Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /homepages/7/d309872558/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/meta-ographr/index.php on line 572

In Numbers: BIGSOUND Live 2011 – Part 1

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page


By Justin Edwards

The Q Music-organised BIGSOUND music conference will soon be upon us again. As in the last few years, the conference takes place in the first week of September and combines a music industry conference during the daytime with live showcases in the evening. The showcases start early with a series of industry and governement sponsored showcase parties that are only open to the conference’s delegates. before the event is opened to non-delegates to attend the event’s main showcases.

As the BIGSOUND website puts it:

In 2009 BIGSOUND launched its expanded showcase program concept, BIGSOUND Live, to the public for the first time. Traditionally the BIGSOUND showcases had been based on a market approach, bringing together national and international music buyers and artists.

The new look BIGSOUND Live program builds on that unique tastemaker-friendly atmosphere and includes a focus on public participation in one of the most exciting, vibrant and innovative industries and cities in the world.

BIGSOUND Live allows the public seamless access to live and original music throughout the program in a huge variety of Fortitude Valley clubs and venues across two nights. 2011 will see 80 of the best emerging acts appear for one of the most exciting industry festivals and showcases in the Southern Hemisphere.

Every year the live showcase element of BIGSOUND has expanded and in 2011 it now totals 80 acts playing across eight Brisbane venues over two nights. Although the BIGSOUND spiel mentions the showcase program expanding in 2009, BIGSOUND has been taking place in Brisbane since 2005. The details of the bands that played showcases in the first two years of the conference are sketchy (and I’m not sure if there were any live bands playing in 2005) and information about those years is not even summarised on Q Music’s website.

However, the details of the acts that have played at the event’s live showcases since 2007 are available from Q Music’s website, which means that there’s now five years of data to look at.

State/Country of Origin

Looking at the acts that have played over the five years that the data was available for, it’s clear that while the event takes place in Brisbane and is organised through Q Music, the proportion of acts from the state as a percentage of the overall number of acts being awarded showcases has dropped as the event has grown in size.

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
State/Country Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts % of Total
QLD 26 32.50% 17 28.33% 26 49.06% 25 62.50% 38 88.37%
VIC 21 26.25% 14 23.33% 7 13.21% 6 15.00% 1 2.33%
NSW 17 21.25% 16 26.67% 13 24.53% 8 20.00% 1 2.33%
New Zealand 6 7.50% 6 10.00% 4 7.55%
WA 4 5.00% 2 3.33% 2 3.77% 1 2.50% 2 4.65%
Canada 3 3.75% 1 1.67%
SA 2 2.50% 2 3.33%
NT 1 1.25%
QLD/VIC 1 1.67%
UK 1 1.67%
ACT 1 2.33%
USA 1 1.89%
Grand Total 80 100.00% 60 100.00% 53 100.00% 40 100.00% 43 100.00%

Although there has been a slight increase from the 28.33% in 2010 (in case anyone asks, the one act recorded as QLD/VIC is the Wilson Pickers) to 32.50% in 2011, back in 2007 the total of 38 Queensland acts made up a whopping 88.37% of the total acts playing the live shows. In 2008, 26 acts from the state played at BIGSOUND, the same number as are playing in 2011 even though the total number of acts playing has doubled from 40 to 80 acts. Although Queensland is still providing the largest percentage of acts in 2011, acts from Victoria and New South Wales haven’t been far behind in the last couple of years. Based on the change in the breakdown in the last few years, it’s incredible that only a single act from each of New South Wales and Victoria played at the event in 2007.

City of Origin

Showing the Australian acts by their city of origin (and excluding non-Australian acts) shows a similar trend to that seen when the showcases artists were tabulated by their state of origin.

