Industrial Strength: October 13
State arts ministers put pressure on Fifield over NPEA
State arts ministers put the pressure on new Federal Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield to rethink his views on his predecessor Senator George Brandis’ controversial National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). When he first took on his new role, Fifield took the view that the NPEA would be good for medium and smaller companies and for young talent. He also refused to commit to returning to the Australia Council the $104.7 million which Brandis took for the NPEA.
But last week’s Cultural Ministers Council meeting in Mildura, in regional Victoria, marked the first official pow-wow that Fifield had with his state counterparts. The message passed on to him was that the NPEA would actually be a disaster for smaller organisations and new creatives. The suggestions were: dump it or modify it big time.
Most vocal were South Australia’s Arts Minister Jack Snelling and Victorian Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley. Foley said that Fifield was “remarkably receptive” to comments about the NPEA.
Queensland’s Assistant Minister Sterling Hinchliffe, who represented Arts Minister and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk repeated Snelling and Foley’s concerns. He also pushed for greater “funding certainty” for arts (and music) organisations, and for subsidies for Queensland’s film and TV productions to be pushed up to 30% from 16.5%.
Significantly, the Mildura meet also gave the Australia Council’s Chair Rupert Myer and CEO Tony Grybowski to eloquently address their concerns.
Fifield said on Friday after the meet, “I will consider their comments, along with the submissions received on the draft guidelines and the senate inquiry, ahead of finalising arrangements in the coming weeks.”
Sunshine Coast readies for music industry conference
The music industry in the Sunshine Coast region and Greater South East Queensland head to Turn Up!, the second Sunshine Coast Music Industry Conference tomorrow (Wed Oct 19). The 25 speakers include Mayor Mark Jamieson, Councillor (and live music enthusiast) Greg Rogerson, The Church’s Peter Kpppes, Dennis Dunstan (Front Row Management), Jeff Chandler (Gympie Music Muster), Tyrone Noonan, Elliot Heinrich (Helliport Studios), Tyler McLoughlan (Sound Pound), BJ Hemmling (Cherry Red) and retail legend Barry Bull.
Topics include secrets of the industry, writing a great song, organising pre-production and recording, and making your artwork complement your music It is held at Nambour Civic Centre between 3 pm to 9 pm.
Black Night relaunches as Bad Health
Melbourne indie Black Night Crash Records (Bo Ningen, Die! Die! Die!, Sincerely, Grizzly) has relaunched as Bad Health. It picks up where BNCR left off and also serves as a multidisciplinary platform for a range of music associated creative projects. Bad Health has signed Melbourne garage-grungers Oscar Galt & The Eventual Somethings whose Play Things EP is out Nov 5. Dunedin noise punks Die! Die! Die! tour here in early 2016 after an EP release in January.
Music groups receive ACT project funding
Among the 53 arts groups and community organisations sharing $730,000 in funding were a handful of music names. They included $7,818 to Art Song Canberra Inc to present art song concerts and masterclasses, $37,903 for the band Witchskull to record an album in New York, $35,000 to help Jennifer Gail hold concerts using restored historic instruments in Canberra museums, $11,000 to Nicholas Delatovi towards a series of recording sessions ‘#epinaday, $27,920 to assist Rafe Morris develop work for recording, filming, and performance, $19,780 for Rebus Theatre towards staging a variety show of performers with disabilities and $21,380 to help Sparrow-Folk with the costs of original comedic songs showcasing Canberra.
Australia joins Junior Eurovision
Australia will this year be one of 17 countries to take part in Junior Eurovision Song Contestant in Sofia. Aussie talents aged 10 – 15 will take part and SBS will broadcast it on Saturday November 28 at 7.30 pm. Online voting will not be available to the Australian public, but an official Australian jury will be appointed to vote live.
$79,000 raised at last month’s Heart of St Kilda Concert at Melbourne’s Palais which will help the Mission feed nearly 19,750 people over the next 12 months.
$20 million gross for the first 10 shows in the US for Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, after shifting 132,769 tickets.
