The Brunswick Ballroom, located in Melbourne on Wurundjeri Country, opened in February 2021 with the aim to be one of Australia's premier live music venues – respecting and nourishing artists, and offering excellent audience experiences.
In 2022, the venue joined our first Green Action Program (GAP), an 8-week sustainability course which supports music businesses to understand, monitor and improve their environmental performance.
At the beginning of the program, Brunswick Ballroom identified a number of major challenges in their ambition to go green: they had been closed more than they had been open through COVID, were experiencing staff shortages, and the age and condition of their building meant assets and structures weren’t very energy efficient.
The venue worked with GMA to develop a Green Action Plan featuring actionable steps and policies to improve their environmental impact with a focus on energy, food and waste management.
Since the Green Action Program, the venue has made massive strides in their green journey. Check out the highlights below!
Food and Beverage
Brunswick Ballroom significantly reduced their food waste by offering attendees to pre-order their meals at dinner and show events.
“We’ve cut down on 15% of our waste, just by asking the ticket holder what meal they would like in advance” explains Will Ewing. “By knowing ahead of time, we can order the right quantities of produce and avoid food wastage.”
The venue also expanded their ballroom menu from 40% to 75% vegetarian, switched to ethically sourced protein, reduced food delivery to once a week, and retained digital menus to avoid reprinting.
Further waste reductions were achieved by switching house wine to keg wine - saving a huge 16,640 bottles per year! On top of that, they stopped purchasing single use water bottles and switched from cans to growlers of beer in the green room - saving 4992 cans per year.
“We were amazed to see the difference we made just by switching to keg wine and growlers. The swaps helped us to reduce the number of drink deliveries we were receiving per week - cutting down our transport impact” says Will.
Venue Director Will Ewing pouring wine on tap!
With an older building, the Ballroom team knew they had several opportunities to reduce their energy requirements.
Older appliances including a washing machine, dryer, glass washer, aircon and fridges were retired to make way for more efficient options. Through funding from the Victorian Government Venue Energy Upgrade system, 70 light bulbs were upgraded to LED - improving 20% of the venue’s lighting. The Ballroom also repaired the exposed air gaps in the ceiling to better retain heating and cooling.
By reducing their electricity and gas use, they were able to reduce their emissions and save on energy bills at the same time.
As part of their improvements, Brunswick Ballroom repaired the roof around the glass dome and added insulation to fix exposed air gaps, improve temperature control and reduce energy consumption.
The Ballroom have also used their position to help educate artists on how they can be sustainable in their practice. As a default, the venue offers a sustainable rider with in-season and plastic free food and drink. Where an artist has requested a product or item that has a more sustainable alternative, the venue asks if they would like to switch to the more environmentally friendly option.
Brunswick Ballroom presenting at the Victorian Green Action Program
Brunswick Ballroom’s work has also extended outside of their venue. As part of the local Trader’s Association, the venue is advocating council for street planting on Sydney Road to improve and cool the local area, allowing for greater kerbside dining options in summer.
Brunswick Ballroom are also sharing their green journey with the local community, becoming an environmental leader in the Melbourne music scene. Since GAP, the venue has continued to support Green Music Australia's initiatives and have spoken about sustainability at panels, inspiring others to make change.
“The Green Action Program was extremely valuable for our business and myself. We would not be on the path we're on now and have made the changes thus far without participating in the program” says Will Ewing.
Discover more about the Green Action Program.
Get accredited with Green Music Australia
In 2024, Green Music Australia will be launching a sustainability accreditation program to help music businesses, like Brunswick Ballroom, showcase their achievements and lift their climate ambition. Register your details if you're keen to be kept up to date as we develop this exciting new initiative.