 2011 2010 2009 2008  2007
City  Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts % of Total Acts  % of Total
Brisbane  21 29.58% 16 30.77% 23 47.92% 23 57.50% 32 78.05%
Melbourne  17  23.94%  13  25.00% 7 14.58% 5 12.50% 1 2.44%
Sydney  14 19.72% 13  25.00%  11  22.92% 7 17.50% 1 2.44%
Perth 3 4.23% 2 3.85% 2 4.17%
Gold Coast  2  2.82% 2 4.17% 2 5.00% 3 7.32%
Blue Mountains  2 2.82%  1 2.08%
Adelaide  1  1.41%  2  3.85%
Apollo Bay  1  1.41% 1 1.92%
Cairns  2  2.82% 1 1.92%  1 2.44%
Central Coast  1  1.41%  2  3.85% 1 2.08%
Darraweit Guim  1  1.41%
Fremantle  1  1.41%
Geelong  1  1.41%  1 2.50%
Mildura  1  1.41%
Milicent  1  1.41%
Rockhampton  1  1.41%
Darwin  1  1.41%
Bris/Melb  1  1.92%
Port Macquarie  1  1.92%
Townsville  1  2.08%
Bunbury  1 2.50%
Newcastle  1  2.50%
Kuranda  1 2.44%
Sunshine Coast  1 2.44%
Canberra  1 2.44%
Grand Total  71 100%  52  100%  48  100%   40 100%  41  100% 

With Queensland still providing the largest proportion of showcase acts in 2011, it’s no surprise that the majority of these are from Brisbane. This has followed the same trend over the last five years and you would expect Queensland’s largest city and the location for BIGSOUND to provide the largest number of acts who have played over the years. The decline in the proportion of Queensland acts over the five years is matched by the decline in the proportion of acts from Brisbane. In 2007 a total of 32 acts representing 78.05% of the total number of Australian acts playing BIGSOUND showcases were from Brisbane. Despite the increase from the total of 41 Australian acts in 2007 to 71 in 2011, Brisbane is only represented by 22 acts in 2011, less than 30% of the total playing the event. The numbers show a year-on-year decrease in the proportion of acts from Brisbane playing the event, although there has been a slight increase from 16 to 22 acts from 2010.

As would be expected, the growth over the last five years in acts from Victoria and New South Wales is dominated by acts from Melbourne and Sydney. Although both Melbourne and Sydney provided 25.00% of the 2010 live acts, the proportion has dropped in 2011 (to 23.94% and 19.72% respectively) as BIGSOUND has cast its net wide and far in 2011 and there are acts from a greater number of cities and towns than has been seen before. One thing to consider is that although acts might have originated in Geelong, Mildura and Darraweit Guim, it’s another question as to whether they’re still based there or have made the move to the big smoke of Melbourne town. It’s a similar consideration for the Queensland acts from Cairns and Rockhampton, and it probably makes the state of origin for each of the acts a more reliable source of data for determining where the acts come from.

While it’s clear that has been a shift over the years to make BIGSOUND less of a local event and more of a national event, it has been at the expense of Queensland acts, with the focus of the event becoming less about being just a platform to showcase the state’s music and more about putting the spotlight on one of the country’s major musical conferences happening in Brisbane for three days.

(continues overleaf)

Pages: 1 2

13 Responses to In Numbers: BIGSOUND Live 2011 – Part 1

  1. Darragh August 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I always find these pivot tables really fascinating 🙂

    I’m not going to conference (though might check out some of the showcase), but I would if Alan McGee and Everett True were on a panel together. Why are Big Sound not organising that live spectacle?!

  2. crackerjack August 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn – dude wow you’re pretty on it. ” Where bands are from? A critical essay by Justin Edwards”. Have you ever heard of Brooklyn? Its in America. Lots of bands live there and yet none of them are really from there. Also, last time I checked bigsound has actually been going since 2001. Some of us have been going to it for that long as well and have seen it grow and become something that no other city in australia has despite trying. you see the thing is, having bands come from other cities usually means that people from other cities who work with those bands also come. and then people from other countries also come to our city and then other people from other countries also come and tell their friends from other parts of the industry to come and then sheeeeiit they start bringing their bands and its a great big industry aural love in.

