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News June 10, 2024

AWMAs’ Vicki Gordon Warns Music Industry’s Push for Progress Is ‘Going Backwards’

AWMAs’ Vicki Gordon Warns Music Industry’s Push for Progress Is ‘Going Backwards’

Years of advocacy and action for an equitable music industry is losing traction, and the hard yards won are at risk of being lost.

That’s the warning from Vicki Gordon, founding executive producer and program director of the Australian Women In Music Awards and Conference, who used the platform of Oztix’ Queensland Day function last Thursday (June 6) to present a strong case.

“With very little resources,” she says of AWMA, “we have successfully built an alternate platform and been a visible and clear model of the behavioural change needed across the sector I have had a long career in music and a long career trying to create change and sadly in 2024; we appear to be going backwards.”

Gordon and her colleagues are “very concerned about music festival line ups being dominated sometimes entirely by male artists, male musicians, male techs and male lead bands,” she continues, and pointed to the male-dominated 2024 APRA Music Awards as “very alarming.”

The “playing field for women and creative minorities remains vastly inequitable, little change has occurred and we now find ourselves at a critical juncture,” Gordon explains.

The roll-on effect “is reflected in the absence of women performing on stage, working as operators and designers in front of house audio and lighting, as mixing engineers and in other technical areas, back stage as stage managers, roadies, behind the scenes and more.”

Gordon, who was hand to receive from Oztix the “Industry Trailblazer” award for her tireless work in the industry, also announced the completion of a three-year partnership to keep AWMA in Brisbane.

“My aim, through AWMA,” she told guests at Oztix’s headquarters in Meanjin/Brisbane, which included reps from government, tourism, events and more, “is to leave a lasting legacy of inspiration for future generations and by working together I believe we will do just that.”

And that necessary change, she insists, can only happen with the support of men from across the industry.

Oztix saluted Gordon and several long-standing members of the team as part of the annual Qld Day festivities, presented at the independent ticketing leader’s headquarters. Oztix managing director and co-founder Stuart Field used the occasion to share an update on the business he and Brian “Smash” Chladil started 20 years ago; the hurdles facing the live industry with discretionary spend and other factors; and teased a forthcoming DIY feature for grassroots businesses.

Nominations are now closed for the 2024 Australian Women in Music Awards, set for Wednesday, Oct. 2, capping a two-day celebration of the achievements of First Nations and culturally diverse women.

Vicki Gordon

Read Gordon’s speech in full below.

I would like to start by acknowledging OZTIX and the extraordinary support they have provided to AWMA over the past couple of years.

In today’s volatile live music events landscape, it has never been more important for the industry to support an Australian owned and operated ticketing agency and my heartfelt thanks go to Erin, Kristen, Seth, Stu and Smash.

Brisbane has always been a leader in music, my Australian music career started here performing in a women’s punk band called SPIT in the evening and working at a women’s rape crises centre in West End during the day. AWMA was established in Brisbane in 2018 in response to the chronic gender inequality across all areas of the Australian music industry.

With very little resources we have successfully built an alternate platform and been a visible and clear model of the behavioural change needed across the sector I have had a long career in music and a long career trying to create change and sadly in 2024 ; we appear to be going backwards.

We are very concerned about music festival line ups being dominated sometimes entirely by male artists, male musicians, male techs and male lead bands and more recently the male dominated APRA AMCOS award ceremony held in Sydney which was very alarming.

The playing field for women and creative minorities remains vastly inequitable, little change has occurred and we now find ourselves at a critical juncture.

The roll on effect is reflected in the absence of women performing on stage, working as operators and designers in front of house audio and lighting, as mixing engineers and in other technical areas, back stage as stage managers, roadies, behind the scenes and more. I want to congratulate Brisbane and acknowledge the Qld Government for their vision and foresight and their sincere commitment to gender equality.

It was Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk, Minister Fentiman and Minister Enoch who listened and supported me when no one else would talk with me and I am delighted to announce we have recently secured an additional 3 year partnership to keep AWMA in Brisbane. And to all the men in the room who may be wondering what their role is and may even be feeling a little insecure, please know that we want to work with you, we simply cannot make the change which needs to happen without your support.

My aim, through AWMA, is to leave a lasting legacy of inspiration for future generations and by working together I believe we will do just that.

Thank-you.


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