Five A Side: Melanie Price (Oxford Circus and Low302)

Five A Side is a new series that spotlights exceptional women in the music industry through a five-question interview.

In part two of our series, we interview Melanie Price, co-founder/owner of Oxford Circus and Low302.   

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Melanie Price

What led you to open not one but two music venues (Oxford Circus and Low302) in Sydney?

Low 302 opened about 9 years ago by my business partner for musicians and like minded people- the gigs just evolved from there. We kept getting asked for bigger and bigger shows and saw the need for a larger venue. We noticed too that the few live music venues left, whilst working hard to support the cause, had some limitations. So we wanted to open a place that had not only sounded and looked great, but had beautiful drinks too.

Who is someone you draw inspiration from, male or female?

Mum has got to be the first, she’s the most capable, determined and hard working woman I know. At nearly 70 she 4WD’s solo around Australia and literally lets no obstacle stand in her way, digging herself and her troopy out of ditches!

The second is Björk. Her career of unapologetic creativity and conviction is truly inspiring. Then there’s her talent and costumes…

What obstacles do you think face women in the industry today?

My work sits in two industries: Hospitality is traditionally a male dominated area, where women seem to have to fight harder and talk louder to get ahead in kitchens and on bars especially. Though I do believe it’s changing, talent and hard work is key in this industry.

I think the music industry likes to pigeon hole women a bit. When I tell people I’m a musician the usual response is, ‘Oh you’re a singer?’. I play trombone- I wish I could sing but the assumption kind of annoys me! Why never drums or bass??

The admin side of this industry can be a bit 1950’s too, but there are many talented women working as managers, bookers & venue owners, talking louder and getting the job done.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in events or music?

Prepare to work hard. Really hard. Listen to those with experience but also to your instincts. Listen to Bjork. Drink tequila.

Who would you like to be the next Five A Side and why?

I met Gemma Pike on the music scene while she was hosting on RTRFM in Perth, and she’s worked across many states in live local and national scenes plus broadcasting since. She’s super talented, committed and is one of the most wise and genuine people I know!

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