5 things to know about BIGSOUND

Townsville band King Social performing at BIGSOUND 2016. Artist applications to perform at this year's event will remain open until 21 May. IMAGE Angelandevil Photography

This September, the annual BIGSOUND Festival will return to Brisbane, held in conjunction with the BIGSOUND Industry Conference. The four-day music event is the largest of its kind in Australia – and possibly the Southern Hemisphere.

While many Townsville musos have coughed up the cash to check out the Industry Conference in the past, only a small number of locals have performed on the BIGSOUND stages. Performer applications have been extended, not closing until midnight on 21 May. Yesterday’s Industry speaker announcement including Tina Arena and Archie Roach is just the tip of the iceberg – these are some of the reasons you should apply.

1. Join the hall of fame.
Performing at BIGSOUND means you’ll be signing your name on a roster that over the years has included Flume, Seth Sentry, Tash Sultana, San Cisco and Boy & Bear. You never know which acts will be announced to perform on the same line-up as you, and may just make friends with the next breakout act – unless you are the next breakout act.

2. Meet your maker … or manager.
Perhaps the best part about the Festival is its integration with the Industry Conference: meaning that some of the most important and influential people in the Australian and International music industry could watch your show. This is your chance to sign to a label, find a manager or even new band members. Also, just in case you missed it the first time ’round: the first speakers at the Industry Conference have been announced. Archie Roach, Tina Arena, Bandcamp’s Andrew Jervis, Vevo’s James Moodie and Quentin Tarantino’s Music Supervisor, Mary Ramos, are reason enough to attend.

3. Cough up.
One important point to note is that if you’re successful in applying, you don’t score an all-expenses-paid trip to Brisbane: you’ll have to fork out the plane tickets and accommodation, however should definitely apply for financial support from funding bodies (find Council cultural grant information here!). You really want to look at the Festival as an investment: each successful act gets given one pass to the Industry Conference, so you’ll learn how best to market yourself and understand what the big-wigs in the music industry are looking for. There’s nothing stopping you from staying on after the Festival and performing your own show to earn a few bucks, either – get your Brisbane muso pals together and earn your flight costs back!

4. Cash in.
This is the first year that BIGSOUND has been able to offer the $25,000 Levi’s® Music Prize, and the best news is that there’s four of these $25K grants awarded per year! The first recipient of $25,000 will be announced on the last day of this year’s Festival, and will be one of the acts that performs in 2017. The remaining three grants will be announced once a quarter after the Festival, and could be awarded to any artist that has performed at BIGSOUND since 2013 – the judging panel is looking for artists with big opportunities to pave the way in the next stage of their career!

5. Get known.
BIGSOUND doesn’t just attract musicians and industry professionals, but the eyes of the media also focus on Brisbane for the Festival: they all want to be the ones to ‘discover’ the next big thing. From newspapers to radio and TV, media coverage of BIGSOUND hits an international audience of almost 25 million people each year. Any number of those people could love your sound, and could be the launching pad for completely new fan bases.

The 2017 BIGSOUND Festival and Industry Conference will be held from 5-8 September in the best live music venues around Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Artist applications close at midnight on Sunday, 21 May, and can be accessed here.


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