500 Miles of Music to lift spirits of rural communities doing it tough

Organisers of a travelling country music festival across the Flinders Ranges and Outback are hoping the event will help lift the spirits of locals struggling with the impacts of drought.

The inaugural 500 Miles of Music in July will make its way across four outback locations, Wombat Flat near Eudunda, Quorn, Blinman and William Creek, entertaining locals and visitors as well as travellers on their way to the Big Red Bash, the world’s most remote music festival in Birdsville, the following week.

Award-winning country artists Adam Harvey, Brad Butcher, Aleyce Simmonds, Michaela Jenke and Matt James will perform at each of the 500 Miles events.

The idea for a travelling music festival exclusive to the Far North was born from established foley artist John Simpson who lives in Quorn, where he has managed to maintain an extensive career in the film industry, working on titles such as Mad Max: Fury Road, The Water Diviner, and Les Misérables.

John says he was inspired to bring a big event to his hometown and surrounding outback places as they often miss out on hosting musical or cultural events.

“We kind of miss out in the middle and I just wanted to have something special for Quorn …I guess you always push your own barrel, but it’s a nice place and there are plenty of accommodation and camping spots,” he says.

“We hope to make this happen every year. The Big Red Bash is QLD’s biggest remote music festival, and I really want to this one (500 Miles) to become SA’s big outback music festival, and not just concentrate on one town but many towns so everybody has a bite.”

The future of 500 Miles of Music has been secured through a $19,000 grant by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. John and his team have also worked hard to secure the support of major sponsors, OZ Minerals, Nitschke Chaff and Freight and Wrights Air.

500 Miles of Music will travel from Wombat Flat to, Quorn, Blinman and William Creek Hotel in the Flinders Ranges. Photo: SATC.

With farmers across the state reporting some of the driest conditions in recent memory, John says an event like 500 Miles of Music could help take their minds off the tough times. He says the event also offers locals an experience on their doorstep rather than requiring them to travel long distances.

“Everyone can have a fun time out and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. A lot of the towns like William Creek for instance, which is surrounded by cattle country, they don’t have anything like this to go to normally. It’s the same with Blinman and all the people around there,” John says.

“If we can keep these people laughing and having a good time, that’s what’s important.”

John worked alongside friends Mike Roberts who runs The Barn at Wombat Flat, one of the venues for the festival, and Rob Baumann to pull the event together. 500 Miles of Music will raise money for cancer charity Mummy’s Wish with 15% of the profits going towards the cause.


John Simpson inside his remote foley recording studio.

Aside from his main gig as foley artist under Quorn-based business Feet’n’Frames, John also runs a sound equipment business Outback PA Hire which will provide the set up for 500 Miles.

John has lived in the Flinders Ranges town for about 15 years and works from his sound-proofed shed studio on his 300-acre outback property. It’s from this isolated yet serene location that John is able to record and create sounds without interference of traffic and other noises he would find in cities.

He has an extensive list of film credits to his name including recently released Australian romantic comedy Top End WeddingWorld War Z, The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit and Diana. John is currently working on I Am Woman, a film about 1970s musician and activist Helen Reddy.

“Because of the internet it doesn’t really matter where I go for my job, but I do like the quietness, it means I can record outside without buses driving past my back door,” John says.

“I’ve lived in cities and worked out of Sydney for many years and it’s just not nice when you go for a break outside and you’re surrounded by smog. It’s much nicer to head out the door and into the country.”

500 Miles of Music will launch at The Barn at Wombat Flat on July 6 (sold out) before heading to the Quorn Oval on July 7. It will then hit the North Blinman Hotel on July 8 before the finale at the William Creek Hotel from July 10–11. Click here to purchase tickets.

Feature image: Oodnadatta Track, Flinders Ranges and Outback, SATC.

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Mad March reaches peak as world acts prepare for WOMADelaide

Vibrant explosions of colour and a kaleidoscope of world dance and music are expected to once again add to Adelaide’s busiest time of year as preparations for this long weekend’s WOMADelaide festival enter their final stages.

Thousands of people, including locals and interstate and overseas visitors, will descend on Botanic Park from March 8–11 to enjoy four packed days of world dance, music and art installations from the peak of the day into the late of the night.

Event organisers say they’re expecting similar attendance numbers to last year’s event at 96,000 people in total.

