Festivals get Federal funding, summer radio spike + more: our latest wrap-up of Australian music industry news
06.01.2021

Festivals get Federal funding, summer radio spike + more: our latest wrap-up of Australian music industry news

Words by Christie Eliezer

Catch up on everything you might have missed over the holiday period.

More festivals get Federal funding

Woodford Folk and Big Pineapple are among the latest festivals to gain in the Federal government’s drip-funding of its $75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

Queensland’s Woodfordia site got $1,463,300 for Woodford Folk and Bushtime, “a new arts and cultural camping experience, including immersive and interactive activities designed to entertain, teach and inspire.”

Big Pineapple received $292,000 to return in 2021 with a diversified program, including art installations and a youth mentoring program.

Getting $150,000 was Winton’s Way Out West which combines music with a classic bush experience.

Queensland Music Festival ($1,473,643) will launch its new music tourism event Queensland Music Trail. It is “a world-first music tourism platform that incentivises discovery of regional and remote Queensland piloting two initial trails (Outback and South-East Queensland) to drive significant visitation across cities and towns.”

Dark Mofo has $1 million to return this winter. When it was cancelled in March 2020, it caused a $100 million black hole in Tasmania’s economy.

Dashville (NSW) will use $36,800 towards bringing in 10 young folk from regional NSW for a mentorship program, incorporating skills development workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions and a collaborative live performance.

The Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation ($27,500) can showcase First Nations performers singing in-language on main stage of Yarrapay Festival.

Fraser Coast Tourism & Events Ltd ($49,749) gets green-lighted for Song To The Ocean, a live music installation featuring original classical music surrounded by light sculptures made during workshops informed by local Indigenous arts and culture and the region’s marine life.

Cairns Regional Council ($78,944) will at the Cairns Festival showcase Reef Lights, a laser and light projection in key areas of the Cairns CBD reflecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Festival Fleurieu received $28,380 for Light on the Cape, which brings to life the Cape Jervis Lighthouse with digital art projections and a live concert of sea shanties of the Fleurieu Coast.

The $40,100 for Castlemaine State Festival allows it to celebrate songs and stories of Sudan’s civil war on opening night.

LaTrobe City Council ($45,000) will get local community choirs, concert bands and orchestras for the opening of its new performing arts centre.

Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance Inc. ($7,500) stages Elements of Sound with song writing and musical performances based on environmental sustainability and climate change and workshops with primary schools to educate children about the region’s First Nation’s past.

Perth’s Mellen Events got $481,445 for Eireborne, a rock and dance stage show celebrating Ireland’s music.

Radio listening report for summer 

Commercial radio commissioned a fourth summer listening survey to examine how consumers have changed in how they engage with media and radio over the holiday season.

The last survey, released in January 2020, found 94% of listeners see radio as a great source of information during summer, and 74% turn to it during an emergency. Over 80% switch on radio the same amount or more, almost three in four are more likely to listen to media than watch it.

Listeners aged 10-24 are the most engaged in summer, as 82% are more likely to listen to media than watch it and one in five state that they listen to more radio during that time.

The future of live-streaming in 2021

Ticketing platform Eventbrite’s Inside Look report found the future is a hybrid of virtual and physical festivals. Across Australia, more than half (58%) of respondents said they’d attend both formats in the future. 66% of those who stopped hosting physical events because of the pandemic plan to restart, 89% of these in 2021 itself, 85% of them looking at hybrid events, and 96% convinced they can be COVID-Safe.

During the lock-in, 66% of Australians surveyed found online events helped them pick up new skills /hobbies while 78% enjoyed attending virtual events in other countries without the need to travel. Gen Z’s were almost twice as likely (19%) to take up a hobby because they were lonely compared to those aged 35 and up (11%). Men (19%) were more likely to have picked up new hobbies than women (15%) because they felt pressured to be productive.

Tones goes mon(k)ey dancing

Those mon(k)ey dancing royalties have been flowing in for former campervan and hostel resident Toni Watson (aka Tones and I). The Sunday Telegraph’s real estate section reported she shelled out $3.3 million on a double property outside Byron Bay, Sky Lodge and Starr Cottage in the same 1000sqm holding. This follows a purchase for $5.1 million on a five-bedroom pile of bricks in Mt Eliza, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, near Rosebud where she was born.

AIM talks the talk

The next series of Australian Institute of Music (AIM)’s Industry Insights talk series has EMI managing director John O’Donnell (Feb 2), Regan Lethbridge, manager of Tones and I and Tash Sultana (Feb 9), BMG MD Heath Johns (Feb 23), Brag Media MD Poppy Reid (March 2) and Paul Saintilan, author of Musicians and Addiction and Music Australia CEO (March 23).

New to the scene 

Tasmania’s Mona got funding for a recording studio to serve the Tasmanian arts, entertainment and tourism sectors.

Plans are afoot for a country music festival in Darwin in winter, staged in Karama to bring back community spirit to the crime-ridden suburb.

The people behind Adelaide’s Cry Baby are opening two bars in the West End’s Gilbert Place on February 1: country and western saloon Shotgun Willie’s on the ground level, and Memphis Slim’s House of Blues in the basement. The venues will boast different entrances, but will feature shared kitchens and toilets.

The new owners of 201 Liverpool St in Hobart, one time home of LGBTQIA+ Flamingos Dance Bar which closed in October, intend to open it as a nightclub with emphasis on safety.  

Songwriting workshops

The Australian Songwriters Conference in June has workshops in the run-up. For the ASC Sydney Circle, Naomi Crain (January 18) presents ‘Songwriting From The Body’ on enriching the writing process by connecting more deeply to our five senses, and exploring the ‘sixth songwriting sense’, kinetic sensation.

The ASC Melbourne Circle will relaunch online on Monday January 25 with Karl Richter, founder of music supervision company Level Two Music and music file sharing /workflow platform Disco!. 

Demerit systems for NSW venues

From January 1, NSW venues face a demerit point system to replace ‘three strikes’. The idea is to reward well-run venues. More breaches of liquor laws lead to more penalties, including a seven day close-down if they get four demerit points in three years, or for two weeks for six demerits.

The new rules allow bars to diversify offerings to be more family-friendly, and scraps the old rule which determined what music a pub could play.

Temora Hotel in the Riverina was shut for 14 days from Dec 24 for serving a minor 20 schooners and four rum & cokes in March. The 17 year old died in a car crash on his way home.

My corona…

Police were called to a video shoot in Byron Bay by US horrorcore rapper Necro after complaints of COVID restriction breaches. A crowd larger than the 100 allowed gathered outside and on the roof of Fishheads restaurant, leaving a mess of broken bottles and destroyed property.

Morayfield music shop Guitar Exchange did a U-turn after news of a poster banning “fragile” people from wearing masks in-store received significant media attention. Social media posts criticised the stupidity of claims that masks didn’t protect wearers. As of late, the poster had been switched to the need for masks and sanitisers.

Sydney cover band Nothing Too Serious has asked the NSW government to clarify they did not cause the Sydney northern beaches outbreak. They were playing the Avalon RSL when a patron, from the US, infected two members and two others. They deny talk they went on to play further shows around Sydney NSW health minister Brad Hazzard mentioned their name at a press release, later wishing he hadn’t. Among social media posts blasting the band: “HOW DARE YOU!!!!! BECAUSE OF YOU COVIDIOTS, I CAN’T FLY TO SYDNEY TO SEE ME SISTER WHO IS FIGHTING CANCER. I HOPE KARMA GETS YOU!!!!!!!”

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