News February 15, 2021

WAM CEO Mike Harris to head up Darwin Entertainment Centre

WAM CEO Mike Harris to head up Darwin Entertainment Centre

, chief executive of the West Australian Music Industry Association () for the past seven years, is leaving to take over as general manager of the Darwin Entertainment Centre.

The association is currently searching for a replacement.

Harris takes over just as the DEC announced that it will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity from Saturday, February 27 following a COVID-Safe Plan approved by NT Health.

The DEC is Darwin’s largest music venue, and houses two theatres – the 1,000-seat Playhouse and the 290-seat Studio Theatre.

Harris said: “DEC is a fantastic organisation with a strong track record of delivering arts and entertainment to the Northern Territory; the opportunity to work with [chairman] David de Silva, [acting GM] Coryn Huddy and the team at DEC to further build on their good work is exciting.”

WAM’s president Al Taylor said about Harris’ tenure at the Perth-based association: “When Mike joined back in 2014 the organisation was facing some significant challenges, and he worked swiftly to ‘right the ship’.

“Since then, he has laboured passionately and tirelessly on behalf of the contemporary music sector.”

Under his watch, its flagship WAMFest, WAMCon and WA Music Awards increased attendance numbers and drew corporate sponsorship.

The association tackled gender inequity with the Fair Play report and the WA chapter of Girls Rock, and put a spotlight on regional talent with initiatives including regional demos and bush band scoping.

Harris was the driving force in the WA Contemporary Music Economic Study which paved the way for the WA Government’s Contemporary Music Fund.

Closer government ties also meant WAM got funding of about $600,000 a year for workshops, concerts and webinars, and for the inaugural WA Music Week to include 60 events in metro and regional areas to kickstart the live sector for musicians, venues and production crew.

In parting, Harris said: “WAM is well placed to move into the next stage of its illustrious and important life as WA’s peak music body – one that delivers strongly to the local music scene which, as we know, is the best in Australia.”

Before moving to Perth, Harris was head of programming at Melbourne International Arts Festival, director of the Glen Street Theatre in Sydney and manager of the Matt Dann Cultural Centre in Port Hedland.

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