Feature Venue :: Yours And Owls

August 28th 2012


If the word ‘Wollongong’ conjures up painful images of a nightlife marred by flared Supre jeans and goon sacks, you clearly haven’t checked in lately. 

Ben Tillman graduated from uni and thought: ‘Fuck it, let’s do music’.

And thank God he did, because the fruits of his labour turned out to be the self-proclaimed ‘bent and bizarre’ collaborative art / music / food / drink / whatever-your-heart-desires venue, Yours and Owls.

Yours and Owls is to Wollongong what cafes were to the French Revolution – a place for a counter-culture which rejects the archetypal Wollongong images of the ominous black clouds billowing above the Port Kembla Steelworks and 17 year olds vomiting in a pot plant outside one of the city’s notoriously loose nightclubs.

‘We didn’t have an aim when we opened Yours and Owls,’ explains Ben. ‘It just turned into what it is; people just come and do their own thing, whatever that may be.’

Here to cater to your every primal desire, Yours and Owls has evolved into an espresso bar with a European-style kitchen, a gallery and a live music venue which has seen a lot of action over the past couple of years.

‘We have a lot of international and touring acts but we always try to put the local dudes in too and nurture what we’ve got down here,’ says Ben. ‘There’s a lot of different music coming out of Wollongong, everything tends to be pretty raw. Lots of punk and strong rock and roll which has been maturing lately so there’s a whole new breed of music evolving.’

Yours and Owls has played host to Die! Die! Die! (recently), The Rubens (before they were cool), Rosetta and is preparing for The Bedroom Philosopher next month. The venue has become a pit-stop for bands on the road between Melbourne and Sydney and is putting the Gong back on the musical map. They also play host to heaps of local acts like The Walking Who, My Little Underground, Thomas Covenant (listen to Bubbles), Vulpes Vulpes (listen to Mirrorvine) and Obscura Hail (listen to Maple Syrup – this guy is single handedly bringing back the barbershop quartet, and not a moment too soon).

Not to neglect the artistically-literate among us, Yours and Owls also exhibits a different visual artist every month. The feature artist for August is Stef Harris, whose body of work Lost At Sea explores the ‘spectrum of madness in contemporary society’.

Now, being free this Friday may just qualify as ‘madness in contemporary society’. But don’t fret: we’re going to remedy that social faux pas for you right now with two sublime suggestions:

1)    Yours and Owls is celebrating its second birthday on Friday, so why not kick on south and join in the festivities? The event is set to sprawl across three venues and there will be 15 bands flaunting their skillz. Step-Panther, The Walking Who, Totally Unicorn and The Owls are on the agenda, so come, fill your cup with art and tunes until it overflows.

2)    There has been an awkward clash of birthdays. There’s no point politely tip-toeing around the subject. FBi is also throwing a shindig on Friday. So if you’re in Sydney, come party with us.  To our Gong cousins, tear it up down south on our behalf.


WHAT: Yours And Owls 2nd Birthday Party
WHERE: Yours And Owls [95a Crown St, Wollongong], Town Hall and Bluenote
WHEN: Friday, 31st August
HOW MUCH: $20 – tix right here


Read more from FBi Radio