100 million Vevo views for Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams video.
£400,000 TF-X flying car with a top speed of 200 mph is what entertainment supremo Simon Cowell wants to buy.
World record set at Deni Ute Muster
A red-hot bill including Cold Chisel, Lee Kernaghan, Birds of Tokyo, The McClymonts, Adam Brand and Wolfe Bros saw crowds of 18,000 for both days and 5,988 utes at the 17th Deni Ute Muster in Deniliquin NSW. A new world record was set for most blue singlets on site (3959, beating 2013’s 3924) while the inaugural tradies competition to make the ultimate outdoor dunny saw locals firm Poo Shack Constructions pocket the winning $4,000.
In the meantime, a guy took his girlfriend up in a helicopter and told her to look down – to see a group of utes parked to spell out ‘Marry Me’. Muster GM Kate Pitt says plans have already started for the 18th birthday celebrations with the first announcement made in the next “in the coming months.”
Blunt magazine goes digital
Nextmedia’s alt-music and lifestyle title Blunt is moving from print to digital, after unique browsers on bluntmag.com.au increased by 500% in the past 12 months. “We’ve spent the past four years expanding our online presence through social media, directing our audience to the website and finding out what makes them tick,” said Editor Emily Swanson.
Simmonds scoops country awards
Aleyce Simmonds scooped the Independent Country Music Awards as part of the Southern Stars Awards in Mildura. She took the Independent Artist of the Year, female artist and country single for Joshua written about her late baby brother. The Tamworth based singer songwriter says, “I write music from a very personal place so when my songs connect with people, it truly means the world.”
Avaberee eying global market
Brisbane trio Avaberee are the latest to chase global recognition. Signing to US independent Other People Records, they are the latest inclusions in this year’s Culture Collide and CMJ Music Marathon line ups, wrapping it all up with a final showcase at The Music Hall of Williamsburg supporting Borns. Their current Your Arms I Found My Secrets was made in LA with producer Tommy English.
New arts advocacy body for Queensland
The Queensland Arts Advocacy Group is set up by state organisations and independent artists, reports ArtsHub. Its aim is to develop a cultural policy, ensure the state is represented as an equal partner at a national level and to lobby for greater funding and investment in the sector. It holds a half-day arts industry forum in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley on October 11 a Judith Wright Centre, 9am to midday. Email email@example.com.
Festivals Update: health scare, crowd funding, success stories
* Attendees of NSW festival Burning Seed may need a medical check-up. One of their numbers had meningococcal, the NSW Public Health Unit warned.
* After the success of the inaugural Murwillumbah Country Roots (it reached its targeted 2000 per day), founder and country music performer Lou Bradley confirms it’ll be back next year. “We built a family, not a festival,” she says. The opening night was a drama: Kasey Chambers had to step in for Bradley’s set when she lost her voice. Cops were happy with the crowd’s behaviour and will revise liquor licensing rules for 2016.
* Port Macquarie’s Wildwood will become an annual event, confirmed founder Simon Leigh after the latest Lior-headlined event proved a success.
* A convoy of 40 Kombis travelled on the weekend through Sydney city and ended at the Pavilion on Bondi Beach to launch the inaugural Beachfest. Ten of these will be on display at the festival on November 14. The Beach Boys will headline a bill with The Whitlams, Kim Churchill, Busby Marou and Sarah Beck. Surfing lessons and skate/surf comps will also be held on the day.
* Caloundra Music is dining out on a compliment from headliner Ben Lee who’s played some of the biggest festivals in the world. He told Director Richie Eyles it had ’the best festival atmosphere of any event of its kind in the world.”
* After its camping sites sold out quick smart, CMC Rocks Qld has found 230 new sites on the opposite end of the Willowbank ground courtesy the Ipswich City Council. Promoters Chugg Entertainment and Rob Potts Entertainment Edge point out, “Please keep in mind that these new sites are much closer to the Campers Bar and the sound from the bar will be audible in the overflow camping area at night.”
