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BIGSOUND POWERS FORWARD WITH ESSENTIAL 2020 MUSIC GATHERING

BIGSOUND 2020 will entertain, inform and inspire music industry participants to rebuild and re-emerge from the COVID crisis. It will address the needs of First Nations artists and music industry workers as part of the national recovery process and offer industry a place to reconnect and look towards a new era of productivity and growth.

BIGSOUND 2020 will showcase emerging artists and put them within arm’s reach of national decision-makers, new audiences and open digital doors for international business.

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BIGSOUND is pleased to announce that it will proceed in 2020 with a revised program of conference, live music and parties, ensuring that its long-standing role of providing forward thinking, listening, learning, discovering and most importantly industry connection for the music community, is not lost due to COVID-19. 

The event will still occur in its spiritual home, the Fortitude Valley live music precinct, while fully respecting social distancing and safety protocols with a condensed program of conferences, workshops, facilitated conversations, live festival showcases, secret shows and official parties across two days and two nights across Wednesday 21 October and Thursday 22 October 2020.

Artist live showcase applications are open today. Due to the event being condensed in size and capacity, there will be no artist application fees this year.

The BIGSOUND’s live showcase program will take place at over 10 of the Valley’s best live music venues, while the conference will welcome key stakeholder groups from across Australia in what will be the first major meeting of industry since COVID-19 closed our doors in mid-March.

“BIGSOUND has been the leader of conversation and discovery in the Australian music industry for over 18 years and this year we will be forging ahead with a recovery-focussed festival,” said QMusic CEO Angela Samut. 

“With the culture of our industry under threat from COVID-19, our industrial culture under scrutiny as we face head-on the structural inequities for women, LGBTQI+ and First Nations people, and our culture as a nation under the spotlight as global trends put even more pressure on local artists and local stories, never has it been more essential for BIGSOUND to proceed and succeed.”

The 2020 event welcomes Janne Scott taking on the role of Creative Director. Ms Scott is the previous head of the BIGSOUND Visual Arts Program and retains her role as the Splendour In The Grass Senior Creative Manager.

Having programmed the acclaimed BIGSOUND First Nations programs in 2018 and 2019, Alethea Beetson returns as First Nations Producer and Programmer and is working across the entire BIGSOUND program and BIGSOUND event.

Dominic Miller and Ruby-Jean McCabe come on as Festival Co-Programmers, bringing with them years of industry experience across various roles, including managers, agents, festival programmers and venue bookers, and are the perfect duo to take on BIGSOUND Festival this year

With the impacts of COVID-19 and no international buyers able to travel to Brisbane, Maggie Collins will not be returning in 2020. We also acknowledge the work of conference programmer Tom Larkin and BIGTECH programmer David Grice, and Festival Programmers Tim Shiel and Melody Forghani for their huge contributions to BIGSOUND.

BIGTECH will also be on hiatus this year, but will return in 2021.

BIGSOUND Festival is back, albeit in a COVID-safe way. All necessary safety, restrictions, and concerns will be implemented across all spaces during the event. Queensland is leading the East Coast for venue re-openings and we are confident that we will be the best place to see live music this October, and are excited to provide the opportunity for the Australia’s best and brightest upcoming new artists to continue to come together and showcase their talents across the Fortitude Valley Live Music Precinct.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said today’s confirmation of BIGSOUND 2020 sent a positive message that Queensland’s music industry was getting back to business.

“The Palaszczuk Government has provided dedicated support to the music industry as part of our plan for economic recovery and creating jobs in the arts sector,” Minister Enoch said.

“Beyond our ongoing long-term investment in QMusic, the Queensland Government has implemented more than $42.5 million worth of relief measures to the arts through COVID-19. This includes a recently announced $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package offering funding specifically for the live music industry to assist venues to reopen and employ musicians.

“The reactivation of Queensland’s live music industry is highly anticipated and I am confident that BIGSOUND will play a central role in Queensland’s plan for recovery.”

Kirsty Rivers, Head of Music for the Australia Council for the Arts, said: “Our musicians are Australia’s storytellers along with our artists, writers, actors and designers.

Music strengthens our economy but just as importantly, it deepens our connections with our First Nations and other nations and cultures.  The Australia Council is proud to once again partner in 2020 with BIGSOUND to accelerate and re-ignite the careers of Australia’s best and brightest industry and artists.”

BIGSOUND acknowledges that at this time, Victorian artists are not able to travel to Queensland and although this is expected to change, due to the fluid nature of the situation and the majority of travel possibilities difficult to predict, we encourage all artists to apply and if they cannot attend there will be contingencies in place to create opportunities for participation remotely.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said events like BIGSOUND would play an important role in the state’s economic recovery. “Major events like this pump millions of dollars into the local economy and support local jobs,” Ms Jones said.

“Because Queenslanders have done such a great job fighting COVID-19, we can now start welcoming tourists back to our state. This festival will deliver a great boost for local businesses at a time when everyone is doing it tough. It’s great news for the industry.

“It has been an incredibly difficult year, but thanks to the efforts of the Queensland people, we have moved forward to our stage three easing of restrictions and will soon be reopening our borders to most Australians. With restrictions easing and the recent development of a COVID Safe Events framework, we’re starting to rebuild and recover.” 

Pre-sale registration for delegate pass sales open 9.00am Wednesday 29 July. Join the BIGSOUND mailing list to access this pre-sale opportunity.

Early-bird delegate pass sales open 9.00am Monday 3 August. Artist applications open now at www.bigsound.org.au.

Due to social distancing requirements, numbers this year are limited, so be quick to ensure you are part of what will be a well-deserved and long-awaited celebration of our vibrant and talented music community, as well as a historical moment of reflection, re-grouping, and re-setting for the industry. 

BIGSOUND thanks the support of its major partners: Australia Council for the Arts, Queensland Government, Triple J and Oztix. BIGSOUND is produced by QMusic.