Hundreds of artists from more than 30 countries will work their magic at WOMAD, performing at multiple areas spread throughout the park. Inspirational young soul performer Adrian Eagle, of Adelaide’s northern suburbs, joins this year’s line-up of local talent as does hip hop princess Tkay Maidza and folk talent Timberwolf. Headlining acts include African singer and three-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo and Australia’s John Butler Trio.

Aside from artists from across the globe, WOMAD will also attract festivalgoers from far and wide who contribute to the local tourism and hospitality industry during their stay. The event is estimated to generate $14 million in visitor spend each year, while the total economic benefit in terms of incomes is estimated at $16.9 million and 164 FTEs (full time equivalent jobs).

WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie says festival research has shown almost half of the attendees come from outside of SA, with more than 40% also attending at least one other event during their stay.

“I believe it (WOMAD) is the second highest attractor of visitors behind the Adelaide 500 … it’s very efficient from a tourism perspective,” he says.

“Over that long weekend, a high number of visitors are from interstate and we also know from our research that a high portion of them stay an extra day, so they’ll visit wineries, McLaren Vale or Kangaroo Island.

“From a tourism perspective, it (WOMAD) is the hook that brings them in, and they do other things. It’s grown significantly in that regard.”

Photo by Tony Lewis.

While WOMAD is one of Adelaide’s biggest annual events – helping South Australia earn its ‘festival state’ name-tag – the timing of the event comes during the city’s busiest time of year.

Mad March, (and increasingly Mad February), is also a host to the Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival and Adelaide 500 car race – events which collectively draw hundreds of thousands of people to the city centre.

“I think the key part of WOMAD’s success and why it works in Adelaide is that we’re a unique festival city,” Ian says.

WOMAD festivalgoers can travel around the world in four days, through the spread of art installations, musical acts and dance performances which all draw upon one common thread – unity.

“An event like WOMAD shows people that in the end there is a common humanity that unites everyone, whether you’re an Arab musician from Morocco or Adrian Eagle from the northern suburbs of Adelaide, in the end people are all connected, and they have common human aspirations,” Ian says.

Photo by Badstance.

Aside from the performance lineup, cultural installations such as the Colour of Time are also festival favourites. Explosions of coloured gulal powder will be set off in a tribute to the traditional Indian Holi Festival.

Other attractions include those with a local focus such as the WoMADE design market, supported by I Choose SA and showcasing locally crafted products.

The market comprises about 15 local stalls selling jewellery, homewares, artwork and gifts by SA designers including Julie White, Bluebell Design and Hey Reflect’o.

Still feeling the choose local vibes? Head for the Botanical Gin Bar for a range of SA gins to suit the palate of every gin lover. Coopers, Hills Cider, T Bar and Yalumba Winery are some other names to keep an eye out for.

For more info on WOMAD or to purchase tickets click here.

Feature image is The Colour of Time by Steve Trutwin.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Out of the dark and into the light – how Savvy’s tough times are helping others

Mt Barker man Chris ‘Savvy’ Savill is using one of the darkest times of his life to help others battle their own demons.

In 2017, Savvy, who spent time in the military before becoming a sound recordist and camera operator, experienced a serious bout of depression after work-related stress and other factors almost became too much.

He decided to seek help and see a psychologist, which in the end didn’t work for him, so instead he tried using his military experience to develop tactics to increase mental resilience and strength.

“When I got depression at the end of 2017 it hit me pretty hard,” Savvy says.

“I pulled the military tactics I knew and converted them into every day tactics to pull myself out of depression, and that’s how I got out of it. One friend in particular also stuck by me and urged me on and I did activities that I really enjoyed, one of them being hiking.”

Now Savvy is putting these tactics down on paper and converting them into an online training method that others can access and use in a way that works for them.

Chris ‘Savvy’ Savill, an RUOK ambassador and mental health advocate.

The mental health resource, Alpha Six, is still under development and Savvy is currently studying cognitive behavioural therapy and positive psychology to boost his theoretical knowledge to add to his personal experiences.

The Alpha Six outreach program was launched in January 2018 and has existed through a website and Facebook page as well as Savvy himself actively reaching out to people in need of support. So far, he says he has helped save the lives of five people who were on the brink of suicide.