* A crowd-funding campaign (pozible.com/fireandlight) is trying to raise $25,000 to trial an event at a new Tasmanian fire and light fest in the state’s desolate North-West. The Kentish Arts Festival wants to light up Mt Roland with lasers. It will cost that much to transport the laser technology from Melbourne.
* One of the events to launch Melbourne’s Darebin Music Feast is three acts tag-playing 60-second sets in the elevator of the Northcote Town Hall.
* New Zealand gets a new summer festival. Bay Dreams heads to Mount Maunganui., kicking off on January 2 at Bay Park Stadium with acts as Pendulum, DJ Premier, Chali2na, The Black Seeds and Concord Dawn.
ABC to expand digital team
Citing the doubling of smartphone use in Australia in the past three years and the change in the way Australians interact with the ABC, the national broadcaster is looking to employ up to 30 new staffers for its digital team. They include developers, user experience specialists, data engineers and delivery managers.
Digital Network Director Angela Clark said, “Our audiences are multi-screening, they are ‘bumping’ into news and entertainment on social platforms, they are consuming digital audio in new ways, and they are not just wanting – but expecting – a seamless experience tailored to their location, preferences and interests.”
According to the 2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, 44% of Australians primarily source their news online and 12% from social media.
Venues Update: sales, stadium push, revivals
Melbourne’s Amphlett Lane will become a music venue for one night only as part of Melbourne Music Week. The all-star Amphlett Lane Stirrers will play three times on the lane on November.20 as a tribute to the Divinyls singer.
* The Four In Hand in Sydney’s Paddington, known for its jazz, is for sale. Analysts say surrounding pubs exchanged hands for $8 million to $9 million.
* After the excitement of the recent NRL Grand Final featuring two Queensland teams, the Queensland Government is ready to commit $100 million to a new sports stadium in Townsville, which will also be used for concerts.
* Batemans Bay’s Bayview Hotel, in NSW, has been cleared to bring back Saturday night live music. After noise complaints ended the long-time tradition, hotel management work with police and Liquor Licensing (along with a 1,000-signature petition) to come to an agreement after installing a noise-limiter.
* The Civic in Sydney has introduced a new weekly club night, C.U Saturday from Halloween night, courtesy DJ/producer Murat Kilic and Robbie Lowe.
At 23, James Cruickshank moved from hometown Melbourne to Sydney to chase his music ambitions and finish off a bachelor’s degree in communications. After forming The Widdershins, playing keyboards and guitar in bands as The Cruel Sea, Beasts Of Bourbon and Mick Harvey’s outfit gave him a following in Europe and the US as well as in Australia. Colleagues remembered him as “a great musician”, “a mentor” and “a gentleman” who retained his humour and positivity through a battle with brain cancer. Cruickshank was 53.
“Country Bob” Stevenson spread the country music message through Queensland from 1983 with stints on 4SB 1071am Kingaroy and CROW FM Wondai. His programs displayed humour and an encyclopaedic knowledge of country music. The South Burnett Regional Council Meeting finished early so Mayor Wayne Kratzmann and councillors could attend his funeral.
Murray Happ, long time panel operator for John Laws, also recorded a single in 1982 called Who’s Kidding Who? After leaving radio he moved to the Gold Coast and was a marriage celebrant. In poor health for some time, he had a fall on the beach on Sunday and never recovered. He was 56.
And A Few Other Things …
Sneaky Sound System’s Connie Mitchell and Angus ’Black Angus’ McDonald are back in Sydney after tying the knot in Ibiza on Sept 22, and return to the road this month.
In the meantime, country music singer songwriter Catherine Britt, currently undergoing cancer treatment, marries fiancé James Beverley in Newcastle. Her celebrant father Steve is doing the honours.
