Bigsound 2020 is flicking the switch to an all-digital program.
Earlier, the Australian industry conference and showcase event was pushed back by almost two months with a condensed COVIDsafe format, spread over two days and nights from Oct. 21.
“We feel like we’re looking after an event that’s owned by the industry,” Angela Samut, CEO of QMusic, told Billboard in mid-July.
“It’s an export event,” noted Samut, whose organization produces the annual event in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, now entering its 19th year. “That’s our point of difference.”
This being the year of the pandemic, expect the unexpected.
With coronavirus hotspots blowing up on Australia’s east coast, domestic border closures and the city of Melbourne entering a second lockdown, Bigsound organizers on Thursday (Sept. 3) announced this year’s edition would shift to a free, virtual event.
Though live showcases are suspended, those performance slots will now head online. Bigsound Festival co-programmers Dom Miller and Ruby-Jean McCabe, alongside First Nations Programmer Alethea Beetson, will select the best artist applications to spotlight the next generation of local talent to become so-called “The Bigsound 50.”
“Bigsound has always been about bringing our business and arts community together and while we were hopeful of being in our spiritual home in the Fortitude Valley live music precinct, 2020 has made other arrangements,” explained Samut in the update.
“It has never been more important for the Australian industry to come together to focus on survival and re-futuring with a program that offers a mainstream conference program, professional development and mental health activities as well as the introduction of The Bigsound 50.”
This year’s program will focus on “connection, survival and re-futuring in a global music community,” with a full program due to be released in late September.
Delegates who purchased a ticket to the physical event will receive a full refund with free digital registrations open from today at bigsound.org.au.