There, to make sure everything goes according to plan, is Graham ‘Asho’ Ashton, BIGSOUND’s Executive Programmer.
Firstly, congrats on being re-appointed as Executive Programmer for next year’s event ... you must be chuffed to get another 12 months in the role?
Thanks mate. I'm absolutely stoked for a couple of reasons. I have a very clear picture in my head on the direction for BIGSOUND 2013 and I think it's a great call for the event to have a handover period between the programmers [AIR General Manager Nick O’Byrne takes over in 2014].
On the eve of the 2012 event ... how’s it all shaping up?
Feels great. The conference has sold out way past capacity than last year. We still have some work to do to communicate to local music fans that BIGSOUND LIVE is the best value music festival around, but we are getting there slowly.
The Brisbane music community ... does BIGSOUND define the local scene? Or is it more an opportunity for Brisbane to showcase the city’s musical talent to the rest of the country?
The artists define the local scene and have done since the ’50s. BIGSOUND is just a bunch of passionate music fans having a crack at making a significant statement on behalf of Queensland and Australian music. It wouldn’t matter how hard we worked or how smart we were if the artists weren't great.
Over the last couple of years, the conference has mushroomed in popularity, both with industry participants and the general public ... how important is it that Australia has an event like BIGSOUND in its own backyard? And on that note, that it happens in Queensland?
It's vital that Australia has a proper gathering of the tribe for it's music community, and BIGSOUND has become that event and why not have it in Brisbane in the spring?
Brisbane as an important music hub ... we're no longer the second cousins from up north?
It's cyclical and it comes down to the artists. Brisbane music shone brightly in the ’70s, ’90s and Queensland music is shining brightly again now. Some of the most exciting artists are coming from regional areas, which is really interesting to me.
Two nights of live music across numerous venues around the Valley ... it’s going to be pure madness for the music purists?
I see it is an opportunity to see a few songs each from dozens of artists that interest me. Kinda like dating before consummating.
Who are some of the unknowns this year who you expect to become household names over the next 12-24 months?
I certainly have my theories on that one, but will take the fifth.
The calibre of conference speakers and artists in 2012; you must be pleased to have such names on the bill: Ball Park Music, Clare Bowditch, Oh Mercy (Little BIGSOUND), David Bridie, Ian Haug, Ben Lee, Mark Poston (EMI)?
It's a wonderful line-up. You forget to mention MR STEVE EARLE.
From an international perspective, does BIGSOUND rate ... are we on the global musical map?
Absolutely! I travel all over the world going to these kind of events and I’m constantly humbled by the global reputations of BIGSOUND.
An event like South By Southwest in the US ... do you draw a lot from how it is organised and promoted when planning BIGSOUND?
It's like anything, you learn what to do and what not to do.
In five years; how do you expect BIGSOUND to have developed in that time?
I think consolidated growth is really important. I would like to see us eventually move over the other side of Wickham Tce and to extend to 150 bands over 15 venues. I would love to see 20 international bands make up that 150 and the event to continue to be the must attend event for good people of the global music community.
BIGSOUND takes place at numerous Fortitude Valley venues Wednesday and Thursday Sep. 12-13.