“One of them was a homeless person and I pretty much sat with them throughout the night to make sure they weren’t alone because being alone can be a huge killer,” Savvy says.

“The next morning, I called them an ambulance. It took me all night to convince them to get help.”

Savvy also spreads the word about mental health awareness through his role as an RUOK community ambassador, one of only two in South Australia. RUOK is a suicide prevention charity that reminds people to have meaningful conversations with friends and family who might be struggling with life.

Savvy says he encourages people to adopt four steps when checking in with a friend or family member who is having a hard time.

Savvy shares a motivational talk with a local school.

“Firstly, ask them are they ok. Step two is listen to them in a non-judgemental way, step three is urge them to get professional help and step four is check up on them,” he says.

“All it takes is a conversation. When people have depression they just want to be heard.”

It’s not only the 2017 bout of depression which brought the importance of mental health into perspective for Savvy. Growing up in Cornwall England in the 1980s, Savvy had dyslexia, a learning disorder that makes it difficult to read, write and spell.

He struggled throughout primary school where his frustrated teachers dismissed his dyslexia for laziness, shouting at him to do better and calling him ‘stupid’. This made him a target for bullies.

“It really stripped me of my self-confidence and looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure I went through childhood depression. It wasn’t a pleasant time in my life,” Savvy says.

“But my parents were the best, they were absolute fighters, my mum got behind me and fought and fought to get dyslexia officially recognised in the schooling system. She would go to specialists and they did all kinds of tests on me to confirm that I did have dyslexia.”

Savvy in his home studio.

But by the time Savvy finished high school he had failed most of his final exams, shooting his self-esteem further down but also building the determination he would use later in life.

It wasn’t until after he finished school when he fell in love with sound, one day discovering an audio mixer at a friend’s house. Still in the UK, he worked as a music producer before he was spotted by a sound designer from London’s West End Theatre where he worked for some time before the BBC grabbed hold of him.

“The BBC said they needed a sound assistant in their studios, so I applied and got it,” Savvy says.

“I mainly did their in-house productions, the big shows back then were Top of the Pops, EastEnders, and a kids show called Blue Peter. At Top of the Pops I got to work with 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani and Coldplay, which was really cool.”

Savvy met his now wife Meredith, prompting a move Down Under in 2006. His first job in Australia was helping establish and run an Aboriginal music centre in Tennant Creek in the outback.

It evolved into a recording studio where locals and Winanjjikari musicians could record their language, their stories and their traditional songs.

Savvy filming for Totally Wild.

“It had a cultural significance because people would record the languages that were dying out, they were recorded for the National Archives,” Savvy says.

“We’d go to places where only two elders were left speaking those languages, so once they passed away they’d take the language with them. Now there’s an audio record, which is great.”

From the outback, Savvy went on to pursue his career in Adelaide, working at radio stations and at Channel 10 as an audio and camera operator on shows including Totally Wild.

He was there for almost a decade when the depression hit and he eventually left to continue his own solo sound pursuit – Savill Sound – providing sound services for all media platforms. He also works as a camera operator for sporting events and local film productions here in SA.

His audio and media producing and Alpha Six take up most of his time, but he has also visited schools as a motivational speaker.

“Looking back now, I have a really big driving force because of it,” Savvy says. “If somebody says I can’t do something I want to prove them wrong.”

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Adelaide will always be home for The Superjesus’ Sarah McLeod

Adelaide-born The Superjesus front woman and rock goddess Sarah McLeod rose to the heights of the Aussie rock and roll scene in the ’90s, helping to pave the way for young aspiring female artists to follow.

An inductee in the South Australia Music Hall of Fame, the four-piece was formed in Adelaide and in 1998 released whopper album Sumo which was released worldwide, went double platinum and won best rock album at the ARIA Awards that same year.

Twenty years on and lead singer Sarah tells Brand SA News she will always have a soft spot for the city that started it all.

“I love flying home to Adelaide to see Mum and my school friends,” she says. “My first pit stop is Asian Gourmet in the Adelaide Central Market for a laksa – it’s actually the best.”

“I adore the Adelaide hills. My mate Susie and her husband Andrew own Bird in Hand Winery, I love to go up there and roam around the vineyards with a glass of their Nest Egg Chardonnay”.

Sarah reflects on her crazy career journey and where it all began.

Superjesus frontwoman Sarah McLeod and Stuart Rudd.

