Live Music Industry

December 3, 2014


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 16:34 :30 ): I move:

That this council notes—

1. The diverse and extraordinary talents of South Australia's musicians and the importance of South Australia's live music industry;

2. Congratulates all of the winners and nominees in the 2014 Fowler's Li v e Music Awards; and

3. Commend s Fowler's Liv e for hosting the event each year.

I start by acknowledging the Hon. John Gazzola's attendance and my own at the recent Fowler's Live SA Music Awards. He is a strong supporter of live music and, as members know, I am too and certainly our commitment to this bridges our political divide at times. I want to commend the winners of this year's live music awards and I want to particularly pay tribute to the work of Peter Darwin and Fowler's Live in not only starting up these awards and running them out of their own pockets each year, but honouring and paying tribute and respect to the live music industry. I want to take particular note in this speech of the contribution that Peter Darwin and Fowler's Live make in our music industry.

The winners of the awards this year were: best acoustic artist, Timberwolf; best electronica artist, Tkay Maidza; best hip hop artist, Allday; best indie artist, Sparkspitter; best metal artist, Truth Corroded; best music initiative, The Porch Sessions; best music manager, Jason North and Greg Shaw; best music organisation or individual, The Jam Room and the fabulous Alice from The Jam Room; best music video, Grace (Timberwolf); best pop artist, The Beards, who have just come back from international tour triumph; best punk artist, Paper Arms; best rock artist, Bad//Dreems, who are doing wonders around the country and who were the hit of the BIGSOUND conference in Queensland this year; best roots artist, Shaolin Afronauts; and best South Australian songwriter(s) of the year, Bad//Dreems.

The winners of the music association genre awards were: best blues artists, Lazy Eye; best country artist, Sandra Humphries; and best jazz artist, Ross McHenry. The winners of the publicly voted categories were: South Australian song of the year, Tempest—Julia Henning; favourite South Australian band, Julia Henning; favourite SA live music venue was, yet again, The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel; favourite SA live music event, WOMADelaide; favourite SA music media source, Rip It Up; and the achievement award went to Ross McHenry.

Those were the winners on the night. The Hon. John Gazzola and I attended that night, but I would say there were many more nominations and the public votes were certainly hotly contested. This was an awards night that was a celebration of a music industry in this state that is going from strength to strength.

We have just seen in the ARIAs our very own South Australian Sia Furler take out four ARIAs and, while she did not turn up for the show, she did record four videos, even though only one was shown. Sia Furler used to play here in local venues. I remember her being in a band called Crisp and playing at the Crown & Sceptre and from those roots she has gone to worldwide success. There would be very few people in the music industry who would not know who Sia Furler is and those ARIAs are just the tip of the iceberg with the recognition that Sia has achieved.

That achievement would not be possible, of course, without venues, which is where Fowler's Live plays such an important role and where the role of venues is so crucial. Peter Darwin of Fowler's Live announced at those awards that he was not sure what the future held for Fowler's Live, and that has been further reported in the music press in Rip It Up. Fowler's Live may be forced, and I imagine will be forced, to relocate in the near future as the state government contemplates shifting the State Theatre Company of South Australia's facilities into the venue currently known as Music SA and Fowler's Live in that North Terrace site.

This reshuffling, of course, is of some concern to the music industry and certainly caused some uncertainty to Peter Darwin himself. He knows that he has a current lease of six months. He is not sure how much further beyond 2015 that lease will be extended. I do not want to misquote him, but I think he said on the night that the state government has offered him a reduction in the rent as a consequence, for these next six months or so, but what is vitally important is that we find another home for Fowler's Live and that range of music venue to ensure that touring artists can tour and to ensure that we have the whole suite.

The Unibar is also under threat. We have seen the difficulties that the Jade Monkey, for example, has had in relocating. It is fantastic that it has now finally found a home in the St Paul's creative complex around the back there on Flinders Street, but we have seen Format unable to find a new venue and that home of not only live music but indeed a variety of contemporary arts lost to South Australians.

This government had a live music Thinker in Residence. That report holds a lot of opportunity for South Australia, but those opportunities are nothing if there are no venues. If there are no sticky carpets to start from, we will never see the Sia Furler's of the world.

With that, I commend this motion to the house and look forward not only to further liquor licensing reform to remove the entertainment consents from liquor licensing in this state but better reforms to ensure that venues can be found. Indeed, I am looking forward to celebrating the Fowler's Live Music Awards next year in its new home, a home of contemporary music in South Australia.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. J.M. Gazzola.


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