A moveable feast of artists poured onto the red carpet at the Enmore Theatre (26 October) for the 2016 Australian Independent Music Awards, congregating from adventures playing gigs at different places throughout the world: the Canada Folk Festival, Sydney Blues and Roots Festival and the Byron Bay wedding of Jeff Martin from The Tea Party.
Backstage, a flurry of women in satin dresses navigated the stairs in impossibly high heels, sound techies zoomed diagonally around a labyrinth of cables while downstairs artists roamed languidly, ate pizza and strummed their guitars.
Click here for photos from the red carpet.
According to illustrious Sydney party band collective King Farook, who presented the Alternative Artist award to PLGRMS, the AIMAs are “like the ARIAS but with cred”.
Peter Northcote presented the Instrumental award and told the crowd with absolute certainty: "I was the [past] winner of the Instrumental independent music award, and there's more of us ugly motherfuckers than there are of anyone else." The winner was Ben Craven for 'Critical Mass Part Two'.
Image © Claire Antagonym
Between presentations renowned Australian cellist John Robinson played alongside a Mongolian throat singer performing a song called 'Gobi Desert'. It was hectic and eerie and wonderful.
Mike Elrington won the Acoustic Singer-Songwriter award and absolutely nailed his acceptance speech. "It's never been a better time to be an independent artist. If anyone wants to write songs, play music and manage yourself, just fucking do it."
Special congratulations to the radiant Emma Mullings who walked away 2016 Independent Artist of the Year.
Emma Mullings - image © Claire Antagonym
MusicOz is the only Australian organisation dedicated to giving resources and exposure to artists who go it alone, play to tiny crowds, sleep in their cars and on floors touring regional areas and working their arses off, often to return with less money than they started with.
It was a wildly successful, weird and wonderful night that validated the immense need to support independent artists. To support small venues who choose to operate without the soul-draining profits from pokie machines and who, despite being flogged by Sydney’s inexplicable licensing legislation, noise complaints and council regulations, still continue to put on live gigs and nourish local musos.
Click here for more photos from the night.
The AIMAs showed everyone that Australia has a bucketload of rockstars. We just don't know about them yet. It was a chance to revel in the vast array of creative, freaky, niche, slightly left of centre stuff we have in this city.
In the words of Mike Elrington: “Just f#%cking do it.”
Click here for a full list of winners.
Image © Claire Antagonym