With ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and domestic border closures, BIGSOUND 2020 will now move to be a free virtual event, allowing and creating new opportunities for Australian artists and industry to connect with each other and the international music community from their own homes and workspaces.

Connecting digitally on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October, BIGSOUND 2020 will focus on three pillars of community, survival, and re-futuring, building on its 18-year history of bringing music, art and business together in a new conference program custom-built for the challenges and awakenings that 2020 has delivered.

“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,” said QMusic CEO Angela Samut.

“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.”

Despite the unfortunate suspension of live showcases, BIGSOUND Festival co-programmers Dom Miller and Ruby-Jean McCabe, alongside First Nations Programmer Alethea Beetson, will still select the best artist applications to spotlight the next crop of emerging Australian music talent to become The BIGSOUND50. The event will double down on its role in shining a global spotlight on the artists of tomorrow and sharing them with the wider music industry to further expand audiences and connect them with potential business relationships.

As well as significant coverage across BIGSOUND and its official online media and playlists, the artists will receive one-on-ones with industry mentors, online meetings with industry professionals, and opportunities to connect with relevant delegates both during and after BIGSOUND in a unique program to help assist their artist growth, career goals, and potential future pathways. The BIGSOUND50 artists will also get first priority application access for BIGSOUND 2021, giving special consideration for attendance and live performing at next year’s event as the industry moves towards a new normal.

The full BIGSOUND program will be released in late September, under the care of Creative Director Janne Scott, Conference Programmer Tom Larkin, and First Nations Producer and Programmer Alethea Beetson.

The innovative BIGSOUND 2020 virtual program of keynote addresses, online workshops, panels and discussions will explore the serious industrial needs of the business of music, bringing together key players to plot our immediate survival, while taking this unique opportunity in history to have the necessary discussions about re-futuring the building blocks on which we operate.

BIGSOUND will have big conversations, from the new commercial realities through to the mental and physical health of industry participants. From equity of revenue to equity of opportunity, from respect for business through to respect for the community on which it’s built, BIGSOUND will ask the questions and prompt the discussions that need to be had to build a strong industry that will walk us forward into the next decade.

BIGSOUND will again feature First Nations House in partnership with Spotify (this year virtually) providing a poignant and important program of domestic and international delegates discussing the future of the music industry, creating virtual performance opportunities and offering valuable connections to those across the music industry from a First Nations perspective.

“BIGSOUND 2019 saw the largest cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists showcasing at BIGSOUND,” said First Nations programmer Alethea Beetson.

“With the move to a virtual platform, we have the potential to showcase First Nations artists throughout the whole year; have the long-term Indigenous led conversations required to dismantle and change the music industry; and continue the work of those who have gone before us in building the sovereign music sector.”

“Working with Spotify, we are able to give more space to First Nations artists from these lands, and also continue our collaborations with our First Nations relatives across the oceans – in particular Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Turtle Island (Canada).”

Delegates who purchased a ticket to the BIGSOUND physical event will receive a full refund with free digital registrations open from today at www.bigsound.org.au. The full BIGSOUND delegate portal will be open for registrants from the end of September for networking and exclusive content.

BIGSOUND 2020 won’t have a physical presence this year, but it will deliver on the promise it has made to the music community for 18 years. This was not the year anyone expected, but BIGSOUND will continue to deliver for artists, be the place of the big discussions for industry, and this year be front and centre in bringing the community together at a time that has never been more important.

Free virtual delegate passes are available now from BIGSOUND.org.au