National News

Gold Coast live music scene is thriving

Fresh off the record-breaking success of the Groundwater Country Music Festival in July, the Gold Coast is ready to feature in a triple-shot of music festivals before the end of 2019.

The BIGSOUND Gold Coast Showcase hits Fortitude Valley in September, with Gold Coast talent including indie cool kids IVEY, electro songstress DVNA and scream-along surf-punks Radolescent to take the stage.

"BIGSOUND was always a goal for us," says IVEY singer and guitarist Lachlan McGuffie.

"We played the Gold Coast Showcase in 2017 and it really gave us a leg up, so to come back is big. We're going to put on an epic live show."

On the coast itself, the Grass is Greener festival hits Broadwater Parklands in late October with local hero Amy Shark a headline act alongside US rap sensation Tyga. The Sandtunes Music Festival rounds out the year at Coolangatta Beach at the end of November, the only Australian show for white-hot US artist Travis Scott this year.

The explosion of sound is part of the Gold Coast City Council's live music vision. The City has long supported the local music scene through grants, but the new Music Action Plan for 2021 will take things to a new level.

The Plan is built around the pillars of nurturing the growth of the city's music scene, creating visibility for artists, and recognising creativity.

"It ensures we recognise musicians as valuable contributors to the city's growing cultural reputation and economy and provide the support and investment needed within the local music community," says Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate.

And it's financial support from Council that has allowed some of the city's top artists to flourish.

"We got a grant last year through the City's Activate program," says McGuffie, who lives in Broadbeach.

"It helped us record our first EP, which was a breakthrough for us, so to have Council reserve money for that purpose is a big deal."

Country-rock singer-songwriter - and Gold Coast resident - Casey Barnes says the Council's support is invaluable to the scene.

"In this industry, you need support, particularly financial, and I think the Council does it well," he says.

"An investment in local talent is an investment in the Gold Coast, and it gives the city credibility as a music destination."

For IVEY, the city's venues proved to be a series of stepping stones to success.

"We started when we were all underage, so my dad had to drive us around to the venues," McGuffie says.

"But we worked hard, and just last year we had our first sold-out show, at Elsewhere in Surfers Paradise.

"The Gold Coast is often thought of as not having a culture of its own, but it does, and it's in the music scene. In the last four years the number of shows, and of people going to shows, has grown. There's a big audience out there for live music."

Barnes, who played to record crowds of 73,000 at Groundwater in July, says the Gold Coast has become a city of opportunity for musicians.

"The success of local artists has proven you can make it big on the Gold Coast. We have the tools and the talent."

This feature has been produced in collaboration with the City of Gold Coast

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