Speedily approaching it’s 15th year, music festival and industry conference BIGSOUND has an impressive line-up of guest speakers and new artists. The 3-day event will grace Fortitude Valley from the 7th to the 9th of September. As a paramount event in the Australian music industry, BIGSOUND celebrates local talent and educates those new and old to the scene. In the

In the lead-up to the conference, we chatted to co-programmer Maggie Collins, the newest addition to BIGSOUND’s programming team. Joining executive programmer Nick O’Byrne for her first year of contributing to the conference, Collins has her eyes set on big things for the future of BIGSOUND.

Beginning with a graveyard shift at 4ZZZ, Maggie Collins has worn many hats throughout her blooming career. Focusing firstly on radio, then branching out to artist management, Collins now presents the weekend afternoon show on triple j. She also co-owns Fans Creative Management, the managment brains behind The John Steel Singers, DZ Deathrays and The Creases.

Ultimately, she’s killing it. Below she talks the BIGSOUND experience, Seymour Stein and what’s next….

Besides the plethora of local talent set to be showcased, what are the new additions to this year’s BIGSOUND?

A lot of the audience that attends BIGSOUND is at an intermediate to advanced level in the music industry, but for those that are just starting out, this year we have extensive workshops that cover everything from business management and taxation, to touring logistics and team building!

How do you think BIGSOUND influences the Australian music industry?

It’s good to get together with your peers at least once a year to discuss what’s new, what’s going on, what the trends are, and what’s sounding good. There’s no better way to do that than in a retreat-style environment for everyone who’s travelling to the event, and for locals, it’s a great opportunity to show-off the fine city of Brisbane!

How do you think BIGSOUND assists in bridging the gap between industries in Australia and overseas?

BIGSOUND is Australia’s premier export showcase conference. International speakers come out every year, from a range of backgrounds, to make connections with local artists (and a handful of developing international acts). Thankfully due to the support Australian artists have received over the past 5 or so years, those international delegates are eager to make the journey to  discover the talent that lies here, and BIGSOUND is a great event to see many in one spot!

Given your experience as an artist manager, what would you want someone aspiring to work in the music industry to experience when attending BIGSOUND?

I want them to have a great time! That is one of the best things about BIGSOUND is how much fun it is. It was so exciting for me as a young manager to learn new things, and make new connections. Let alone getting to see that many new acts.

Which artist and/or speaker are you looking forward to the most?

Oooo tricky one! For the artists, that’s like choosing between my children. For the sake of answering the question, one act that I’m really curious about is Gawurra. I really enjoyed his recorded music and I’d love to see how he performs it live. On the speaker front, as a manager, I can’t wait to hear from Jaddan Comerford. I really respect what he has built and this will be such a great platform to get an insight into his vision.

Personally, what’s your favourite part of BIGSOUND?

In other industries, “networking” can be a cold transaction just to get something from someone. In the music industry, some of the best business partnerships can form from simply making new friends. It’s hanging with my mates in the industry, and experiencing the conference and live music together, that I love most about BIGSOUND.

What’s the most challenging part of the programming BIGSOUND?

Deadline week.

BIGSOUND 2016 keynote speaker: Jaddan Comerford (UNFD) – visit www.bigsound.org.au for conference passes today! Jaddan Comerford is the founding owner of UNIFIED, one of Australia’s fastest growing independent companies. UNIFIED is a music company that provides a range of services including management, label, publishing, touring, festivals and merchandise to a diverse roster of internationally recognised and awarded artists. The company is also home to a group of established brands including UNFD, 24 Hundred, ONETWO and NLV Records, as well as the newly launched touring arm UNIFY presents and record label 1825 Records. Currently based in New York City, Comerford oversees the global expansion of UNIFIED, which also has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, New York and London. Jaddan’s passion for artists, music and the independent community is stronger than ever as he works with Australian artists both locally and internationally.

A photo posted by BIGSOUND (@bigsound) on

What would you want an artist to experience as a performer?

I really hope that they too would have a great time, and play in front of a fun responsive crowd. But at the same time, this is a showcase environment where sometimes an act and their team can be flying by the seat of their pants. I’d hope that they’d be prepared for that and do the best possible preparation in the lead-up.

How have you seen BIGSOUND change over time?

This is my first year working with the event, but this will be my 11th BIGSOUND, so I do feel like I’ve been somewhat part of the family for a while. It’s certainly grown exponentially over recent years in reputation both nationally and globally. A huge part of its consistent success is due to the expert production and running of the event by the Q Music team.

Prior to your involvement, did you attend the conference and what were your biggest lessons learnt?

I’ve been to 10 BIGSOUNDs and I’ve definitely learnt a lot. At first, I was learning new things, then after a couple of years, the things I knew were getting repeated back to me, so it became more of a validating experience. Early on at BIGSOUND you learn the importance of research and preparation, and it’s just as important the tenth time as it was the first time.

What has been your most memorable moment from BIGSOUND?

I remember one year I was invited to a dinner with Seymour Stein with only a handful of other people. I was a very young manager and thought that was such an honour to receive. Opportunities like that happen all the time when you put yourself out there at the conference. You just have to be present.

Looking forward, what would you like to see added to the BIGSOUND experience?

In terms of things being “added” to BIGSOUND, our goal is to ensure the event never gets too big to enjoy. I would like to see more international delegates recognising the conference as one of the key events on their calendar to attend each year so that we can continue to provide opportunities for Australian acts to do deals at home and internationally, as that’s the point of the whole thing.

7th to the 9th of September 2016
Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Conference and festival tickets are now on sale via bigsound.org.au.