CBD Live: Wired For Sound At Southport RSL

CBD Live, located on Level 1 of the Southport RSL Club, is a state of the art, 1200 capacity live music venue which has traditionally hosted up to 60 events a year. Revamped and relaunched in 2018 under the CBD Live moniker, the venue is renowned for being one of Queensland’s best sounding auditoriums and while the impacts of the pandemic have made things tricky, the venue continues to play host to a range of original artists as well as some of Australia’s finest tribute acts, with a number of shows scheduled to take place again from late September.

To find out more about the venue, how they’ve been managing during the pandemic and what’s in store in the future, we recently chatted with Marketing Manager Madeline Lambert.

Can you give us a brief rundown on CBD Live as a venue – how long has it been operating, who are a few of the biggest acts that have played there so far and what makes it stand out as an outstanding live music venue?

The venue is one of the Gold Coast’s largest auditoriums and has housed live music for over 20 years, providing state of the art light and sound production, a full stage, green rooms and the capacity to accommodate up to 1200 guests. A significant rebrand in 2018 was when CBD Live was officially born. Since then, it has grown from strength to strength and continues to establish itself in the Gold Coast music scene and to foster our local talent.

Remaining loyal to our original customer base, we continue to host some of Australia’s greatest Tribute Bands and have recently begun teaming them up for double and triple bill performances, such as Killer Queen & the David Bowie Experience, the Lady Gaga and Pink Tributes and the Billy Joel and Elton John Experience.

In the last few years some of the original artists we have hosted include Kasey Chambers, Boom Crash Opera, Killing Heidi, Baby Animals, Diesel, Simple Plan, Delta Riggs and The Growlers.

How has CBD Live been coping in light of all the uncertainty and disruptions around Covid and last minute postponements and cancellations?

Like all other venues we are all in the same boat when it comes to last minute cancellations and postponements in that we have no control. Our biggest sadness is for both our wonderful casual staff and the bands and entertainers who lose out on income and are continuing to struggle through these trying Covid times.

In terms of running events, we have of course needed to make some adjustments in the way we operate and we will absolutely not jeopardise the safety and health of our patrons, our team or our business.

We operate under a strict Covid Safe Plan and have made changes to seating allocations to allow for additional tables and social distancing. We’ve also made small tweaks such as opening the doors earlier to avoid congestion and prevent crowding. Like everyone we are following all guidelines and doing the best we can to ensure live music is able to continue.

What do you think needs to change to achieve an equitable playing field for live music in comparison to how other industries such as sports are policed during the pandemic?

There should be equality in the rules for all venues, sporting events and live music included. The music industry is being penalised and the livelihoods of the musicians, crew, staff and overall economy are suffering while large scale sporting events are continuing to go ahead with little to no change. We are on compliance with every rule, cutting our capacity down by a quarter, adding additional signage and security personal, ensuring everyone is checking in, socially distancing seating and employing more staff to clean and sanitise throughout the event.

In regards to the future direction of the venue where are things headed over the next few years?

Our future is bright and we have a commitment to continue to invest and showcase original artists and tribute bands, particularly local artists, during these COVID times, with hope for the return of international artists in the future.

CBD Live was a proud sponsor of the Song of the Year category at the 2021 Gold Coast Music Awards.

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