Never has there been more focus on the pluck and plight of the Australian roadie, largely thanks to the significant contribution made by Stuart Coupe and his 2018 book 'Roadies: The Secret History Of Australian Rock 'n' Roll'.
Through the book, Stuart carefully reveals
exactly what happens behind the scenes and what the men and women of road crews put themselves through to make sure the show goes on.
This year, Stuart returns to the Turn Up! Music Conference
on the Sunshine Coast to share all the knowledge he can remember from a lifetime in rock & roll.
“I came up for the conference for the first time last year and really enjoyed it, and I must have something vaguely interesting because they've invited me back,” Stuart laughs.
For Turn Up! this year, Stuart reconnects with colleague and fellow industry veteran Howard Freeman
, who helped Stuart with research for 'Roadies'. Stuart says much of what they present at Turn Up! will be in the same vein as his book.
“A lot of it will be a continuation of a lot of the things I talked about in 'Roadies', because one of the other guests this year is Howard Freeman, and Howard I consider to be the king of Australian roadies. Certainly he was my go-to guy for information about Australian roadies and technical sides of things,” he says.
“We're doing some stuff together that will be geared toward people who come to the conference who want to work in the live music industry and are interested in sound mixing or lighting or road crew work, all of that sort of thing; what goes on behind the scenes and the myriad job opportunities and career opportunities that are there.”
Turn Up! Music Conference is gaining traction as one of the premier music industry gatherings in regional Queensland since its first edition in 2014. This year's line-up also includes heavy-hitter Michael Chugg
along with a full programme of workshops, panels, masterclasses and a live showcase of emerging talent.
For Stuart's second time at Turn Up!, he's excited to meet in-person Sophie Kirov, a renowned tour manager who Stuart interviewed for 'Roadies' and lauds as one of the bright, young stars of the Australian live music industry.
“One of the few people that I spoke to for the 'Roadies' book but never got to meet in the flesh was Sophie Kirov,” he says. “She is part of this new breed of Australian road crew. Delightfully, she's a woman of course and the whole technical side of the music industry has really opened up over the past few years and there are many more women working in it.
“Sophie has built up a real global reputation for her abilities and she's coming to this conference, so I'm excited to be doing a panel with her.”
Whether you're a roadie-in-training, musician on the rise or simply curious about what a future in music might look like for you, Stuart says there's no shortage of advice ready for the taking at Turn Up!.
“Between me – the guy who's chronicled roadies – Howard Freeman – the godfather of Australian roadies – and Sophie who very much is the epitome of the new, switched-on generation... there's a lot [of experience].”
Turn Up! Music Conference takes place at Solbar (Sunshine Coast) 17-18 October.