Cut Copy Poster Exhibition Celebrates Brisbane's Late '70s & '80s Subversive Music Scene

'Cut Copy: Brisbane Music Posters 1977–87' is free exhibition housed at the State Library Of Queensland (Brisbane), running until 9 May, 2021. 'Cut Copy: Brisbane Music Posters 1977–87' is free exhibition housed at the State Library Of Queensland (Brisbane), running until 9 May, 2021.

A definitive collection of music posters (around 350) spotlighting Brisbane's burgeoning music scene of the late 1970s and '80s is currently on display at the State Library Of Queensland.

The culmination of a research project by QUT Creative Industries music lecturer and former Go-Betweens member Dr John Willsteed, 'Cut Copy: Brisbane Music Posters 1977–87' uncovers rare handmade music posters and handbills that promoted the small, often underground, independent music scene.

It also captures the city's subversive youth culture of the time.

Poster One
Damien Ledwich. Triple Zed joint effort, 1981, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Curated by Robyn Hamilton and Rueben Hillier at State Library, the exhibition (free to the public) was inspired by material Dr Willsteed – was a member The Go-Betweens in the late '80s and has been playing with Brisbane-based Halfway since 2010 – collected during research carried out in 2017 after receiving the Letty Katts Award in 2016.

"The Letty Katts Award from State Library supports the research and documenting of Queensland's music history," Dr Willsteed says.

"I put out a call on social media for posters relating to music: bands, venues, festivals etc. The focus was on Brisbane and it has been a lot of fun, not least because the period is one in which I first began playing music."

Poster Two
John Willsteed. A Pool Party - no bombing!, 1981. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Bands featured include The Saints, The Riptides, The Go-Betweens, The Leftovers, The Upsets, RAZAR and The Black Assassins.

"About 350 posters were donated," Dr Willsteed says, "and with research assistant Alan Boyle, a comprehensive document was developed: bands, venues, dates, designers and so on.

Poster Three
Ed Wreckage. Rock and Roll: The Leftovers and Razar at the Beehive, 1978. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

"Each item has a story to tell and I love them. They have so much to say about Brisbane in those quite repressive Joh Bjelke-Petersen years.

"I made some of the posters, played some of the shows and was a punter at others, so it has brought back many memories and given me an opportunity to help flesh out Brisbane's sub-cultural history."

'Cut Copy: Brisbane Music Posters 1977–87' is free exhibition housed at the State Library Of Queensland (Brisbane), running until 9 May, 2021.

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