Rocky icon’s new business venture with The Goat
ROCKY music icon Jeremy Marou has a new business venture - as co-owner of The Goat Bar and Café.
He and friend Jamie Boon have bought shares in the business and together they have big plans to make it the next Tivoli, similar to the popular music venue in Brisbane.
The pair have been friends for years after originally meeting at a corporate golf day.
The opportunity to acquire shares in The Goat came up as one of the owners decided to move on and, after a year of talking about it, the timing worked out.
The business is now owned by four equal partners.
It's still a bit surreal for Jeremy who laughed that if you had asked him five years ago if he would own a pub, he would have said 'not a chance'.
"It's every man's dream to have their own pub," he said.
"It is pretty exciting.
"Just to say I have a little spot I can call mine, sitting right in the heartland of town, bring my live music in, pour a beer from time to time... it's really special.
"We have some directions to take the place."
Jeremy plans to use his "music expertise" to transform the upstairs dancefloor into more of a live music venue.
"Rockhampton misses out on a lot of touring acts because there is no space," he said.
"The Great Western is gone but other than that there is no actual place you can go and watch live music, upstairs here is perfect for that.
"We're going to invest in making that room look really nice, get some nice production in there."
The building as a whole was established in 1866 as John McGregor's Union Hotel, later becoming The Union Hotel Music Hall for 20 years before it was the Theatre Royal.
What is now the Corner Bar, was the Union Hotel until 1987 before it became the Union Tavern.
Jamie wants to see the building go back to its roots as a music venue.
"It makes sense to us to go back to what the building was about," he said.
"Those type of events are difficult to run at the moment but as restrictions roll back hopefully, we will explore what we can do on a larger scale."
Jeremy has already been talking with booking agents from around Australia and is looking to get acts touring the east coast to put The Goat on their list.
He said the venue could attract the likes of Thirsty Merc, Kasey Chambers and Pete Murray.
"It is set up perfectly," he said.
"You look at the venues in Brisbane, the Tivoli or the Triffid, in my opinion it's a mini Tivoli.
"It's got the stage, beautiful spot to stand and watch, mezzanine up the top, it really is ideal.
"Once the production is set up there nicely, we can fit, pre-COVID, 600 people."
A true Rocky born and bred boy, Jeremy has had many hangovers from nights out at The Goat building in his younger days.
He has memories of getting kicked out of the upstairs area when it was Strutters and enjoyed many karaoke nights in the Jungle Bar downstairs.
"I've seen this venue grow from changing over from hand to hand," he said.
Jeremy said one of the good things COVID-19 had done was give people time to sit down and reflect.
He has personally spent the past six months at home with family in Rocky.
"It's been really nice," he said.
"I have been reflecting on how lucky our careers have been."
Jeremy is a true ambassador for the region and despite his booming career, he and his family still live in town with his kids attending Parkhurst State School and The Cathedral College.
"A lot of people move out of town, I just have a love for Rocky," he said.
"I love the location, the Fitzroy River, the Keppel islands on the Capricorn Coast.
"I will probably die here to be honest…. I have no plans of moving."
Success has come thick and fast for Jeremy, who is one half of Busby Marou.
The group's latest album, The Great Divide, attracted four Queensland Music Awards nominations.
He attributes part of their success to the support of his hometown.
"I think we have been so successful because we have never lost our regional identity," he said.
"And Rocky has really embraced us, we put on shows here we get 3,000, 4,000 people."
Jamie, who has been involved with The Goat for years when it was formerly The Giddy Goat, will become a general manager.
He also has a background with the Central Queensland Comets, now the Capras, and Rockhampton Basketball.
He said nothing operational wise will change, but it will only get better.
A new menu will be rolled out next week and will feature a favourite of Jamie's - the pulled pork burger.
"We will be exploring every opportunity to give customers a great experience, get value for their dollar and enjoy their time," he said.
The weekend nightclub will still be operating but Jamie hopes to add to it.
"There are seven nights a week, why not explore the music upstairs on any other night."
A new feature of the venue is the recently completed Speakeasy bar in the back of the café.
Busby Marou will be performing at the venue this Friday and Sunday with Mackay artist Jonte as support.
It has been 12 months since the Rocky icons last played in the Beef Capital, with the last concert for the launch of The Great Divide.
The COVIDSafe plan requires all patrons to be seated and the overall capacity is significantly reduced.
Busby Marou with special guest Jonte, The Goat Café and Bar
Friday October 2, 6.30pm
Sunday October 4, 7pm
Tickets can be found here