    also, what? sxsw? has nothing to do with it. brisbane wouldn’t cope with an event of that magnitude. i don’t think sydney or melbourne would either personally and that’s fine. they have 300 million we have 22 million.
    the live program is great and i reckon does pretty well to balance the known with the unknown indie and major label support. you see the thing is, yes people do want to see something they know – that happens when the public also get involved and come along for the ride but you also get these great opportunities to share new bands with the punters who opt in. Some of these folks might have some previous history (you mention Adalita) but not everyone has had the chance to see Adalita perform solo – least not the venerable international guests who might not have heard much at all from Australia. They might even want to do some business with her ….and the Bleeding Knees Club? or perhaps one of the other 61 bands you didn’t mention who haven’t showcased before. There’s still plenty there to choose from who remain not just relatively unknown but almost completely unheard of to anyone who lives outside of the music industry bubble. You, Justin, might be familiar with everyone and everything but more than 99% of the population have no idea who these acts are. It is important to provide balance. Sure perhaps some of these guys should be could be rested BUT in some cases, there could be completely valid reasons to include them again.

    I’ll be there enjoying the spectacle from as many angles as possilbe.

  3. Mark August 30, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I think the first BIGSOUND was actually 2002. There was a live element back then called ROCKET, that I think was also part of the Valley Fiesta?

    You can find the old site on the internet archive – http://web.archive.org/web/20020820053449/http://www.qmusic.com.au/bigsound/forums.html

    The prediction of the future is interesting – “CD’s no longer exist; internet radio is everywhere – including your car.”

  4. Matt O'Neill August 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I always find it weird that people get so impassioned about these things. It’s basically fact reporting. Why shoot the messenger?

  5. Everett True August 30, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I always find it weird that people get so impassioned about these things. It’s basically fact reporting. Why shoot the messenger?

    I agree. I think it’s part of some weird shit of existing in a small town that I simply don’t get. Everyone feels the need to protect their bit of turf, whatever that turf is, even when the turf isn’t being trespassed upon. A big ol’ cat-pissing contest. Every time BIGSOUND is mentioned on Collapse Board we receive this sort of response, mostly along the lines of: Why do you even bother questioning it?

    It confuses the hell out of me. I thought discussion was good?

  6. Everett True August 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Also Matt, it’s nice to see folk don’t feel SO impassioned that they still can’t hide behind anonymous avatars. Fucking cowards.

  7. Bianca August 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for compiling this Justin. I love that these posts just lay everything out in black & white. Looking forward to the next part! 🙂

  8. Neil August 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I doubt the fact that there are reasonably established bands there is so much to do with “bums on seats” as it is to do with the fact Big Sound is (or would like to be) largely about introducing bands to overseas labels, managers, promoters etc. It’s success or failure won’t be judged on how many people go to see the Vasco Era. It’ll be upon whether they can show they’ve assisted any Australian acts in “exporting” their “product”.
    Bands with records and a little bit of infrastructure are deemed “export ready”, and that’s why they feature so heavily.

  9. Collapse bored August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    “Everett True says:
    August 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm Also Matt, it’s nice to see folk don’t feel SO impassioned that they still can’t hide behind anonymous avatars. Fucking cowards.”

    Yeah, you tell ’em Jerry. Sorry, Everett…

  10. Everett True August 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Yeah, you tell ‘em Jerry. Sorry, Everett…

    “Everett True (born Jerry Thackray in 1961) is a British music journalist, who grew up in Chelmsford, Essex…” (Opening line on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everett_True)

    Moron. You might be able to criticise ‘Everett True’ for many things but being an ‘anonymous avatar’ – as opposed to being a well-known pseudonym – is hardly one of them. I’m guessing you’re not a university student here in Brisbane. If you are, I’d recommend leaving your course right now. You won’t pass.

    P.S. ‘Collapse bored’ knows a lot about anonymous avatars – or (s)he should, anyway. So far s(he)’s posted comments under five different ones, here on Collapse Board. Where do you reckon (s)he is based, Justin?

  11. Paul September 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Where is part two?

  12. V September 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    The artist lineup for the BigSound showcases can be predicted simply by having insight into which band managers are attending and are actively engaged with the event.. BigSound; Brisbane’s big incestuous love-in. Who is the event supposed to be showcasing too anyway, who isn’t already aware of these acts?

  13. Paul September 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Interesting and enjoyable read. Obviously people who work/are involved in BigSound and it’s afflilates have had a go at you, but i guess that was the purpose of the article as well as letting people get some understanding of how this how this whole fucking works. I appreciate your effort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.