20 Things I Learnt at Bigsound

Words and photos by Lewis Brideson


Last week, a couple of us here at YEWTH went to Bigsound along with a bunch of local bands and industry personnel. Bigsound is a three-day Australian festival of new music and international industry conference. It was my first time. Here are some things I learnt:


1.    Fortitude Valley is a clustered music hunting ground perfect for free roaming between venues. Overwhelming, in the best way possible.


2.    Denim jackets are the suits of the music industry.


3.    Drinks and burritos are free.


4.    West Thebarton Brothel Party's lyrical Adelaide in-jokes may not translate over here, but their music sure does. They leapt off bar tops into an all-consuming crowd, showcasing with one of their best shows to date. WTBP, Sparkspitter, Luke Million and Tkay Maidza all did Adelaide more than proud.


5.    Drinks are still free. Bigsound is a pub-crawl.


6.    Go to Tym Guitars - as Abbey Howlett put it, they have ‘every pedal of the rainbow’.


7.    Sian Walden’s (Little Acorn Music) statement ‘Bigsound should be renamed Babesound’ is completely true. The line-up was dominated by the ladies – Alex Lahey, Sampa The Great, Bec Sandridge, Alice Ivy, Ecca Vandal, Tash Sultana, Mallrat, REBEL YELL, Gabriella Cohen, just to name a few.


8.    Conference Lesson 1: It’s the responsibility of curators of small music 'scenes' to foster change: to change venues to interesting locations, maintain awareness of new waves of music and be inclusive of everyone.


9.    Conference Lesson 2: 'Interviews should be treated like a two-way therapy' - Mikey Cahill (journalist). It’s important for artists and journalists to work together, for artists to focus on media outlets that suit their pitch, and journalists to enter the artists’ world and characters within.


10. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever keep you coming back with delicious doubly lead guitar licks and a wealth of singing members.


11. 30/70 blends a gorgeous dose of soul and hip hop. The lead singer’s earrings bleed through the microphone like added chimes.


12. 'Always love a bassist who nods on the off-beat' – Steve Pitkin (Melt Frank Music).


13. Hideous Sun Demon’s Vincent Buchanan-Simpson was born to be a front man.


14. People’s networking game is strong, even when you’re just trying to take a leak. Putting an email to a face always goes a long way.


15. Conference Lesson 3: ‘Bad press is easy to ignore, bad content is hard to’ - Marcus Teague (journalist). Music journalism comes down to criticism and quality control*, with the future holding interesting opportunities for long-form written content, video and evolving use of social media.


16. Conference Lesson 4: The effort and money that is at work behind large music supervision projects is incredible and powerful. Music in advertising will always be needed, and will always work.


17. Golden Vessel is the new producer on the block, with a bunch of friendly features.


18. Valley venues contain everything from hidden stages to Star Wars stairs and glowing genital signage, but nailing a good room design and sound system is what counts – shout out to the quality of The Triffid and many other Brisbane venues.


19. For the amount of quality music available, trashy songs still hold a dear place in drunken hearts and after-party dance floors.


20. Travel, free alcohol and busy festivals are real tests of human endurance. At the end of the day, friends, dumplings and live music are there to revive you.

See all of our photos from Bigsound here.


*Ironic I guess, as this is a listicle.