The biggest music conference and showcase in the Southern Hemisphere, BIGSOUND will not go ahead in 2021 – it's been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID issues relating to the various lockdowns and general uncertainty about border closures.
Produced by QMusic, the decision to cancel BIGSOUND (which had being scheduled for 7-9 September) is yet another blow for the struggling music and arts scene, which has been severely impacted during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Without our music mates in New South Wales and Victoria, and no certain timeline as to when domestic borders will remain open, BIGSOUND 2021 wouldn't be able to deliver on its promise to reunite the music community for three extraordinary days of connection, conversation, and music discovery," QMusic CEO, Kris Stewart says.
"As 2021 marks BIGSOUND's 20th anniversary, we are committed to coming through the unpredictable and relentless nature of COVID to celebrate this significant milestone with something special later this year, so watch this space for more to be revealed in the coming months."
Only last month #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and punk-rock-activist icon Henry Rollins had been announced as 2021 keynote speakers.
While this is yet another roadblock for the local independent music industry, Little BLAKSOUND (an offshoot of BIGSOUND) will proceed as planned on 6 September.
The 100 per cent First Nations youth-led music conference presented by Digi Youth Arts will feature curators Sycco, Jem Cassar-Daley, DOBBY, and Loki Liddle mentored by BIGSOUND First Nations Programmer and Producer, Alethea Beetson in a programme that will elevate, celebrate and represent the voices and perspectives of current and up-and-coming First Nations artists and industry workers.
For anyone struggling with the continued issues related to COVID or even in general, BIGSOUND wants to share the following message: "Stay safe, and if you need support during this time, please remember that Support Act has non-competitive financial relief grants available for musicians, crew and music workers doing it tough right now, as well as a free Wellbeing Helpline for 24/7 support at 1800 959 500."
All BIGSOUND 2021 ticket holders and artist application fees will be refunded in the coming weeks.