Music Careers Symposium
Southern Cross University, Lismore Campus, D Block | 9am–3pm | Friday 16 August 2019 | Free (bookings essential)
‘When I started out it was a poster war; you’d wait around the corner for someone to put theirs up and then you’d put yours over the top,’ says Glenn Wright, director of Mullum Music Festival and Bello Winter Music. Glenn started out in Sydney where he managed the Harbourside Brasserie, one of the legendary live venues of the late 80s and 90s. During this time he also established and independent label, Vitamin Records.
Glenn is one of the industry professionals who will be speaking at Southern Cross University’s Music Careers Symposium.
While things may have changed in regard to technology, Glenn believes nothing really has changed that much when it comes to the business of putting on music.
‘It’s no harder and no easier than it ever was. What remains consistent is that you have to be passionate about what you are doing. You have to cover all of the bases. You still have to walk the streets putting up posters and telling everyone about your gig. You can’t just expect that it’s going to happen with a few posts on social media,’ says Glenn.
Promotion and marketing and the staging of events are some of the topics that will be covered at the Symposium.
Music careers aren’t just about being being on stage. Many people in the industry work in ancillary industries, creating events, managing artists, or creating branding or marketing tools for musicians. In the end it’s all about the one simple outcome: to get people to hear your music. Then to get people to buy your music or come and see your band or solo act.
Glenn believes understanding the industry is crucial for musicians, particularly as many are now embarking on careers as independent artists. Although love of your work, he believes, comes first.
‘The best musicians in my opinion are those who are happiest in their career and go about doing what they love, and then go about trying to make money. Not the other way around.’
That being so, it’s clear that creative passionate people who make music need the support of many other industry professionals to grow their work.
For Glenn, who has been running music festivals for well over two decades, these kinds of events offer promoters a chance to get new music in front of an audience and also require an event organiser to be innovative.
‘If you don’t have an idea, whether it’s a piano bar or a street parade or a youth mentorship, you can struggle to keep interest.’
Glenn believes it’s about innovating to maintain both the interest of the media, the public, and, most importantly, yourself as an event creator.
‘You have to put on a good show and then decide if you still want to do it.’ Being in the music industry, particularly in promotion and events, takes enormous resilience; there are no guarantees that events are going to succeed, and music festivals as an arts event receive very little government support in comparison to smaller more niche ‘theatre’ or ‘cultural’ events. Glenn finds this a little surprising considering the enormous amount of GST festivals generate for government revenues.
‘What we do receive is usually in tourism funding to grow our market, not for the actual “artistic” side of what we are doing. And the monies are dwarfed by the GST we end up sending back each year.’
Resilience, innovation, and industry challenges and other topics will be discussed when Glenn Wright speaks with SCU alumni Kate Stroud of the Dusty Attic Music Lounge, Lynette Irwin, artistic director for Brisbane International Jazz Festival and Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival, and Cindy Jensen of Buskers by the Creek on the Gold Coast.
This is just one of the conversations happening on Friday 16 August. This is a free event and anyone interested is invited to attend – bookings are essential though