Features December 6, 2018

Final names added for tonight’s National Live Music Awards; TMN speaks to founder Larry Heath

Final names added for tonight’s National Live Music Awards; TMN speaks to founder Larry Heath

The 2018 National Live Music Awards – now in their third year – were still making additions as they prepare to stage tonight in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Wollongong, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin and Melbourne.

The gala at Brisbane’s Triffid club sees, Katie Noonan joining Timothy James Bowen on stage.

As announced earlier, Magic Dirt will be honoured with the inaugural Live Legends gong.

Dykes on Mics, Branko Cosic (TAPE/OFF), photographer Matt Walter and Kellie Lloyd (Screamfeeder) are added as presenters in Brisbane.

In Adelaide, singer-songwriter Mary Webb is added to the lineup, while Radio Adelaide’s Tom Mann takes on hosting duties.

In Wollongong, local rising stars Scab Baby (“psych surf garage sludge punk with two toms”) will open the show, while comedian Marty Bright will compere the night.

Musician RachelRachel will host in Darwin, Sam Sheridan in Hobart, and Chris Endry in Canberra.

The full list is downloaded at nlmas.com.au/programs and get their hands on tickets here: nlmas.oztix.com.au, except for the Perth event which is door sales only.

The Music Network is the national media partner.

The state and territory media partners are 4ZZZ (QLD), RTR FM (WA), Edge Radio (TAS), 2SER (NSW), Foldback Magazine (NT), SYN Media (VIC) and Radio Adelaide (SA).

Here we speak to NLMA founder Larry Heath.


Q: How have the live awards changed this year, is there a special focus on any aspect of the sector?

A: “In addition to the new awards for Live Photographer of the Year and the induction of Magic Dirt, the biggest change is the move to recognise all ages achievements at every event around the country.

“Those who make all ages events happen really are the unsung heroes of our industry.

“They face more red tape than anyone else, yet the events are imperative to not just fostering the next generation of talent, but providing kids with a safe environment to enjoy life.

“The presence of an all ages community is also key to ensuring ‘drugs and alcohol consumption’ and ‘live music’ can exist without one or the other, by establishing music in spaces that don’t provide or facilitate those activities.

“Government needs to be doing more to faciltate these events, ensuring the red tape –  some of which is very important— – doesn’t keep people from making it happen, or make it too cost prohibitive.”

Q: Which aspects of the growth of the Australian live music sector excites you the most?

A: “It’s the international recognition the industry is getting now – led majorly by our 2016 NLMA recipients Sounds Australia.

“To say the work they’re doing is invaluable is an understatement.

“We’ve never had more Aussie bands successfully touring the globe –  and it’s all thanks to the resources that have been made available to them that weren’t there 10 years ago.

“There are now clear opportunities and pathways for artists to follow on the international stage, and it’s incredible to see them flourish because of it.”

Q: Is it significant that venues, promoters and artists are using social media more effectively than ever to market themselves?

A: “Definitely. Especially the ones who want a global following.

“As much as the NLMAs is insular in how it considers its nominations (with the exception of our two international achievement categories), the opportunities in Australia will only get an act so far.

“As for venues, they need to be playing the same game; venues like the Horseshoe Tavern or Lee’s Palace in Toronto, the Roundhouse in London, Piano’s in NYC and even Oxford Art Factory here in Sydney, don’t become cemented spots on a touring schedule by just promoting themselves locally.

“Venues should want bands to think of no one but themselves when they come to their town.

“The best venues should become tourist attractions in their own right.”

Q: What role do the NLMAs play in presenting a snapshot of the live music sector?

A: “The key to making these awards work –  and naturally it’s the part that makes them such a large undertaking –  is the fact that we have the whole country engaging across eight simultaneous events, with localised awards helping recognise talent that may not yet be breaking into the national stage.

“You’ll see some state/territory winners from last year are nominated in national categories this year, like SA’s Electric Fields.

“So while each individual event captures a snapshot of the local scene, nationally we can visibly see the growth of artists from local heroes to national touring superstars.

“ I think the longer this event goes on for, the more these trends will become evident.

“We certainly hope the awards do their part in spreading the good word of the great acts nominated, too.”

Q: I’m assuming that the choice of Magic Dirt as the inaugural Live Legends recipient was accompanied by some robust debates! Why did Magic Dirt tick off the right boxes?

A:  “We’ll have to leave some mystery to the decision making here, and indeed the debates with judges and the board were robust.

“But Magic Dirt were a unanimous favourite from the early stages of the conversation.

“Obviously the fact that they are getting back on the road for the first time since their Big Day Out shows in 2010 played a big part in that.

“But really we wanted to start the Live Legends inductions with an act who were still relevant, still creating music under various guises (most notably Adalita’s solo material), and not be the ‘obvious choice’.

“They had to be creating music for more than 25 years, and by calling the awards the Live Legends it’s not just indicating their status as some of the most idolised musicians on the Australian touring circuit, but that they continue to live and breathe live music.

“Few are more emblematic of that, or more loved – especially by fellow musicians, not just to mention the fans – than Magic Dirt. It’s a true honour to induct them as Live Legends.”

Q: How many other acts were in the running for Live Legends, as a matter of interest?

A: “We had a shortlist of five, though Magic Dirt sat very comfortably at the top.

“The artist sitting below them, however, we intend to induct next year.”


The performance can be viewed live on Netgigs, Facebook or at nlmas.com.au.

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