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BIGSOUND 2012. Fortitude Valley in Brisbane was filled with music lovers not only from Australia but Canada, America and various other countries that attended Q Music’s ‘BIGSOUND’ Conference.

Starting 10am Wednesday 12th September and ending Friday the 14th, delegates (industry professionals, musicians, media and others) were kept busy with live music, panels, one-on-one sessions, and keynotes with additional lunch breaks and after parties to network, have a drink and enjoy.

The conference begun with a keynote from legendary musician Steve Earl, which was followed by various panels, in which delegates had the option of going to throughout the day.

Steve spoke about growing up in Texas and working and negotiating deals as a writer in Nashville with the idea of “being responsible for your own art”. He discussed his music; albums and the highlight of having Bob Dylan cover one of the songs. With Dylan, politics plays a part in his music and Steve went on to discuss the fusion of music and politics discussing his future project working in Jerusalem, Israel, on some new music.

Other keynote speakers were Mark Poston (EMI) on the Thursday, and musicians Claire Bowditch, David Bridie, Ian Haug, and Ben Lee on the Friday. Each had a story to tell of where they came from, where they are today, and what inspired them to want to work in the music industry as either a musician or head of a major company.

Poston started working in a record store, and pushed the fact that you need to use your contacts, get yourself known and ‘make your own luck’ – saying, “Surround yourself with people smarter than you and listen; even if they have different perspectives”.

Something could be taken from any, if not all the speakers over those three days – be that the idea of coming and starting with nothing, helping others through music and programs, doing what you love not for the money and keeping your eyes open to any opportunity that may be presented to you.

Although difficult to attend every panel, the ones I was fortunate enough to attend were filled with industry professionals from around the world, varying in age, experience, and profession.

The panels discussed topics such as ‘Records That Matter’; ‘Live Music Globally’ which brought awareness to niche festivals and the new festival model focusing on a theme not a headlining act; ‘Great Songs that Make the Emotional Connection’ where Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to Know’ couldn’t NOT be discussed; ‘Canadian Cousins – breaking a new territory’, ‘State of Independence’, ‘Making the Most of your Debut Recording’ hearing from successful producers and A&R representatives; and various other marketing, mobile, digital, international and genre focused panels and sessions.

The panelists delivered words of wisdom, opinions, stories and advice on their specific roles, and answered questions from delegates about getting a foot in the door, or dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the music industry today on a whole.

In ‘Getting Back to our Roots’ Director of Bluesfest Peter Noble said ‘Don’t become a roots artist; become an artist” which was furthered by the point of ‘sing in your own accent’, which to any musician should be the golden rule – be yourself. This panel also discussed Americana music verse roots music being based on ‘place not genre’ and ‘an emotion and identification’ which was sure to leave delegates thinking and forming opinions of their own.

A big part of BIGSOUND, as its name suggests are the ‘big sounds’ heard over the few days in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. A full list of bands and performers can be accessed on ‘http://www.qmusic.com.au/bigsound/2012’ but there were some standouts who packed full some of the Valley’s venues.

A highlight would have to be ‘The Beards’ who got the crowd involved, had people laughing, and holding out til midnight to hear them finish their set of songs all about, well…beards! Claire Bowditch, Bankrupt Billionaires, Electric Empire, Runforyourlife, Seth Sentry, Rufus, The Aston Shuffle, The Trouble With Templeton, and Winter People (who I was fortunate enough to see a private show from) are just some of the 120 acts showcasing a range of genre, age, and talent from around Australia.

Michael Chugg also hosted a lunch on the Thursday in which he showcased three of his new acts, and the final act ‘Sheppard’ who I was just in time to see impressed on every level – performance, crowd involvement, vocals, and a unique sound.

No doubt, the three-day conference is a one-off experience for those wanting to get into the music industry, or those in the industry wanting to network, and learn more and experience new talent. The opportunities are unmatchable at conferences such as BIGSOUND if you make the most of your time there, and in 2013, I can only imagine it being bigger and better, and not to be missed.





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