Musical Chairs at Folkworld, HOTA, WME and More
The growing return of Australia’s live music sector is leading to executive changes in all aspects, including festivals, agencies, associations and venues.
TMN has the latest round of movements from inside the live music industry.
Folkworld / Fairbridge Festival
Jon Cope, a Fremantle-based musician with 40 years of knowledge of the WA folk scene and 25 years working as an arts manager, is the new artistic director of FolkWorld Inc.
FolkWorld Inc. is the parent organisation of the Fairbridge Festival, which draws around 15,000.
Cope replaces Rod Vervest who helmed the programming for eight years.
He played the first Fairbridge in 1993 with the Press Gang returning over the years with various bands.
In 2014 Cole established Kaleidoscope Multicultural Arts Management agency for multicultural and folk artists, and World Music Café to promote multicultural performances and community-driven arts initiatives.
HOTA (Home of the Arts)
Criena Gehrke leaves as inaugural CEO of multi-arts Gold Coast venue HOTA (Home of the Arts) in February.
HOTA chair Jackie Trad said, “Under Criena’s leadership, HOTA has realised the Outdoor Stage and HOTA Gallery, developed new audiences and become a true cultural heart for the Gold Coast.”
Gehrke came to the Gold Coast a decade ago to develop the City’s Culture Strategy 2023 as a vision for the next ten years.
Electronic music collective Futuresounds Adelaide lost CEO and co-founder Dr Patrick Lang.
He joined Port Adelaide’s experimental theatre group Vitalstatistix as program and communications coordinator.
At Futuresounds, Lang ran 120 live events, including seven festivals, while fronting electro-art-pop quartet Only Objects, who released their debut album “The Nostomanic Cypher” in 2021.
The Sydney office of the global WME agency will be overseen by Lucy Dickins, its new Beverly Hills-based global head of contemporary music and touring.
Dickins, who recently moved to the U.S. from London, also looks over the Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville and London offices.
Touring and production group Performing Lines hired former Darwin Festival senior producer Vanessa Wright as its senior producer, NSW.
The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) appointed arts worker of 30 years, dancer and Kamilaroi descendant Bradley Chatfield as head of First Nations programming.
It’s part of QPAC’s deepening connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in business and programming.
Big Red Group
Sydney-based Australasian events company Big Red Group hired Brent Rutherford to the newly created role of chief technology officer.
He will help power its next phase of growth through first-party data and a technological transformation across its brands.
Australian chef and restaurateur Matt Moran has joined Optus Stadium as a culinary ambassador, as part of the venue’s offerings to corporate and public customers.
Changes at Melbourne’s Next Wave festival see Leigh Lule, Tarryn Love and MaggZ join as Producers in Residence, working on projects with young people for 12 months.
Nickila De Silva joined as associate producer, communications and engagement.
ACT Minister’s Creative Council
The ACT Minister’s advisory Creative Council added six new members.
Emma Batchelor, Christopher Carroll, Sophie Edwards, Marissa McDowell, Rachel Reid (Jazida), and Ashley Zmijewski join AJ America (Chair), Ketura Budd (Deputy Chair), Ian RT Colless, Hannah De Feyter, Ngaio Fitzpatrick and Ruth O’Brien.
The ACT Government said the Council reflects “a diversity of experiences and include Aboriginal artists, women and non-binary artists, LGBTIQ+ artists, artists with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse artists.”
NSW South Coast Four Winds festival expands its Leadership Team, with Greg Lissaman joining as co-executive director on September 12.
Regional Arts Victoria
Regional Arts Victoria’s CEO, Joe Toohey, steps down in September to take over as head of finance at Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.
Veronica Pardo (Arts Access Victoria, Next Wave, Multicultural Arts Victoria) is the new chair of Melbourne western suburbs arts and music collective Western Edge.
Also joining the board are Anushka Wijendra and Liss Gabb, while theatre producers Chanella Macri and Stephen Nicolazzo are new co-Artistic Directors alongside John Marc Desengano.
Regional Arts WA
New CEO at Regional Arts WA is Dr Pilar Kasat, one-time managing director of Community Arts Network and most recently, interim executive producer at The Last Great Hunt.