“Mum worked so hard to send my sister and I to St Peter’s Girls’ School, and all I wanted to do was work at the stock exchange,” says Sarah, who initially envisioned herself as a stockbroker, in Michael J Fox The Secret of My Success kind of style.

Finishing school and attending Flinders University she welcomed the need for some reckless behaviour. So she booked a trip to Bali with the girls.

After a few drinks and some Dutch courage, Sarah jumped on stage – her first time ever performing in front of an audience. Wearing baggy shorts, a Stussy t-shirt and green bumbag (standard Bali attire) she grabbed the guitar and belted out a tune with an Indonesian cover band. The place went bananas and people were buying her drinks all night.

Following the unexpected audition, the band had her playing every night. They even invited her to play in Jakarta in front of 200,000 Indonesians. Tempting as this was, Sarah declined, flew home, quit university and started a band.

“I’m a huge believer in swinging on the first pitch, perfection is boring and making mistakes was the fastest way to learn,” she says.

Fast forward a couple of years, which included developing nodules – a throat condition affecting her ability to sing – Sarah began working in a surf shop while her voice healed. She practiced guitar riffs when trade was quiet, and it was here that the first band Hell’s Kitchen was born.

“Our first gig was at the Crown & Anchor, then we managed to get a gig at The Synagogue (now Mary’s Poppin). We rode on our push bikes and stuck posters up all around town,” Sarah says.

“From there we did The Austral and The Exeter. I’ve always loved those two pubs. Since then we’ve done Fowlers, The Gov, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and the Thebby.”

At the 1994 Adelaide Fringe Festival, two guys wearing black sunnies (who were big in the music business) loved what they heard and signed the rock group on the spot. The band had a solid sound, new management and bookings were rolling in.

Three of the four The Superjesus members Jason Slack, left, Sarah McLeod and Stuart Rudd.

Just before their first performance at the 1996 Big Day Out, they had a last-minute epiphany and changed their name to The Superjesus. Warner Music jumped at the chance to have them on board alongside fellow ’90s rock legends Regurgitator.

Armed with a level of filthy determination, The Superjesus toured the USA in a 12-seater Ram, which they later left trashed and dripping oil in the Warner Music car park before they flew home.

They released full-length studio album SUMO, a huge success which hit gold before it reached the stores. But after playing in London at a food and wine festival, the group lost its spark, returning home and going their separate ways.

Sarah went on to live in Sydney with then boyfriend, Chris Joannou of Aussie rock royalty band Silverchair, but recognised a total shift in focus was needed. She then moved to Melbourne and changed her tempo.

“I wanted to live simply and fight for every dollar, I wanted to live and die by my sword,” she says.

Sarah also moved to New York and remembers riding a motorbike daily along the Brooklyn Bridge to an underground recording studio to play guitar riffs over every rap album the studio pushed out. She then returned to London, this time collaborating with dance music producers.

Now Sarah reflects on Adelaide’s music scene and says it’s gone from strength to strength, helped by booming small bars staying open later.

“There are so many amazing bands coming out of Adelaide,” she says. “I love Southpaw, they’re a rad blues rock band. I feel like we put in 110% to compete with east coast bands.

“I think Adelaide supersedes Melbourne with its music community. I’m thrilled UNESCO designated Adelaide ‘A City of Music’.”

Pop culture adds vibrancy to Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Harry Potter, rock goddess Orianthi, music legend Prince and Star Wars – not exactly names you associate with symphonic music.

Yet all of these stars and mainstream titles form a key part of the 2019 Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) offerings.

While symphonic music remains at the centre of the recently unveiled 2019 ASO season, it’s clear that tapping into popular culture and injecting recognisable brands into each program is key to cultivating new audiences of the future.

Managing director Vincent Ciccarello says the 2019 season explores different genres and, in doing so, redefines what it means to be a symphony orchestra in the 21st century.

“A symphony orchestra in the 21st century isn’t all about symphonic music, it’s about orchestral music and presenting music of different genres be it jazz, film, hip hop with the Hilltop Hoods, in all its glory, in a way that only an orchestra can,” he says.

“Symphonic music really is the reason we exist. The repertoire of the 19th and 20th century is really why you need to have a large body of highly skilled musicians to be able to recreate that music.

