Gig Profile: The Rails Byron Bay, Australia

This will be the third installment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.

Although I’m sitting in Thailand right now, I thought I’d take it back to my home town for this next installment. The Rails holds a very special place in my heart. I used to go there as a child and watch my father play. When I came of age, it was the first place that ever paid me to play music. It’s where this career I’ve  chosen, and now managed for almost 13 years, first began. Since then I’ve played the Rails solo, duo, with my bands The Wright Brothers, The Eclective, The Groove Collective, The Simon Wright Band and more recently as a looper. I’ve played there weekdays, weekends, Christmas Eves, New Years Eves and just a few weeks ago, I played there for the Rails 34th Birthday.  I still love it as much as the first time I played there.rails

The Rails is owned by a long time local family the Mooneys. When my father was playing there it was run by Tom and his wife Kath. Since then they have passed it on to the trusted hands of their daughter Hannah. They have been playing live music there seven nights a week for 34 years now. Hundreds of successful local and international acts have been on that stage. It has a lot of history.

The crowd is always so supportive. They love their live music and will lend their ears to anyone that is willing to play for them. The best nights of the week are always the weekends. Friday night they have the members jackpot just before you start and it is always packed. That said; it’s very easy to get a vibe going on on any day of the week. Usually the weekends are reserved for the bigger bands and weekdays will have the solos and duos. The gig starts at 7pm and finishes at 10pm which is nice. You can finish, pack up and still have time to go check out the last set of whoever is playing down the Great Northern or the Beach Hotel. Because it’s an early gig, first set is usually quite relaxed. The punters are mostly seated with a good portion enjoying a meal (The Rails kitchen food is amazing). Second set the bar starts filling up and you can feel the buzz beginning to happen. They all want to dance so in this set I like to start picking up the energy and give them the space to let loose. Third set it’s on. Everyone has had a few drinks and the music has got under their skin. They all jump on the dance floor and shake it out Byron Bay hippy style. I love it, there is always a few characters on the D-floor and no matter where you look, there are so many smiles looking back at you. The stage is only about 6 inches high so you are right there with themrails 1

One thing frustrates me about the Rails though. They don’t have an in-house PA. Because I’m always travelling I don’t have one with me so I have to hire one. There are a lot of options in town to hire from and if you ask the Rails they will book a PA/soundman for you. Don’t bother about going too big. It’s an outdoor venue and they do get sound complaints so it’s best to go quality over quantity.

The gig is available all year round but I suggest booking about three to four months in advance as to not miss out. Hannah is very busy so if you don’t hear back from her after the first email, it may just mean it slipped through to the less important pile. Try again. There is a lot of competition for the gig so remember to sell yourself. Hannah will want to hear some of your music and also check out your website and social media. Include all relevant links in the email. The pay can vary a lot there but for an unknown out of town act I suggest you start at around $250 for a solo then an extra $100 per band member. Don’t go quoting $2000, you won’t even get a look in. Pay will get better as your relationship with Byron and the Rails grows.

Good luck and enjoy. It’s a special one.

Gig Contact: Hannah therails@bigpond.com
Location: Jonson St Byron Bay
Venue capacity: Approx 300

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