MusicNSW on the road: Grafton to Tenterfield - MusicNSW
MusicNSW On The Road in Tamworth, August 2023
At the end of August, Dave Burgener, Regional Manager for the North West and Northern Rivers regions of NSW, had the opportunity to travel to Grafton before connecting with Lauren Mackley from Arts North West to visit Armidale, Tamworth and Tenterfield, where he met musicians, venues and industry. Read his notes from the road here. 

My first stop was Grafton where I visited The Criterion Theatre and dropped by Grumpy’s Rock Café for some 1-on-1 drop-in meetings in the afternoon, followed by an Industry Mixer in the evening. I had the chance to meet Marty who teaches the Music & Production course at TAFE, Mitch Reynolds who organises the High Abilities band, and Fran from the Criterion Theatre. I could also reconnect with the good folks from Buckley’s Music, Hats Off, Brushgrove-based musician Pam Hata, Sarah Nash from Clarence Valley Council – and of course James from Grumpy’s Rock Café (thanks for hosting!).

The next day was my first trip to Armidale. I met up with Lauren Mackley from Arts North West, who are a contributing partner to MusicNSW’s regional team. We dropped by the New England Conservatorium of Music for a quick chat with Corinne Arter – Co-CEO (Artistic & Education) & Sophie Williams – Co-CEO (Business), before heading to the Welder’s Dog for more 1-on-1 meetings in the afternoon and an Industry Mixer in the evening.

We were treated to some great jazz music thanks to Katy Hazelwood Quartet, and great conversations with people like Tim Godwin from Magpie Studios, Paul Armstrong from Elekoustika, Damien from The Warts, Adrian Walsh from Fovndlings, Massiel Barros-Torning and the crew from Chilli Jam, Sheila Guymer from New England Conservatorium of Music, and David Carr from the Black Gully Festival. Thanks to Tom Croft and the team from the Welder’s Dog for hosting – and good luck with the new Brew Bar & Entertainment Centre venue that opened last month!

I was on the road again on Friday, making the drive to Tamworth with short stops at The Alternate Root in Uralla and The Bendemeer Hotel. It’s so great to see different types of venues providing performance opportunities for local and touring musicians. Lauren and I held our 1-on-1 drop-in meetings and the Industry Mixer at The Tamworth Hotel. I met musicians like Isis Ashton and Sewa Emojong (E.S Malaika), Amy Schultz (Music With AIM), and First Nations producer Athol Munro (Sound and Soul Records).

I also had the chance to connect with Skye Smith, Marketing Manager for The Pub Group (who run a number of venues in Tamworth), drop by The Press Basement Bar, and talk with some of the key people involved in the Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) including, Peter Ross - Manager Entertainment Venues and Executive Producer of the Golden Guitar Awards, as well as Barry Harley and Cheryl Brown from Tamworth Regional Council. Barry is the Manager of Events & Country Music, and Cheryl is the Country Music Coordinator, and Manager for Toyota Star Maker. Looking forward to coming back for TCMF2024!

Our final stop was Tenterfield, where Lauren and I again hosted some 1-on-1 drop in meetings and a small Industry Mixer. On the drive to Tenterfield, I stopped in to Wytaliba for the first time to visit the festival site for Deliverance. Later that afternoon, Lauren and we were joined by Councillor Kim Rhodes (great supporter of the local arts scene), and Kimbo from TenFM radio for a discussion about music, radio, placemaking and the arts community in Tenterfield. Again, it’s amazing to see the range of events and performance opportunities across regional NSW. Each area has its own unique characteristics that shape the challenges and opportunities for developing the regional music industry.

Stay tuned for more updates from the MusicNSW regional team.

Dave Burgener is the MusicNSW Regional Manager, based on Bundjalung Country, focusing across the North West and Northern Rivers regions. If you’re an artist or working in the music industry in these regions, contact Dave via email and join the regions' MusicNSW Facebook Group: North West, Northern Rivers.