“However, there is so much more to orchestral music away from the symphonic repertoire. What we mean by that is we perform music from films for example. People recognise that movie soundtracks are not only vital to the success of the movie, but also a whole movie genre in and of itself.

“So, it is possible to have music by film composers such as Ennio Morricone or John Williams performed in concert without any screens because it has such integrity as music and that is what we want to emphasise.”

In 2019 the ASO will continue its Showcase Series with another tribute concert, this time to legendary singer/songwriter Prince, who will be celebrated in Let’s Go Crazy: A Symphonic Tribute to Prince.

The show will be performed by iOTA, Brendan Maclean and Prinnie Stevens, along with the orchestra. And in a major coup for the ASO, guitar superstar Orianthi will also star in the event.

Originally from Adelaide, Orianthi achieved world-wide acclaim as Michael Jackson’s guitarist. What is less known about the performer is that she also jammed on occasion with Prince himself.

Harry Potter and Star Wars also make a comeback with the ASO, this time with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert featuring Patrick Doyle’s score, as well as the Disney production Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert featuring John Williams’ legendary score.

“Harry Potter and Star Wars continue to be big shows,” Vincent says.

“We are over the moon about the reaction to both of those series. We present the first series on September 15 (Star Wars A New Hope in Concert) and we are approaching 5000 tickets sold and that is a really big deal.”

While this kind of innovative programming helps cultivate young orchestral music lovers, Vincent admits it remains a challenge to compete with the immediacy of modern day life for a generation that craves instant gratification.

“Society has changed and the place and value of music, not just symphonic but all music, has completely changed,” he says.

“Music is really ubiquitous now in every sphere of life, in the car, on the phone, streaming, it is so readily available and people can tap into a kaleidoscope of genres and we need to be responsive to that and change with the times.

“That is the great challenge for us so not only do we present movie music, but popular music or contemporary music such as George Michael or Prince presented in an orchestral setting is now an annual part of our season. Part of that is to be sensitive to what is happening in society, but also to encourage young people to connect to us.”

While mindful of appealing to all ages, Vincent admits the ASO needs to get better at, and funnel more resources into, what he calls the “hand-to-hand combat” of programming.

“An article recently stated that Netflix dominated the Venice Biennale,” he says.

“This is the way of the world, people have such a plethora of things available to them, so how do you switch them onto things beyond what is immediately under their nose via social media or whatever? That is the stuff we need to get better at and we have a number of schemes that we use to help us with that.”

One of those schemes is the ASO’s Learning and Families program which presents shows such as next year’s Who Needs A Conductor Anyway?

The show, which is part of the DreamBIG Children’s Festival, has been written by acclaimed pianist Simon Tedeschi and is aimed at children 8+ years of age. It provides a light-hearted, humorous way of exposing young minds to what an orchestra and conductor actually do.

Another show in the 2019 line up is Dreams of Air & Flight, inspired by the book FArTHER by English author Grahame Baker-Smith.

Keeping the ASO purists happy is also vital to the lifeblood of the organisation and the 2019 season shouldn’t disappoint.

Returning highlights include the flagship Master Series, Classics Unwrapped, Gigs at Grainger and Mozart at Elder.

“It’s a careful balance,” Vincent says. “We have to remember our mainstream flagship Master Series generates more than $1 million in box office a year, so it’s a sizeable contribution to the ASO’s bottom line and we should never take that for granted.

“Apart from the fact it does remain our core business, it’s why you have a symphony orchestra, that group of expert musicians who perform at peak levels.”

The ASO’s full family program will be released in November.

Scouted 2018 to discover SA’s best emerging musical talents

Adelaide’s unsigned and emerging musical talents could secure their ‘big break’ when music industry leaders descend upon the city’s west end later this month.

In its second iteration, Scouted is returning in 2018 and will feature 16 emerging local artists performing across four renowned live music venues in Adelaide on Friday, July 27.

The multi-venue event will run in conjunction with Umbrella Winter City Sounds, an open access festival from July 13–29 offering a smorgasbord of live music projects and performances across Adelaide.

Check out the Umbrella program here.

The Scouted performances will unfold at Jive, Rocket Bar, West Oak Hotel and Nexus Arts and coincide with Adelaide playing host to the second annual AIR Awards, which brings music industry leaders and independent artists from across Australia into town.

