The Point Goes to BIGSOUND (#3)
Bigsound, you've done it again. You've managed to stuff 0ver 160 artists, 1300 delegates, and 47 workshops/panels/keynotes into two and half days. It's bloody outrageous, and oh so good.
My journey starts on the Wednesday morning, and as has happened the previous years, I've missed the first Keynote speech by THAT MUCH. And I'm kicking myself for it, as it was Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth talking.
Hot tip - Get down there on the Tuesday so you don't miss the early Keynote (plus there's a whole heap of pre-Bigsound parties through the Valley).
I catch up with some familiar faces out the front of the Judith Wright complex (where the workshops are held, as well as the delegate sign in), and then proceed to the Coopers Brightside Outdoor Stage... The Sunshine Coast Showcase kicks off at 12.30, and this year, I'm lucky enough to be in one of the bands showcasing.
The Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance, and the Sunshine Coast Council have hand-picked three acts from our area (as they do) that are currently 'breaking' or have had new releases this year. Basically, acts that they have noticed generating some buzz in the industry.*
*Do note, this is a different selection process to the general Bigsound, and it still involves an application process. You'll need to follow The Creative Alliance on Facebook to keep informed of this.
The Brains Trust set up the day by going first, and by god they nail it (though, to be fair, I don't think I've seen this band in poor form ever). Jess' vocals immediately grab attention, and the massive production booms through the PA.
Bearfoot head up next, and carry a bigger weight on their shoulders, as they are the only roots/reggae act to appear ANYWHERE on this Bigsound line-up this year. This performance helps to close off their TRiBE EP tour, so they execute their 20-minute slot smoothly. There's heads nodding, and delegates moving their feet, which isn't an easy thing to do with a lunch-time showcase.
Dream Thieves close the showcase, representing AND bringing the rock. Their 3-guitar approach to their sound could have them easily placed in the 90s, with a blend of grunge and surf-rock. I may be alone in thinking this, but at one point during the set, I swear they were channeling The Church.
Sunshine Coast, you were well represented (again), and there were definitely delegates paying strong attention. There'll be increasing focus on what the Coast scene is doing in the coming year, just you watch.
Being an artist and a delegate this year, I get to experience something I haven't before. The Artist Green Room, which is located at the Brunswick and Anne pub. Free food. Free beer (until a certain time). Free massages. Free... stuff! It was a welcome little retreat, and a very cool place to have a post-gig come down. For those that get to play next year, keep this little room in the back of your mind.
Wednesday has become a write-off for me to go see any workshops, so a band of Coast locals get together and explore the showcases on offer. This is the part where I'll leave you to your imagination. Best to explore this part by yourself next year.
And then comes Thursday...
You never get to see such a collection of self-inflicted sore heads in one place, quite like Bigsound. It'd be even more amusing if I wasn't part of that collective. However, a coffee later, and I'm good to go into work mode.
I make it to the first Keynote for the day, featuring Peanut Butter Wolf & J-Rocc (both from legendary label Stones Throw Records - if you're into your hip hop and slightly off-skew stuff, you know what's up). They go through the history of the label, how it was formed, the artists they have carried (and back stories) - all stuff I find interesting, having started up a small label myself.
A quick stretch of the legs, and then into the A & R meets Marketing workshop. Again benefiting me due to the before mentioned. It was interesting to get perspective from representatives from labels from the US, UK and here, and their thoughts on the future of music delivery to the consumer (hint, streaming isn't going anywhere anytime soon).
At this point, it was time for a midday beer, and catch-ups, followed by heading to Ric's Backyard for another showcase, with our Andrea Kirwin playing solo for a set. There's no great need to go into detail here, because we all know Andrea's smooth vocals and silky soulful tunes are freaking amazing (and if you haven't seen her yet, she plays all over the Coast, so make the time to do it).
A nice little break, and it's back to work. I head to the Touring UK & Europe workshop. Though interesting, it's not as informative as I was hoping, but still taking away that the most imperative aspect of organising a tour in the UK & Europe is to get involved with an agency (kind of new this, but there were some further tidbits of information handed out through this panel).
The final workshop of the day for myself, is the Advanced Management workshop, with speakers from labels/artist management such as Unified, Future Classic, Spinning Top etc. Given that I manage a band as well, this was insightful, and probably my favourite workshop so far. Artist management isn't easy, but when you have their best intentions at heart, set the story, and have a strategy in place, you can make some cool shit happen.
I head back to the hotel after the final panel, for a much-needed nap. All re-charged, it's off to the official after-parties. I check out Olympia, (Unearthed High Winner) Tia Gostelow, Gawurra, Dorsal Fins, before heading to the Crowbar for a dose of heavy goodness from Circles, and ex-Coasters, Sydonia. It was brutal, loud, chunky, and so damn good.
Once again, I can't stress how beneficial Bigsound is to those of us in the industry - whether performer, management, label, venue etc - and if you've never been to one, then mark down this time next year in your calendar, and get yourself a delegate's pass nice and early (QMusic members get discounts too).
A huge thank you to The Creative Alliance, Sunshine Coast Council, QMusic, and our Coast artists.