An iconic fixture in Sydney’s live music and entertainment industry, this year Marquee Sydney is celebrating its 10th birthday.
We caught up with Duane Buriani-Gennai, Senior Entertainment Manager at the internationally-renowned music venue, to chat about the highs, the lows, the most memorable performances and why just like a fine wine, he believes Marquee is only getting better with age.
It’s no easy feat for a venue that’s not only survived – but continued to thrive – throughout challenging times over the last decade (not least mentioning the infamous Sydney lock-out laws). But in 2022, The Star Sydney’s premiere music venue – Marquee Sydney – is doing just that.
From Usher to Drake, Bruno Mars to The Weekend, Calvin Harris and Post Malone, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Marquee Sydney has had some of the world’s best performers grace its stages throughout the years. It’s these incredible world-class acts, as well as all the up and coming local artists, and a team that’s both passionate and dedicated, which has cemented Marquee as the city’s premiere music venue for all this time. And of course, let’s not forget about the loyal fans, of which none of this would be possible without.
There have been so many incredible nights and iconic performances at Marquee Sydney over the history of the club that it’s difficult for Marquee Programming Manager, Duane Buriani-Gennai to say what his favourite memory is.
“Some of the ones that spring to mind are when Drake performed multiple songs standing on our DJ booth and had a moment in his performance that went viral globally, when Bruno Mars was here celebrating our sixth birthday, when A$AP Rocky went crowd surfing, The Weekend was partying in the club while he watched his friend French Montana perform, and that time Post Malone sold out the club in a few hours right after he released his hit record.”
Duane also remembers when Travis Scott was hanging from the ceiling speaker while playing his hit record Goosebumps three times in a row, seeing home grown artists like MaRLo and Timmy Trumpet sell out the venue year after year with their shows only getting better each time, and being able to watch international DJs such as Armand Van Helden, Avicii, Tiesto, Calvin Harris and more.
“My all-time favourite night was when we had Usher, Trey Songz and Lil Jon all perform together for over an hour on stage. They vibed off each other the entire night and it was a totally unexpected moment. It was definitely a night you couldn’t replicate again even if you tried.”
Reflecting on why Marquee Sydney has continued to stay relevant throughout all these years to still be one of Australia’s most credible music venues today, Duane says that the key has been always staying ahead of the trends and pushing boundaries.
“It’s rare for a nightlife venue to stay relevant 10 years on, though I believe we have always managed to do so through our talent bookings and musical direction. We always have had our finger on the pulse, and have prided ourselves on impeccable service and unrivalled guest experience.”
Overall though, Duane says its Marquee’s consistency, culture and constant strive for perfection that has helped them to evolve and stay as relevant in 2022 as they were in 2012.
“Despite the many challenges that have stemmed from the implementation of the lock-out laws (which were recently reversed) and COVID restrictions that affected the overall nightlife landscape and music industry, everyone in the Marquee community has collectively put in the hard work, the time and energy, to keep the venue running. From the people that come week in week out, to the staff and the DJs, everyone really feels like they belong to something that is bigger than them. I’m so proud of the team and the DJs, they care so much and are perfectionists. It’s an unselfish culture that’s all about creating the ultimate nightlife experience for our guests.”
Known for booking the biggest and best names in electronic, pop and hip-hop, showcasing up and coming artists and having talented local resident DJs creating the soundtrack to guest’s party weekends, Marquee Sydney is also iconic because whilst it is a large venue, it’s also intimate.
“You can get right up close and personal to your favourite artists with amazing sound and production that is unrivalled in any nightlife venue in Australia.”
Speaking of sound and production, Marquee underwent a renovation and refresh last year, now boasting a new state-of-the-art L’Acoustics sound system, the first of its kind in a major club venue in Australia, a redesigned DJ booth that brings artists even closer to the fans alongside lighting and production upgrades.
“We used our COVID-enforced hibernation to upgrade the loudspeaker system for the main room dancefloor as well as the lighting in both the Main Room and The Boombox. We also upgraded our string lights to all new LED, and added strobes and lasers which elevate the guest experience and lets you feel everything, combining powerful and clear audio with stunning visuals, creating the perfect club mood.”
And with music fans continuing to come through the doors to enjoy the new production set-up and incredible line-up of headliners on Marquee’s books, Duane believes the future of the venue is looking bright.
“We’ll continue to remain culturally relevant through our talent bookings and music direction, giving music fans what they want before they even know they want it. And we’ll continue to promote diversity in our audience and in our music curation, to cultivate a culture where everyone feels accepted and free to express themselves and have a great time. Lastly, we will continue to reimagine what nightlife can be and keep the guest at the centre of everything we do. The best is certainly yet to come.”
Check out what’s happening at Marquee Sydney.