EXCLUSIVE: What's happening at the Great Western?
WITHIN weeks, Rockhampton's Great Western Hotel will be transformed into an entertainment precinct never-before-seen in the region.
Major renovations are currently under-way at the iconic Rockhampton venue with everything from the roof to the floorboards receiving a facelift.
Great Western Hotel owners Colin and Vickie Bowden exclusively revealed to The Morning Bulletin that the entire configuration of the venue's semi-outdoor arena will be altered to cater for an increase in national music acts and performers.
"We have some massive renovations going on. Some of it is for necessity but some of it is to make it run a bit easier when we change from bull riding to concerts," Colin said.
"One big change will be an increase in concerts coming this year, it's going to be more user friendly with fitting the crowds in. We will literally be able to do a bull ride and then turn around and have a rock concert.
"The position of chutes have all changed and the stage position has all changed. We have installed our own in-house trussing for touring artists to make it more attractive for them and it is working already, we have some big announcements to come regarding acts.
"It certainly is a big job, Stage and Audio will be at it for about three weeks running all the cables and wiring and bolting it together."
Rockhampton's Stage and Audio will spend the next three weeks installing the new, larger permanent stage, along with professional lighting worth upwards of $10,000.
As for the original hotel itself, Colin said there was huge changes on the way.
"Inside we have a new bar and cold-room going in basically because the old floor rotted out - it had one too many drinks," he said.
"There is a brand new roof on the old hotel itself. We have fixed up a few water leaks so we can start renovating a few rooms upstairs as well.
"There were a lot of leaks in the roof, it was quite surprising Cyclone Marcia didn't take it away."
From the outside, Colin said the Great Western Hotel would be unrecognisable.
"The original old pub is getting a paint job and it's going to be a bit of a shock to everybody," Colin said.
"The colour is actually going to go back to the original colours from back in the old O'Hanlon days.
"That is basically opposite to the way it has been, instead of being red with cream trim, it will be cream with a red trim."
The venue itself isn't the only thing getting an overhaul with Colin revealing a new menu could be on the way.
"The kitchen is getting an overhaul. We will be getting into some smoked meat, some Tex Mex, grill and BBQ kind of stuff. The Great Western is famous for it's steaks so we'll continue that and push the BBQ side of things with some Texas smoked meats," he said.
"We are hiring a new chef. We are also looking for wait staff and bar staff so are accepting all resumes, comes and drop them in."
Locals can get their first glimpse at the new-look Great Western when they reopen on January 24 before the first rodeo of the year on January 28th
Fittingly, popular Rockhampton band Busby Marou will be the first act to test out the new entertainment precinct when they perform on February 18 to launch their new album, Postcards From the Shell House, featuring single Getaway Car.
Great Western Hotel has also secured international performers Jackass for February 24 as part of their Filthy Seppo Australian Tour.
And with more major, renowned performers to be announced as early as tomorrowColin urged the community to get behind the acts and buy tickets before they sell out.
"Hopefully the people of Rocky come out and support us and that will get the touring promoters. If you want the big concerts you have to come down and support them," he said.