The Skyhooks’ reunion for Rockwiz at the Palais in Melbourne saw their former producer Ross Wilson out front. To a raucous welcome, they played Horror Movie, Balwyn Calling, All My Friends Are Getting Married (with crowd sing a long and a white T-shirted Red Symons publically apologising for an argument he and Wilson had years ago when they were recording the song) and received a standing ovation. Symons and bat-hooded Bongo Starkey went on the Rockwiz panel while some of the ‘Hooks came out with the other acts for the finale of ‘Shout’. In a fun surprise, Bongo’s wife Crissy in the audience was so adept with her musical knowledge she ended up a contestant on stage (unbeknown to the Rockwiz crew). Their 3CD set Don’t You Believe What You’ve Seen Or You’ve Heard is out October 30.
Germany’s Bauer Media Group, which has been signalling a move into the Australian radio industry, already made an unsuccessful $450 million bid for Nova Entertainment, the Australian Financial Review reported.
An online petition has launched for the Australian Government to dump Advance Australia Fair as national anthem in favour of Violent Soho’s Like Soda. Campaign organiser Matt Querzoli says that Like Soda encapsulates all that is great about being an Aussie while AAF’s lyrics are out of date (“girt”?), people don’t know them (“look at Kate Ceberano’s stuff up at the 2015 AFL Grand Final” and, most important, “You can’t realistically head-bang to the tune.”
Christine Anu replaced Tina Arena as headliner at a November 7 concert put on by Claremont (WA ) Council. It voted for a less expensive event. It had allocated $25,000 but failed to snare matching sponsorship..
The 15th and final season of American Idol, will be screened Express from the US in January on FOX8. It features returning judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr and host Ryan Seacrest.
Australian book publisher JoJo Publishing, which published 250 authors since it founded 2002 – including Finding The Rhythm In Music – went into voluntary administration with liquidators claiming up to 50 authors are owed money.
As The Veronicas plan to relocate (again) to Los Angeles, Jess Origliasso has put up her apartment in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley on the market. She has her piano there and does a lot of writing there.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd lost his appeal against his eight month home detention sentence in July for drug possession and threats to kill.
One of the war widows helping Kiss as a roadie, Jacky Gavin, had a special affinity with the band. She and Lance Corporal husband Luke did their bridal waltz to I Was Made For Loving You, and the track was played again at his funeral in 2011 after he was killed in Afghanistan. When she met up with Kiss, Paul Stanley crooned the song to her, while Gene Simmons compared tongue sizes with her and her young son Josh, let him try out his lizard boots and told him, “Your dad was so special.”
Iggy Azalea’s new album will be called Digital Distortion, she tweeted.
Justin Standley, the country music singer who went on The X-Factor hoping that the national exposure would help him find his children, reports it worked. His youngest daughter Charlotte now lives with him and duets on his next album.
Adelaide street magazine Rip It Up published an apology to promoter Andrew McManus for a news item which stated (as many other media outlets also claimed before the NSW Police said they’d never alleged it) he’d been arrested in connection with drug rings, money laundering and drug importation.
Andrew Hornery in his Private Sydney column in the Sydney Morning Herald wonders if clucking new love birds Mariah Carey and James Packer are Sydney-bound next month for the 21st bigger than Ben Hur bash for his niece Francesca Packer Barham for which the A-listers are being invited. “Maybe she’ll sing happy birthday”, Hornery reckons. Funnily, while Uncle James flutters up to a rock star, music-mad Francesca called time out on her six-month relationship with blues guitarist Joshua Mullane of Sydney trio Van Hoorn.
Selena Gomez revealed to Billboard that the reason she cancelled her 2013 Australian tour was because she was getting chemo, not in rehab as thought.
“I’m never doing that again!” exclaims Sam Bentley, lead songwriter of Melbourne indie folk band Paper Kites. For their newly released album twelvefour, Bentley wrote around the concept that an artist’s creativity is most potent between midnight and 4 am. So to be inspired, he shifted his sleeping schedule for two hours to write the songs between those times.
Two international music videos shot in New Zealand hit over a million views in the same week. Imagine Dragons’ Roots hit 1.5 million, while lots of NZ location shots saw the I On Wednesday video by K-Pop superstar Taeyon hit 4 million.