Live Music & Events

Here we talk with Karina Leotta from Canberra’s UC Live.

Learn more about this venue one their website:

1. How long has the venue been presenting live music for and what is the capacity of the venue?

University Of Canberra has always hosted live events. The venues have changed, ranging from large outdoor events (like Groovin The Moo) right down to small 100 capacity comedy shows. The UC Refectory is our main indoor concert space which is a 1,800 capacity room. We also host shows in a reduced modes of 500 and 1,000.

2. How often do you have live music?

We don’t have set nights for live shows – it’s more dependent on when tours stop in Canberra. As a rule Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights work best for shows but we have hosted international acts on any night of the week.

3. Do you have all ages gigs?

Our shows are predominately 18+ however we do host licensed all ages shows in the UC Refectory (for example The Cat Empire). The option is given to promoters when booking.

4. How do you choose the types of live music you program?

We mainly host shows that appeal to a student market. As well as acts that have already played smaller venues in Canberra and are looking for a larger space to perform in – there is definitely opportunity to grow in this area.

5. How does a muso get a gig at your venue?

They can email us their links and if they are suitable we add them to our register. If it’s for a particular show in regards to a support slot we can pass their email along to the promoter.

6. What challenges do you face as a venue who presents live music?

Having a venue that is a multi-purpose space presents its challenges. It makes it expensive, time consuming to set up and to operate.

Promoters aren’t convinced that it’s worthwhile bringing shows to Canberra. The ACT seems to miss out on capital city tours being picked as a regional stop. But then we miss out on regional tours being picked as a city stop.

Having a late buying market – most ticket sales are in the days leading up to the event which makes it hard to plan.

The perception that we are too far from the city or that Canberra people don’t go out to gigs is not encouraging but the perception is slowly shifting.

7.  Most memorable show at your venue?


8. What makes a great gig?

A combination of the performance, artist interaction with the audience and the atmosphere.

9. How to you use digital and social media in conjunction with traditional advertising?

We always create a venue-specific Facebook event to engage with our local market. This also allows us to monitor the activity and hype around our own events.

While we still advertise in the local street press we now make sure we interact with local music blogs online as well. Posters are still heavily used to market shows on campus. We also have digital advertising on TV screens and register screens around campus.

For every show,we set up Google alerts to flag relevant activity to ensure we are sharing any artist specific activity via our social media channels. 

10. Ticketing for live shows is changing. How do you manage access and ticketing to your venue?

We use oztix as a ticketing agency. Our ticket scanning system with print at home tickets makes ticket management fairly hassle free.