BUILD it, and they will come. Well, you hope they will.
Regional venues have long had the problem of attracting major artists.
David Stretch owns Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal, which over the weekend hosted esteemed Australian acts The Basics and Regurgitator.
Mr Stretch said initially it was tough to draw in established artists.
“Once we gained trust within the live-music industry we started to land bookings for leading Australian and international acts,” he said.
Mr Stretch, who bought the theatre in 2004, said it is a small industry and word gets around.
He fondly recalls the first time Cat Power, an American muso well-known for being difficult, came to play.
“The day before she performed she requested to have a puppy to play with backstage. Luckily we had bought one the week before,” he said.
“So she took a nap with the puppy prior to going on stage.
"She was impressed and told bands back in America, which led to us landing other international acts.”
Mr Stretch says there will always be a market for quality live entertainment.
He believes there are considerable benefits to running a venue in a rural location.
“We don’t have as much competition as metropolitan venues," Mr Stretch said. "And whether it’s an international artist or fundraiser the part that I enjoy is the ability to make a positive contribution to the community.”
The Theatre Royal aims to promote local acts too.
“We always attempt to get local bands to be support acts for the major artists. It’s a buzz for the younger guys to be on the same stage as Paul Kelly was a few nights before,” Mr Stretch says.
Singer and guitarist of local act, Paper Arcade, Ry Hamilton-Smith said Theatre Royal provides important opportunities for young bands.
“It’s great to have a venue that attracts large acts in spite of it being in a small town. It motivates younger musicians to give it a shot. It’s inspiring.”