Fortitude Valley, QLD
September 5-8, 2017 :
Last week saw the 16th annual Bigsound Music Conference take over Fortitude Valley in Queensland.
The biggest conference of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Bigsound runs over 4 days and nights and sees a gathering of musicians, media outlets, industry leaders and brands from around the world. Last year the festival brought in nearly $4m to the local economy and this year’s festival was even bigger.
During the day Bigsound consists of a wide range of conferences and presentations on subjects including touring, distribution, finance and laws surrounding music as well as topics such as mental health, gender, drug culture and race in the industry. There were A&R talent scouts, radio presenters and executives from ARIA and APRA AMCOS. While seeing the bands at night is the draw card for most people, the information and education that comes from these conferences is invaluable. It is impossible not to be better off as a musician after attending this festival if you take full advantage. If anything, this article should inspire you to learn more about Bigsound and the impact it has on the industry. It should inspire musicians to start looking at who’s making it and why. Forget genres, this is the reflection of the entire industry.
Another aspect of Bigsound 2017 was the heavy focus on technology with a showcase of ten music technology companies at Cloudland on the Wednesday, featuring brands like MuzeRoom, Prysim, Royalty Tracks and Audera. CMI Music and Audio hosted a daily lab for Abelton and not surprisingly there were a significant number of attendees to the lab taking advantage of the knowledge and tips passed on by the extremely knowledgeable CMI reps.
As a testament to the effects of what can happen after appearing at Bigsound, some acts who exploded from previous years include Flume, The Dune Rats, Violent Soho and Courtney Barnett. This year over 135 bands took to the stage across 18 of Brisbane’s finest venues, showcasing new and noteworthy talent from all genres of music. I highly recommend you check out as many of the bands involved as you can, there was such an incredible amount of talent and that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. Throughout the festival Bigsound Buzz used social media to keep track of the most talked about artists which is worth a look (http://www.bigsound.buzz/). A short-list of noteworthy acts on the Buzz-O-Meter over the festival includes Osaka Punch, Alex The Astronaut, Clowns, Polaris, Sløtface, Introvert, Didirri, Cub Sport and Caiti Baker.
As an added incentive for musicians, it was announced that over the next four years a massive prize of $25k per year and a whole package of career boosting opportunities would be awarded to a band or solo artist. The Levi’s® Music Prize is run by Levi’s® in conjunction with QMusic and Sounds Australia and is the biggest prize pool in Australian Music.
The deserved winner for 2017 was Perth-based pop starlet Stella Donnelly who took to social media for her acceptance speech; “I just want to say thank you so so much to Levi’s and BIGSOUND for rewarding me with this amazing prize. This week has been a real testament to women in music and I want to say thank you to (Triple J Unearthed Presenter and Bigsound Programmer) Maggie Collins for her thoughtful programming and constant support for diversity in our industry. I accept this award humbly and I want to acknowledge my privilege as a white Australian and the opportunities that have come my way as a result of this privilege. I think the Australian music industry has a long way to go but it’s an honour to accept this award on behalf of women working in music”.
A massive congratulations goes to the organizers of this event. It is huge for Brisbane, huge for Aussie music, and huge for the global industry as well. Bigsound has again proven itself to be the most important opportunity on the Aussie calendar for people in every facet of music; artists, media, PR, A&R, tech-leaders and mentors offering support and advice on a variety of social issues.
If you’re serious about your music, or any other part of the industry you’re involved in, attending Bigsound is probably the greatest experience you’ll have.
Reviewer and Photographer : Jeremy Edwards