roofs,” proclaims the council’s website.

The project mapped out all potential green roofs in the inner city and the results showed huge potential for new spaces. The sustainability aspect of this project is coupled with the goal of solidifying Melbourne’s identity as a “rooftop” city. Activating this high-rise space leads to the pedestrianisation of open air, which is a hot commodity in a dense city. This could eventually lead to more events held up above the city floor, basking in the serenity of the open sky.

As events start to kick off again at the end of this year, young locals and travellers alike will be interested to see the new spaces being inhabited by the city’s sphere of house and techno music.

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