Following the 2017 Scouted, several artists were signed and many secured national media coverage and sought-after festival slots.

This year’s Scouted line-up includes WOMADelaide alumni Hana & Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, local rock favourites Donnarumma, who recently opened for Cold Chisel at the Adelaide 500, and the newly formed duo Dhungala Baarka.

Other artists include multi-instrumentalist Bree Tranter, electro dance act Strict Face, shoegaze outfit Blush Response, soaring indie folk band The Winter Gypsy, Argus & The Liar, Fair Maiden, Hartway, Naomi Keyte, Neon Tetra, Ollie English, Runaway Weekend, Siamese, and Wing Defence.

New wave group Neon Tetra will perform at Scouted. Photo by @fenj_.

Music SA general manager Lisa Bishop says Scouted is a key opportunity for home grown talent to showcase themselves to some of the biggest names in the music industry.

“After the success of last year’s event, we are looking forward to impressing key identities from the Australian music industry in town for the AIR awards again,” she says.

“SA has an incredibly rich and vibrant music scene and we always welcome the opportunity to turn a national spotlight on it.”

The Scouted artists will all play at one of the four stages at Jive, the West Oak Hotel, Rocket Bar and Nexus Arts.

Umbrella Winter City Sounds festival will kick off on July 13 with a free, all-ages opening night party from 5–10pm along Bank Street.

Six local artists and DJs will perform live, with local street vendors, beer, wine and art on offer.

Scouted is on Friday July 27, from 5–10pm. Visit musicglue.com/scouted for more information.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Adelaide’s live music scene on show for Jam LIVE

From street art splashed across Hindley Street’s Jive to the Bert Newton shrine in Waymouth Street’s Grace Emily, Adelaide is home to quirky live music institutions that have stood the test of time.

This weekend, venues which have helped shaped the city’s live music scene will feature in a new local music TV show that gives viewers a front-row experience of live performances from across Adelaide.

Channel Nine Adelaide’s Jam LIVE will introduce new artists and showcase old favourites in a celebration of live music in Adelaide, a UNESCO City of Music.

Jive might be quiet and colourful during the day, but at night its walls vibrate with the boom as live gigs unfold before scores of music lovers. Photo: Jive Facebook.

Jam LIVE features venues such as The Gov, Grace Emily, Wheatsheaf Hotel and Jive, all of which are renowned for hosting live gigs, supporting established and upcoming musicians and adding culture to the city’s nightlife.

Radio personality Shanelle Franklin will host the show, which will air live performances by SA seven-piece rock outfit West Thebarton, as well as interstate favourites San Cisco, Dean Lewis, Josh Cashman and Boo Seeka.

“It (Jam LIVE) is designed to get people excited about live music and back into supporting local artists, touring artists, and the venues and festivals who put these artists on,” Shanelle says.

Jam LIVE host Shanelle Franklin.

“There are some great music programs which show video clips, but we are here to bring you the live performance, which is something completely different to what is currently on TV.

“We aim to showcase live music, be a fly on the wall, and capture magic for the viewer.”

Jam LIVE hits screens this Saturday (June 23) at 4.30pm on Channel Nine Adelaide and 9Now.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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So you think you can be a serious muso?

Almost two years ago Adelaide electro artist Luke Million uploaded a Facebook video of him covering the ’80s synth inspired theme song to popular Netflix series Stranger Things.

The one-minute clip has since been viewed a whopping 4.5 million times and received 1.7 million plays on Spotify.

Head over to Adelaide’s rap circles and it’s been Tkay Maidza doing South Australia proud since she released track Brontosaurus in 2013 and worked her way up to two ARIA Award nominations last year.

More recently it’s been folk artist Tom West rocketing up the Spotify charts, attracting more than 115,000 monthly listeners.

Although their music may differ in sound and style, the kickstart in their careers is similar.

Million, Maidza and West join more than 30 past recipients of the Robert Stigwood Fellowship Program, an initiative which is helping to boost the success of some of SA’s top bands, musicians and industry professionals.

Luke Million took the internet by storm when he uploaded a Facebook video featuring him covering the Stranger Things theme song.

The program is now in its fifth year and is on the hunt for the next lot of talent.

Fellowship recipients receive funding and opportunities to connect with global music networks.

