Bigsound is back on the industry calendar.
While the health crisis wrecks the touring industry around the globe, Australia’s main music industry conference and showcase is set for a return to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in 2020 at a later date than usual, and in a condensed, COVIDSafe format.
The announcement this week caught the industry by surprise. The southern state of Victoria and its capital Melbourne, widely regarded at the country’s cultural mecca, has just entered a second lockdown to try curb a worrying spike in coronavirus cases. And there are worrying signs of an outbreak or two in New South Wales.
The Bigsound show, however, will go on.
Originally announced for Sept 1- 4, this year’s event will be reduced to a two-day, two-night event from Oct. 21.
All activities will follow social distancing and safety protocols, with a compact program of conferences, workshops, facilitated conversations, live festival showcases, secret shows and official parties, according to a statement issued by organizers.
Artist live showcase applications are now open, and application fees have been waved this time, due to the event’s condensed size and capacity.
Billboard understands 13 venues are currently signed up to participate in Bigsound 2020.
“We feel like we’re looking after an event that’s owned by the industry,” says Angela Samut, CEO of QMusic, which produces the event. The numbers will be reduced to meet those health and safety regulations, but “we’re definitely forging ahead,” Samut tells Billboard.
Many elements of the daytime programming will take place in a virtual sense. “It’s an export event,” notes Samut. Since its inauguration 18 years ago, “that’s our point of difference.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said Bigsound would play an important role as the state enters the next phase of economic recovery.
“Major events like this pump millions of dollars into the local economy and support local jobs,” Jones said.
“Because Queenslanders have done such a great job fighting COVID-19, we can now start welcoming tourists back to our state. This festival will deliver a great boost for local businesses at a time when everyone is doing it tough. It’s great news for the industry.”
Speakers and performers will be announced in due course. Visit Bigsound.org.au for more.