BIGSOUND 2013: Round-up

Words by Hugh McClure.

The whirlwind that is BIGSOUND 2013 is over for another year, but after a thoroughly enjoyable few days in Brisbane’s the Valley, I’m already counting down the days till next year’s event. Arriving late on Tuesday night, I was immediately amazed at how close all the venues were together, making it the perfect city to host such a densely scheduled event.

What followed over the next three days exceeded my expectations over and over again. The conference itself ran incredibly smoothly, with quality over quantity the order of the day. Sessions on the future of Management and Radio were the standouts for me, while keynotes from Billy Bragg and Gurrumul were hugely inspirational and entertaining. BIGSOUND Live was perfect too, and it was really great to see how many locals (who weren’t part of the conference) came out to support live music in their city. While I only saw a small quantity of the bands on show (there are more than 120 playing over the two nights), Jonti, Grizzly Jim Lawrie and The Trouble with Templeton were my favourites.

The highlight for me was all the new people I met. Everyone was so happy to be there and it was impossible to get from one place to another without bumping into a friendly face – serious bro/lady-bro hangs were had.

BIGSOUND is an event I’ve wanted to go to for a few years now but have never got around to it. If you’re in the same boat as I was, I cannot recommend it more highly – make sure you book it in for next year, you won’t be disappointed.

So…after my first year, here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up:
1. Bring shorts – Brisbane is a lot hotter than Sydney – walking around in +30 degree days in jeans is not an intelligent thing to do.

2. Reverends Coffee – Friendly staff, great food and coffee. Try the cold drip.

3. Don’t make too many plans – you’ll end up breaking the majority of them (and that’s ok!).

4. Pace yourself – 1pm beers sound good, but are an awful decision with so much more to do each day.

5. Don’t be shy – you’ll be amazed at how friendly and approachable everyone is, and how many people you’ll bump into.

6. Keep an eye on the twitter feed. There are always a number of interesting and well-written twitter warriors on the go. Top of the class this year was undoubtedly Tommy Faith of Sound Doctrine fame (

7. Check out the exhibitions – this year was the first year Music + Design was featured as part of the conference, and they had a room dedicated to that match during the whole week. I spent a good half an hour watching the 3D printers and listening to the presenters talking about “future festivals”. Plus they had the best air-con in there. 

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