WAM welcomes new board, releases COVID financial challenges report
Music association WAM (West Australian Music) has undergone changes on its board and released its 2020/21 report which showed its programs generated $25.2 million to the state.
Under the leadership of new CEO Natasha Collier, and $350,000 funding from the WA government, the report revealed that each $1 spent on programs had a 23-to-1 return.
President Al Taylor said that despite COVID issues, “We managed to kick some decent goals.”
One was the inaugural WA Music Week, staged over two nights in March with 12 acts including Spacey Jane, POND and San Cisco.
“What a week it was!” Taylor related. “Kicking off with the two big ‘Hear And Now’ shows and closing out with one of the most memorable WAM Awards ever – thanks to a great location and a generous performance by Tame Impala.
“Across the whole week, across the whole state, we delivered over 100 events in more than 85 venues that attracted (53, 273) people and delivered almost $17 million to the state.”
It created gigs for 489 acts or 1,506 musicians, 900 instances of direct employment, and a $425,000 direct payment to the music industry.
“In a really tough environment, the industry came together and delivered something quite incredible and we got to shine a bright light on the industry – as we so desired.”
WAM board 2022 returns & additions
Taylor returned to the WAM board with new members Kristina West and Claire Turton.
West has a background in banking, organisational change management and music blogging. Turton, a musician, has financial services experience and fundraising capabilities.
They replaced singer-songwriter and producer Noah Shilkin after 11 years and artist manager Bel Skinner who served for eight years.
WAM programs drew 91,000 punters and supported 2,387 artists with 665 performances and 142 productions, and generated 1,000 jobs.
Workshops amounted to 91 metros, 48 regionals and 53 in schools.
Regional initiatives included Sounds of the Midwest and Demos From Binjares.
Youth programs set up for sustainable careers were Girls Rock! WA and New Noise.
Girls Rock! WA, through the state government’s Contemporary Music Fund, drew 40 attendees and in 2021 introduced monthly jam sessions.
New Noise was co-presented by Healthway’s Act Belong Commit campaign and intertwined making original music with mental health.
24,010 people aged 17 & under – including 8420 regional students– took part.
53 artists entered primary and high schools metro and regional WA to deliver 45 songwriting workshops and 26 concerts and Q&A sessions.
New Noise Collective saw young people mentored by WAM’s audience development officer to deliver 12 all ages live music events.
The new ‘Musicians in Residence’ scheme has an artist attend a school for 10 weeks, culminating in the recording and whole school performance of an original song.
Of flagship WAM events, Song Of The Year drew 1,206 entries, with $45,000 in prize money.
Out of 20 winners, 5 were from regional areas, 4 were First Nations and 11 were female or non-binary identifying.
WAMFest showcased 125 acts in 14 venues over two nights.
WAMCon 21 had 357 registrants participating in 22 sessions. Of 114 speakers, 34 were international, 48 from WA and 27 were national.
WAMawards handed out 36 trophies, four of them going to Spacey Jane and three to Grace Barbé, and the Golden WAMi to Will Backler, music and program director of RTRFM.
COVID measures included Resource Hub and Sound Check webinar series and a partnership with Minderoo Foundation to deliver 30 paid shows by 89 acts and 65 production & program crews at hospitals, shelters and refuges.
CEO Natasha Collier commented, “WA has emerged as one of the country’s cultural superpowers at this time; our contemporary artists are among the best in the world and are an absolute force with millions of fans globally.
“Even the [coronavirus] couldn’t stop them in 2020-2021.”