Well, Big Sound is done for another year and what a week it was. Every year the music festival, which is run in conjunction with the Big Sound Music Conference, delivers three nights of showcase performances by musical artists from across Australia and overseas. Whilst established artists will sometimes use the festival as an opportunity to unveil new music or reconnect with fans (Megan Washington and Butterfingers are two recent examples), it is the role Big Sound plays in providing exposure for emerging and upcoming artists that makes the festival so exciting and unique. The 2019 edition of the festival delivered great music and fantastic performances from an array of diverse artists across 18 different venues in Fortitude Valley. With the exception of ARIA chart-topping Tones & I, who packed Famous Nightclub for her Wednesday night show on the Triple J Unearthed Stage, most artists who featured at Big Sound 2019 are yet to achieve a similar level of success, despite the fact that they possess an abundance of talent as musicians and performers. Given the number of artists whose profiles and career trajectory has soared in the wake of positive notices emanating from their Big Sound appearance/s, it is not hard to imagine that numerous artists from this year’s line-up will become staples in playlists, music collections and festival line-ups in the years ahead.
So, who were the standouts of Big Sound 2019? That is a tough question because, like everybody else who attended, I was only able to catch a small number of the 150 artists, despite my best efforts in hustling from venue to venue. Of those I saw, the standard was universally high and it was particularly noticeable just how many women are making their mark, either as solo performers, band leaders or members of a collective. Almost all of the performances I attended left me wanting more from the artists and has certainly resulted in me seeking out their music for further appreciation. Among those artists who left a lasting impression are Teen Jesus & the Jean Teasers, Jaguar Jonze, Fritz, Flossy, Laura Imbruglia, Pinch Points, Egoism, Hope D, The Buoys, Sycco, Hallie, Ivey and Nancie Schipper.
Every year, Big Sound serves as a reminder of just how lucky Brisbane music fans are when it comes to accessing live music. There is no other city in Australia that can offer up 18 different venues (and more besides) within two minutes walking distance of each other (not to mention the likes of the nearby Triffid and Tivoli and numerous suburban venues as well). The opening of The Outpost added a stylish new venue to the festival schedule, while the outdoor stage at X-Cargo was also a great addition that I’m sure would be very welcome as a permanent fixture. Sure, some venues are a little lacking in space and/or amenity, but it is the diversity in the size and style of venues that makes Fortitude Valley, with the recently opened Fortitude Music Hall taking pride of place as the centrepiece of the entertainment precinct, Australia’s live music mecca.
The other particularly pleasing aspect of Big Sound this year was the quality local representation on the various stages, with numerous artists from Brisbane and surrounding regions dishing up many of the festival highlights.
With the increasing number of pre-festival shows and daytime sessions that now complement the official festival program, artists are securing additional performances and music fans now have access to a full week of live shows, many of which are free. Festival venues such The Foundry, The Brightside and The Outpost were amongst those hosting additional sessions during the week, while The Tivoli staged their Sonic Boom Festival featuring several Big Sound artists.
If you are mad about music but are yet to immerse yourself the Big Sound experience, there is no better way to enjoy live music and, just maybe, discover your new favourite band along the way. For photographic coverage of Big Sound, the various festival pre-parties and sideshows, and Sonic Boom, click here or check out Mr C Media on Facebook.