From the panels to the stages, boss ladies bring their A-game as BIGSOUND delivers lady powers in spades.

Thandi Phoenix performs at Bigsound 2017. Image via Bridget Hustwaite. 

Thandi Phoenix performs at Bigsound 2017. Image via Bridget Hustwaite. 

BIGSOUND is one of Australia's most prominent music industry events  and this year's conference and showcase was held in Brisbane last week. Music writer Sosefina Fuamoli was on the ground and says that BIGSOUND was a moment where more sectors of the Australian industry have begun either waking up to the fact that Australian women in music are finally experiencing more agency and prominence, or perhaps, they’re becoming more comfortable in embracing it. Check out Sosefina's highlights from the panels to the stages here. And congratulations to all the ladies involved!

The voices telling stories of hurt, stories of love and yearning, stories of intense emotion, these were the ones we were switched on to;
— Sosefina Fuamoli
Kardajala Kirridarra perform at Bigsound 2017. Image Dave Kan via Double J

Kardajala Kirridarra perform at Bigsound 2017. Image Dave Kan via Double J

As the Australian and corners of the international music industry converged on Brisbane for BIGSOUND this year, the presence of ladies in power through out the echelons of the music community was felt stronger than ever before.

Either on stages throughout the Valley each night, or on stages in the Judith Wright Centre for the conference during the day, boss ladies brought their A-game; something that did not simply go over the heads of the BIGSOUND punters last week.

FROM THE PANELS…

Tina Arena and [Daily Telegraph music journalist) Kathy McCabe. Name a more iconic duo. We’ll wait. Arena’s keynote session wasn’t simply on the BIGSOUND program for delegates to learn about the singer’s storied career. Wise words were exchanged confidently between Arena and esteemed journalist McCabe, addressing the ever-present gender inequalities in the Australian music industry, ageism and the changing dialogue in the Australian industry concerning music distribution and media companies.

Writer Sosefina Fuamoli

Writer Sosefina Fuamoli

Earlier on BIGSOUND’s 2017 run, delegates were able to hear from some industry heavyweights in PR geniuses Janine Morcos (Cooking Vinyl) and Emily Kelly (Deathproof PR), as well as three of the minds championing the recently launched Your Choice initiative – Stacey Piggott (Secret Service PR), Helen Marcou (SLAM, Bakehouse Studios) and Elspeth Scrine (LISTEN, Huntly). One of Australia's finest music writers Jenny Valentish put mental health and substance abuse under the microscope in the wake of her latest read Woman of Substances. On the international front, we also heard from musician Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Tarantino music supervisor Mary Ramos and the CEO of the Worldwide Independent Network, Alison Wenham.

The panels at BIGSOUND this year didn’t shy away from attacking prevalent issues and themes including call out culture, safe spaces and of course, gender, but the discussion that resulted was, largely, healthy and well-experienced debate.

Perth singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly took out this year's Levis $25,000 Music Prize

Perth singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly took out this year's Levis $25,000 Music Prize

...TO THE STAGES

Throughout the nighttime showcases, BIGSOUND proved its programming power, lining up established talent with a hefty percentage of emerging artists. You had artists like Aurelia, who was performing her first ever show at BIGSOUND and the captivating NT group Kardajala Kirridarra, who were bringing their music down south for the first time.

Newcomers Stella Donnelly - who took out this year's music prize of $25,000 - Sloan Peterson [a new Music Love interview is coming out with Sloane soon!], Thandi Phoenix [again, a profile coming soon!] and Maribelle each took the reins and represented for their respective genres, while the likes of Alex the Astronaut, Teischa and Okenyo delivered on the considerable hype that had preceded their BIGSOUND appearances.

The voices telling stories of hurt, stories of love and yearning, stories of intense emotion, these were the ones we were switched on to; regardless of whether they were being belted down the microphone by Caiti Baker [a new Music Love interview is coming out with Caiti soon!] or spat out on the mic by Jesswar or Miss Blanks, these were moments where BIGSOUND really stood up to be counted as Australia’s premier event for music discovery.

Headlines broke in the wake of Tuesday’s programming that girls definitely held things down powerfully but in all honesty, this is a truth about women in Australian music for some time. The only difference here is that more sectors of the Australian industry have begun either waking up to the fact, or they’re becoming more comfortable in embracing it.