They also receive hands-on mentoring from Adelaide-based industry professionals Stu MacQueen and Dan Crannitch of Wonderlick Entertainment.

Wonderlick manages the promotion of top Aussie artists including Grinspoon, Josh Pyke, Montaigne and Amy Shark.

Dan, who plays in Adelaide brother band The San Sebastian, says the fellowship helps establish more “connective tissue” between SA and the wider national and international music industry.

“We both feel very proud of the service this program has provided to the local music community, with a raft of Stigwood alumni kicking huge goals both here and internationally, all well on their way to long and fruitful careers in the music industry,” he says.

Tom West is renowned for his whimsical folk tunes and moody soundscapes.

Tom West, who has gigs scheduled for Port MacDonnell, Adelaide CBD, and Willunga this May and June, says the Stigwood program was a much-needed boost for his business as a singer-songwriter.

“The program facilitated the completion of a new record in a much bigger and better way that I could have initially hoped for,” he says.

“It also enabled me to invest in exploring opportunities in overseas markets, which is a necessary step in working towards building a sustainable career in the industry.”

The Stigwood Fellowship is an initiative of the SA Government’s Music Development Office and is named after the late Robert Stigwood, a renowned music impresario and entrepreneur.

Born in Port Pirie in 1934, Robert went on to become one of the most powerful and successful entertainment tycoons in the 1960s and ‘70s.

He managed musicians including Eric Clapton, Cream and The Bee Gees, produced hit West End and Broadway musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, and blockbuster films Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

The fellowship offers two streams, one for musicians and bands, and the other for emerging entrepreneurs working in music management.

Past entrepreneurial recipients include Five Four Entertainment, who managed Tkay Maidza, and Sharni Honor, who is behind travelling music series Porch Sessions.

Applications close June 1. Head here for details and to apply.

Check out Luke Million’s Stranger Things theme song cover below.

Your guide to WOMADelaide’s market scene

Will you be one of 90,000 festival goers who dance the world away in Botanic Park at this weekend’s WOMADelaide?

The four-day open air festival is back from March 9–12, but aside from the beats, street theatre and visual artists, be sure to check out WoMade, a South Australian-only design market featuring some of the state’s best creators.

The market will showcase fashion, homewares, accessories and goodies designed and handmade locally.

WOMADelaide is one of the strongest instalments in Adelaide’s Mad March period, as almost half of attendees are interstate visitors, delivering $15.1m to the SA economy.

So do your bit in choosing SA by stopping by WoMade.

Stallholders include Bluebell Design, the Butcher Byrd, Colour This. Design and Print, Delilah Devine, Hello Cactus, Hey Reflect’o, Julie White, Naomi Murrell, One Thousand Lines, Renee Damiani Jewellery, Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, Squink, Wonder What You Were and Wrappa Reusable Food Wraps.

Here’s our top six WoMade picks:

1. Julie White 

Adelaide-based artist Julie White creates these beautiful bold and original silk scarves and specialty socks inspired by native flora and fauna, deserts and the sea.

She recently gained a Master’s in textile print at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art and her label is renowned in Adelaide fashion circles for its individuality and colour.

Julie White’s new Gone Troppo collection will have you missing summer. Big time.

2.  Naomi Murrell

Spots, soft pinks and sailboat stripes are aplenty in Naomi’s new fashion collection Paradiso.

She’s been designing clothes, jewellery and accessories since 2009, working out of a small studio on Ebenezer Place in Adelaide’s CBD.

The accessories, which include earrings, rings, necklaces and bangles, are delicate and feminine with a bright and bold twist.

3. Renee Damiani Jewellery

Just looking at Renee Damiani creations will make you feel happier.

The playful, bold and original jewellery pieces are guaranteed conversation starters and once you purchase your first pair of earrings it’ll be hard to stop.

The jewellery line is handmade from Renee’s Adelaide studio from a mix of hand-dyed plastic tubing, PVC, acrylic, plastic bubbles and polymer clay.

4. Hey Reflect’o

Finally, safety is stylish!

Hey Reflect’o is a funky cycling safety gear designer, creating vests, caps and bag covers to ensure riders can be seen when pushing pedals.

Just look for the fluorescent stall.

5. The Butcher Byrd

These leather pieces are handcrafted by Adelaide’s Sasha Carroll and made in SA from start to finish.

