Part of Kings Domain, which also includes the Shrine of Remembrance and Government House, the beloved Sidney Myer Music Bowl is the largest permanent outdoor performance venue in Australia. Its tensile canopy was an engineering feat when it opened in 1959 and its seating easily caters for 2000 people, with a casual 11,000 more spread out across the lawn.
Home to the annual Carols by Candlelight event on Christmas Eve, the venue also hosts rock concerts, symphonic performances and theatrical extravaganzas. Everyone from Kanye West to Metallica has played the bowl – but wholesome folk-pop group The Seekers hold the attendance record. 200,000 people saw their 1967 Australian homecoming gig and for many decades this was the largest concert in the southern hemisphere.
The venue is named for a famous Australian department store founder and philanthropist. But not everyone knows that Sidney Myer was also an accomplished violinist who, before his death in 1934, had already arranged a series of free, open-air concerts played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. That legacy continues today with the popular free concerts the MSO puts on each summer.