MusicNSW’s Top 5 Picks of Sydney’s Biggest Contributors to the Grass Roots Music Community - MusicNSW

The Drum Media Column
Edition 1119, Week 17.7.12
By Scarlett Di Maio 

Recently SPA and The Music presented the inaugural AMID Top 50 Most Powerful People in the Music Industry. At MusicNSW, we also recognise many of the brilliant men and women that place value on our creative community, so we decided to put together a list of who we believe are the Top 5 contributors to the music industry that provide innovative avenues for creative expression and affordable platforms for artists to establish their careers and support emerging artists.

1. Stu Buchanan has been invaluable in his commitment to Sydney’s music community. He is the founder of the boutique digital agency multiplatform agency The Nest, but it’s his more community minded roles that caught our attention.  Buchanan aided in the establishment of Sydney’s FBI Radio, as well as managing the station for over three years. He went on to create experimental music platform New Weird Australia, where he has been responsible for connecting innovative like-minded artists, enthusiasts and promoters from across the country actively encouraging the recognition and showcasing of experimental artists within NSW. Most recently Buchanan launched the Vagrant Small Grants Initiative-an open source platform that funds a travelling gig series by offering small one-off grants to encourage more accessible eclectic and experimental live music events.

2. Morwenna Collett is an active musician herself. In between performing, Collett manages the music program at the Australian Council of the Arts and has paved the way for making grants and funding opportunities for our musicians easier and more accessible, also ensuring that a wide variety of genres are represented – giving contemporary musicians some much needed extra presence on the national art stage.

3. Clover Moore has been actively ensuring that music, arts and culture are recognised as intrinsic to the City of Sydney. Moore believes that a flourishing cultural life enriches our city and contributes to our community and sense of identity. Moore advocates for increasing access to the arts and culture through free and low cost events, committed to ensuring inner Sydney has affordable platforms for new artists, musicians, authors and performers to experiment and establish their careers. However, the most exciting project that has come out of the City of Sydney offices has been the Oxford Street Creative & Cultural Spaces project, giving music organisations an affordable area within a cultural hub to call their own, showing a dedication to nurturing music and the arts.

4. Cass Wilkinson is one of the founder’s of Sydney’s music, art and culture community radio station, FBi Radio. Wilkinson’s passion towards community radio continued as she was Vice President for CBAA. All the while Cass has been a public-access media advocate, speaking and writing widely about culture, society and politics. She has worked for public, private and non-profit organisations developing and advising on social policy for 17 years and has had an invaluable contribution to a number of facets of the music community. 

5. Phill Nunn & Sera Harris from Mission Australia’s Creative Youth Initiatives have made our list for the development and continuation of Mission Australia’s Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) – a unique service that develops the inner creativity of young people at risk. Pioneered by Nunn in 1993 through his work with the homeless and disadvantaged youth of Kings Cross and currently being taken from strength to strength by CYI’s new Service Manager Sera Harris. CYI’s music progam Sounds of the Street (SOTS) is a TAFE accredited course whereby students are encouraged to create songs and are introduced to music software to gain an understanding of the music industry. Nineteen years on and 22 compilation albums later, SOTS is spinning towards their 20th anniversary next year. Harris’ passion and tireless dedication to the program and Sydney’s young people is invaluable to our community and doesn’t go unrecognised.

Whilst we could only fit in a short list of five contributors, there are hundreds of people out there working hard at ensuring that the music scene thrives – not only in Sydney, but also around New South Wales. To all the independent bands, booking agents, venue owners, artist run spaces, radio volunteers, sound guys, door bitches, graphic designers and punters – thank you for doing your bit to make music great.

Who are YOUR Top 5? Tweet us your opinions @MusicNSW!