Cairns is famous for its warm tropical weather, glittering coastline, lush tropical rainforests, and foodie delights. But, what many people don’t know is that this sunny city is also home to a thriving live music and entertainment scene, buzzing with everything from iconic local buskers to major international touring acts.
Start your Tropical North holiday on the right note, and enjoy some of the incredible live music in Cairns. Check out a few of our musical must-sees below.
Cairns busking scene never fails to amaze both locals and tourists alike. Busking is a celebrated part of Cairns culture, with many budding local musicians and much-loved veterans taking to the streets to perform every day. As you stroll the Esplanade, you’ll likely catch one of Cairns favourite buskers, Ian “Johno” Johnson, the iconic bluesman who has been entertaining crowds for years. Cairns council encourages busking as it contributes to the city’s lively and vibrant atmosphere, however, before buskers can drop their hat, they must apply for a permit and audition for approval.
Many of the bars in Cairns host live music most nights of the week, so you’ll never be short of a great soundtrack to your evening. On the waterfront, The Pier Bar and Salt House offer live music from Friday to Sunday every week. Just off the Esplanade, Elixir Music Bar is a funky little music venue that is all about supporting home grown talent and offers live entertainment five nights a week. The Conservatory Bar is a sophisticated wine bar that boasts an impressive wine and craft beer selection, as well as live music every Friday and Saturday night. Popular among the younger crowd and backpackers, The Jack offers live music five nights a week, as well as DJs, top comedy acts, and international touring artists. For more of a nightclub vibe, The Attic sees local and international DJs hitting the decks every weekend.
Munro Martin Parklands
Enjoy your live music al fresco at Cairns’ newest entertainment venue, Munro Martin Parklands (MMP). MMP boasts a spectacular outdoor performance space and open-air plaza, surrounded by tropical parkland and vine-covered arbours. Opened in 2016, MMP has since seen many music icons grace its stage, including Angus & Julia Stone, Neil and Liam Finn, Passenger, Matt Corby, the soulful Soweto Gospel Choir and Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes, to name a few. Check out the MMP Facebook page for more details on upcoming shows.
Cairns Performing Art Centre
Cairns Performing Arts Centre is the city’s premier live entertainment venue, boasting multiple performance spaces and a wide variety of events each year, including music, comedy, theatre, dance, circus, opera, film and more. CPAC has been honoured to host many major touring artists, international acts and world-renowned musicals and operas, such as Kate Miller-Heidke, Post Modern Jukebox, Wicked, Troy Cassar-Daley, Opera Australia, and more. Visit the CPAC website to keep up to date with upcoming events and to buy tickets.
Music festivals have become a staple part of Australia’s live music identity, and Cairns plays host to a number of these jam-packed events each year. The Grass Is Greener Festival will head to Cairns for its fourth year on Oct. 26, 2019. Held at Cairns Showground, this all-ages boutique festival combines the best in Australian talent with renowned international acts. The 2019 line up includes Tyga, Amy Shark, Crooked Colours, Mallrat, The Veronicas, The Kite String Tangle, and many more. If that’s not enough music for one weekend, Scene & Heard Festival hits Cairns Showground the following day on Oct. 27 with a line up of Aussie rock royalty, including Wolfmother, You Am I, Alex Lloyd, and Jebediah. On Apr. 18, 2020, the Red Hot Summer Tour brings Hunters & Collectors, James Reyne, The Living End, The Angels and more to Cairns’ Barlow Park for an electrifying day of Aussie rock.
Keen to experience the live music in Cairns for yourself? Head off on musical journey in the Tropical North and take advantage of the Pullman Cairns International Spring Getaway offer – Book now to receive $25 off your booking, plus breakfast for just $1!
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