When Maggie Collins was announced as BIGSOUND 2016 executive programmer, there was no doubt she was more than capable of fulfilling the role.
Now that BIGSOUND is quickly approaching, Brisbane music fans are eager to see what she and her co-programmer, Nick O’Byrne, have produced for the festival's 15th anniversary.
As executive programmers, Maggie and Nick organise and schedule all aspects of the festival including the conference sector and the live music. “We basically programme everything about the conference. That’s from the conference itself, so the people who speak on the panels and also what the actual panels are about and when they actually happen, and then there’s also the music as well that we programme. So we pick 150 bands and we programme all of those together,” Maggie explains.
This is Maggie’s first time working at BIGSOUND and for QMusic (the team behind the music conference and showcase). “Being from Brisbane myself, I’ve always been friends with the entire team at QMusic… I’ve always been close with them and then when I’ve gone to gigs in the past it’s been as an attendee or as a manager of one of the bands that are showcasing.
“I think back in the early days: I used to volunteer at 4ZZZ, I did some presenting there and was music director there. I probably went to BIGSOUND around that time with my media hat on and reported on a few things there with 4ZZZ. I’ve always come along, but this is the first time I’m actually working on it,” she says.
“I’ve always loved BIGSOUND and I never even considered that it would be a possibility that I would work for the conference itself until the opportunity came up and I was happy to do the job that I was born to do.”
BIGSOUND is Australia’s premier, music-industry conference and new music showcase that brings together internationally significant keynote speakers with live music discoveries. Maggie describes the event as compulsory training for those in the music industry. “I guess I have this little, weird analogy where doctors and dentists and those kinds of professions, it’s their job to continually do re-training each year; it’s actually a legal requirement for them,” she explains.
“So it’s kind of like that with the music industry and BIGSOUND provides that annual event for everyone to get together and talk about what is actually happening in the music world and what it’s going to look like tomorrow… All of these things get discussed in the arena of BIGSOUND and that’s really important because it’s good to have that discussion with everyone together in the same spot.”
Not only will BIGSOUND 2016 be Maggie’s first year as executive programmer, it is also the festival’s 15th birthday. To celebrate, it is the largest BIGSOUND festival to date and the whole event will acknowledge the milestone. “It's hard to pin-point one portion of it that’s going to be the time that we say ‘Happy Birthday BIGSOUND’, apart from when it launches on Tuesday night (6 September), because the whole thing is a whole collection of celebratory events,” Maggie says.
“My favourite part of BIGSOUND every year, which will be the same for this year, is just getting to see all of my favourite people in the one spot. There’s so many great people that go there, and the reason why we work in the music industry is because we get the ability to work and create things with the people we like, who are our colleagues, and when they’re all there together seeing live music, celebrating live music and seeing new music, it’s always a really fun experience.”