From soft travel bags to structured old-school backpacks, The Butcher Byrd pieces are examples of craftsmanship at its finest.

Think trusty leather satchels, totes and purses that last more than just the weekend – but a lifetime.

A post shared by Sasha Carroll (@thebutcherbyrd) on

6. Wonder What You Were

These one-of-a-kind eco-conscious accessories are festival gold.

Designed in SA, handcrafted using recycled textiles and made in Cindy Choua’s home studio, these earth-friendly clutches and zippered pouches are essential for carrying your coins, festival passes, lippy and other essentials.

Many of the fabrics are vintage inspired, mixed, and clashing – exactly how it should be at WOMAD.


Can’t wait until WOMADelaide to check out an array of local artists and makers? Head to Shop South Australia, Brand South Australia’s online marketplace.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our state by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Adelaide Festival Centre set for big musicals and more visitors

In 1973 Flinders University student Douglas Gautier was an extra in the opera, Fidelio, at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s official opening.

Fast forward more than 40 years and the proud Adelaidean is at the head of the city’s entertainment attraction.

The Adelaide Festival Centre was Australia’s first multipurpose arts venue when it opened – three months before the Sydney Opera House did – and now hosts one million visitors a year.

“That opening night was a very exciting time,” says Douglas Gautier AM, the centre’s CEO and artistic director.

“Then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was there and he said, to words of this effect, that the Adelaide Festival Centre was something to make people in Adelaide proud.

“But he said it would also lead the country.”

And lead the country it has.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier.

The Festival Centre is home to events within the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and State Theatre Company, of which draw people from across the globe.

It’s involved in the production of the world’s biggest cabaret festival, Australia’s largest guitar festival and one of the country’s most prominent international festivals, OzAsia.

“We had 50,000 people attend (the OzAsia Moon Lantern Festival) in one year,” Douglas says.

“It says a lot about our city, it’s a lot different than 10 years ago, it’s much more multicultural.

“We try to open it (the Festival Centre) up to all areas of the community and OzAsia is a good indication of that.”

A recent report by Ernst and Young shows the Adelaide Festival Centre’s total economic contribution and social value hit $160m and created 1076 jobs in 2015/16.

The new look new look Adelaide Festival Centre promenade. PHOTO: Kelly Carpenter.

More recently the centre has undergone huge transformations and redevelopments, including its new northern foyers which now face onto Elder Park and the Torrens.

The new riverbank precinct has also welcomed new features including The Star Kitchen and Bar and the Walk of Fame.

Unveiled in January, the Walk of Fame features 132 plaques naming top performers, including Tim Minchin and Olivia Newton-John, who have showcased their talents at the Festival Centre over the years.

Douglas says the new features create a “very compelling package for both locals and visitors alike”.

“We do position ourselves as the main festival city in the country and it’s important that it’s constantly pumping,” he says.

Spot the celebs! The Walk of Fame recipients with Douglas Gautier AM and Premier Jay Weatherill.

The Adelaide Festival Centre Trust (AFCT) also manages Her Majesty’s Theatre (HMT) on Grote Street and is giving the “grand old dame” a facelift, growing its capacity from 970 to 1500.

HMT will close in March before reopening in late 2019/20.

This year is also a bumper year for big musicals, including The Rocky Horror Show, American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Mamma Mia.

The sixth musical for the year, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, will open in December 2018, ending a record-run of big song and dance shows.

If 2017’s Matilda the Musical audiences are anything to go by, the 2018 musical lineup won’t be a hard sell.

“People are buying a lot more tickets … with Matilda we sold well over 100,000 tickets and audiences all reacted very well,” Douglas says.

“We have invested very strongly to ensure these big shows are coming here.”

Musical composer Tim Minchin alongside his ‘star’. Tim composed, Matilda, which drew thousands of visitors to the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2017.

This year marks Douglas’ 12th year being back in Adelaide after living in Hong Kong for 25 years.

During his time in Asia he headed one of the world’s great art festivals in Hong Kong and was deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Douglas says Adelaide might be the country’s smallest capital city but it “punches well above its weight” in arts and tourism.

“We believe in this city, particularly in its creative industries,” he says.

“It’s got a certain power and that’s people power.”

The Adelaide Festival Centre is holding a free public Open Day on February 11. See more information here.

Visit the I Choose SA for Industry website to read more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.