Inside Festivals: Intel from Curators - MusicNSW

Get insider knowledge on approaching festival organisers, crafting standout pitches or applications, and understanding the key factors that influence lineup selections.

Come away with:

  • Insights into the festival lineup selection process and the criteria festival organisers consider when booking artists.
  • Strategies for crafting standout pitches and presenting yourself effectively to festival curators.

This is part of our series Sound Advice: Regional Touring Panels, Talks and Masterclasses. Regional artists and industry, whether you want to build your fanbase, secure that coveted festival slot, or master the art of radio pitching, join our industry experts as we delve into regional touring.

Ben Tillman

Venue Booker + Promoter + Label Owner + Publisher

Ben Tillman has worked in the music industry for 17 years as a venue booker, festival promoter, as well as running a record label & a publishing company. He is currently the exclusive Venue Booker for Wollongong venues La La La's, UOW UNIBAR, North Gong Hotel, Dicey Riley's + Canberra’s Kambri (ANU). He also owns publishing company FO PAS (Hockey Dad, The Pinheads, TEES, Totally Unicorn, Shining Bird, Tropical Strength, Step-Panther), runs the Farmer & The Owl record label (Hockey Dad, The Pinheads, TEES, Totally Unicorn, Bec Sandridge, Tropical Strength, Bad//Dreems, Paradise Club. and Moaning Lisa) and is the promoter for Yours & Owls Festival and the Farmer & The Owl Festival.

Rhoda Roberts AO

Festival Founder + Artistic Director

A much-awarded arts executive, Rhoda Roberts received an AO for distinguished service to the performing arts, leadership, advocacy and promoting contemporary Indigenous culture. Rhoda has been deeply involved in festivals for almost 30 years, including being the Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival of the Dreaming, Sydney Dreaming Festival and the Dreaming Festival (1995-2009), Co-founder and Artistic Director of the QPAC Clancestry Festival and Artistic Director of Parrtjima Festival & Boomerang Festival, Festival Director for Garma Festival (2010) and a programmer for Bluesfest, Shine on Gimuy (Cairns), Australian World Music Expo and Woodford Folk Festival. She also led the First Nations department at Sydney Opera House, where she commissioned and programmed musical acts.

Donna Ballard

Festival Coordinator, Wingham Music Festival

Donna Ballard is deeply connected to the mid north coast communities and this underscores her commitment to arts and cultural development. As well as coordinating the annual Wingham Music Festival, which has been running since 2007, Donna serves as a board member of Arts Mid North Coast and is the Chief Executive Officer of Taree Universities Campus and represents NSW in the Regional University Centre Network.

Nino Haggith

Musician + Festival GM + Media Coordinator + Host

Nino Haggith is a seasoned musician with a wealth of experience in the industry and regional music festival landscape. He has been the General Manager at Mullum Music Festival and Bello Winter Music festival, as well as Media & Photography Coordinator at Bluesfest Byron Bay and Arts Village Operations Manager at Falls Music and Arts Festival. Nino performs in the Dustyesky choir, and has toured internationally and played countless festivals as a vocalist and percussionist in Invisible Friend.

MusicNSW is working across the state to increase contemporary music touring, expand artists and industry networks, and build on existing industry knowledge in regional NSW. As part of our Sound Advice program, we are delivering six workshops to share best practices for touring regional NSW with emerging musicians and industry. To stay up to date with upcoming sessions, sign up to our newsletter.

MusicNSW pays respect to Elders past and present, and extend those respects to the First Nations peoples of NSW and beyond. Always was, always will be.

MusicNSW is supported by Create NSW and APRA AMCOS.