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Rockstar Holidays: where Australian musicians really go


Rockstar Holidays: where Australian musicians really go

The life of a musician is an itinerant one at best – travelling up and down the country, performing at a different town every night and seeing more of Australia (and the world) than most of us would in a lifetime. So what do musicians when they’re on holidays? Where do they go to get away from it all? I thought I’d ask the hard questions to some of my favourite up-and-coming musicians…

Rosie Catalano

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
I like local getaways to relax (Pearl Beach, Jervis Bay, Northern QLD) or for a less relaxing but more cultured holiday, I head to Europe – this July I’m going to Greece, Sweden, Italy, France, etc

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
Usually there’s a friend or a friend of a friend I can ask. Otherwise I just hit up the Internet and blogs.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
The Liberty Hotel in Catania, Italy is a bit of a stand out – we liked it so much we didn’t want to leave. They do some pretty amazing (and cheap!) room service pizza.

Darren Cross (Gerling, Jep & Dep)

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Berlin. It’s cheap and awesome, although the amount of Australians in Berlin these days is a bit shocking. It has a great music underground scene. Beer is cheaper than water – fact! Such an inspiring place.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
I toured America a few years back with my old band Gerling. We did the whole country in a minivan. It’s cheap, an easy way to get around and the geography is utterly amazing as well. So many characters ready to chat about their lives. Beautiful place, cool weird bars and awesome DIY venues.

Fanny Lumsden

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Within Australia I really love driving until you see a great spot, pulling over and setting up camp – it’s just the best. Australia is a pretty amazing country and travelling by road is the best way to experience it. I also actually love touring to Adelaide. Controversial perhaps, but I just really like the feeling it has.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
I love doing our regional and country hall tours, just because you get to see so much of the countryside, meet really wonderful people and benefit from the good ole country hospitality.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
I find it by meandering around and popping into places just to see what I can find. It’s like pot luck for live music. You often find the kind of music you wouldn’t seek out at home.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
Seeking out the tackiest motel possible. If it has a flamingo on the neon sign, it’s an extra 20 points.

Jack Carty

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Best holiday I ever had was to New Zealand’s South Island. We hired not so much a “camper-van”, but a car that came packed with everything you would ever need to go camping: tent, roll-mats, portable stove, cutlery, everything! New Zealand is one of the most pristine and spectacularly beautiful places I’ve ever been – I’ve wanted to get back there from the moment we left.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
New York City! There’s so much history on every corner, and in every club and dive bar and venue. You can go see legendary musicians you grew up idolising play any night of the week. The audiences are attentive and open to new things, the venues look after you, and no matter what time you finish there’s always somewhere open for a drink close by.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
I tend to try and meet locals to find out what’s going on and where the best places to go and see live music are. Reading street press and listening to the radio helps too.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
Camping is where it’s at! So the “Million Star Hotel”.

Lachlan Davidson (The Davidson Brothers)

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Music travel makes up everything we do. We try to schedule extra days on our overseas tours to the US and Europe to see the sites and new areas.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
Regional Australian towns that get nothing are always the most appreciative. Overseas and anywhere new.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
I always pick up the street press/gig guide when I roll into town. Otherwise use a search engine.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
One that has a gym and wi-fi, so we can use it if we have time.

Hannah Acfield (Dan and Hannah Acfield)

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Preferably somewhere with a beach. I went to Vietnam last year, possibly Hawaii or Japan this year. Somewhere I can relax and rest.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
I toured Scotland once. Ah, so beautiful! Melbourne has a great music scene that appreciates all genres of music.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
To be honest I’m not sure I have a fav! Something affordable yet comfortable.

Liz Frencham

When you’re not touring where do you like to travel for a holiday?
I like to rent a house near a river or by the sea so my husband can go fishing and I can relax. Somewhere we can drive to.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
My favourite place to tour is WA, (especially Fremantle). Beautiful landscapes and enthusiastic audiences.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
The last thing I want to do is to go to a venue when I’m on holiday, I often don’t go out at all.

Lachlan Bryan

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
In the world? Definitely New York, but in Australia I like Queensland – I haven’t been that far north and I’ve usually been playing shows anyway, but if I hypothetically could afford a holiday that’s probably where I’d go.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
My favourite individual pub to play at is The Junkyard in Maitland, but I also love some places I’ve only been once – like Sioux City, Iowa or Memphis, TN.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
I stayed at The Hotel Windsor in Melbourne once – that was brilliant. But honestly I’m happy as long as there’s no bed bugs and no old pieces of fried chicken under the bed (I’ve experienced both). I do like being near the fire escape though, and I like free breakfast, even though breakfast normally makes me feel ill.

Ashleigh Steel (Achoo! Bless You)

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
This is a hard one to answer. I don’t feel like I’ve travelled far and wide enough yet to know where my favourite place is! Exploring the USA is always a lot of fun, and every time I go back I find there’s a new city to explore. It’s crazy how many different, contrasting cities you can find sitting side by side in the USA. Driving up the Big Sur coast from LA to San Francisco will always be a big travel highlight for me.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
So far on my tour experiences I’ve really loved playing those more rural/out of town shows. People seem to really appreciate when musicians have bothered to bring their art/vibe/experience all the way out to woop woop.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
I try to find a copy of the local gig guide at a pub/cafe/music venue and see if any band names or venues tickle my fancy. Asking around also tends to put you onto some good acts.

Joe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band)

When you’re not touring, where do you travel for a holiday?
Most of my own holidaying happens before or after one of our tours – with a few extra local escapes. My favourite holiday would have to be after we recorded in Chicago – I stayed in San Francisco then hired a car and drove the coast road to LA. Gorgeous.

Where’s your favourite place to tour to and why?
They’re all great in their own way – part of the fun is getting to know the local scene, often in as short as 24 hours. It’s always better to acclimatise before the show – in Belgium we played a festival an hour after we landed and had to admit we hadn’t formed a clear picture of where we were.

How do you find live music when you’re away from home?
Usually, it’s where we are! Sometimes I travel just to visit a festival. But if I want to find a show in a new place, it’s worth doing a web search first, then finding a bar and asking some locals – they might not know what’s on tonight, but they’ll know which venues have what genres and a local recommendation is the best.

What’s your favourite hotel to stay at?
We mostly stay in private houses – it’s more cosy and personal than a hotel. One of the things that keeps us going on tour is being able to cook our own meals (eating truck stop food takes its toll on the arteries) so being able to cook in an established kitchen, without needing to buy a whole packet of cumin seeds for one meal, is perfect. If you’re asking for a specific hotel though – Hotel Blue in Katoomba. The drawing room/games room has a fireplace and is like something out of a 1920s murder mystery.

Images courtesy of Jack Carty, Janelle Lugge and Ashley Whitworth

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