Helping celebrate 30 years at The Rails is regular performer Chris Aronsten (front) with the extended Mooney family, (from left) Luke and Benita with children Oscar and Sam, Tom and Cath, Hannah and Mike Spalding with baby Olive. At right is manager Whitney Woods.
Helping celebrate 30 years at The Rails is regular performer Chris Aronsten (front) with the extended Mooney family, (from left) Luke and Benita with children Oscar and Sam, Tom and Cath, Hannah and Mike Spalding with baby Olive. At right is manager Whitney Woods. Kate O’Neill

The Rails celebrating 30 years

ON any given night in Byron Bay there's one thing you can be sure of - live music at The Rails.

Seven nights a week for the past three decades, the little pub by the railway station hasn't missed a beat.

From the up-and-coming local acts to the likes of The Whitlams, The Waifs, John Butler and The Cruel Sea, it's become Byron's live-music hub.

It was owner and former rugby league great Tom Mooney who kicked it all off when he and wife Cath took over the pub on December 20, 1981.

"We had to do something different, and we did it with music," Mr Mooney said.

This month marks 30 years since the Mooneys took over the pub and to celebrate there will be a huge night of live music on December 20.

Performers will include regular of 30 years, Chris Aronsten, Tres Hombres as well as a special mystery guest.

Mr Mooney said the live music, like the decor, was a constant at The Rails.

"It hasn't changed much and it won't change much," he said.

It's now become a sought-after venue, but Mr Mooney said the focus remained on supporting local and emerging musicians.

It was the live music, a diverse crowd, good pub grub and its unpretentious atmosphere that made The Rails a local favourite, he said.

"It's become a musical, cultural and social icon of the North Coast, without trying too much."



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