Bigsound is back and its organisers are promising a bigger focus on tech, a tweaked format and a renewed push for inclusiveness.

This year’s conference and showcase programme will run from September 4-7 in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, and kicks off with a welcome event that which will place Indigenous music in the spotlight. It’s part of a plan to increase participation and build a “unified music industry community,” according to a statement issued today.

Bigsound is revamping its format to facilitate what its creators dub a “call-in” culture

And as part of this shakeup, Alethea Beetson has been tapped as the inaugural First Nations producer. Beetson, an Aboriginal artist who has worked extensively with Indigenous communities and youth and is the niece of the late rugby league great Artie Beetson, will work alongside the event team to enhance its “cultural appropriateness”.

“We want to use Bigsound this year as an opportunity to create growth not just in the music business and economy, but culturally and socially too,” said Executive Programmer Maggie Collins in the statement. “We will be inviting people from across the community to help us reimagine the future of the music industry and open our eyes to new ways of doing things, including thought-leaders from other fields like sport, entertainment, design, psychology and more.”

Those newly-introduced elements, explains Queensland Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch, will “inspire and enable artists and musicians to take their career to the next level.”

The new program will be a “revolution in the way the Australian music industry comes together to make change happen,” added QMusic CEO Joel Edmondson. “We realise that conferences based purely on a ‘talking heads’ model no longer have a place in a 2018 music industry that values the contributions of diverse peoples. Bigsound has always been here to create opportunities for networking and learning, and with this year’s event, we will be at the cutting edge of both.”

Artist applications are also open from today

Apply at Bigsound.org.au, they close May 10. Showcasing artists at Bigsound are again in the hunt for a chunk of cash from the $100,000 Levi’s Music Prize, which launched last year. Through the prize pool — the largest of its kind in Australian music history and judged by a panel of visiting international music industry experts — Stella Donnelly and Alex Lahey each snagged $25,000 to help support their careers. Levi’s has stepped up its prize this year to include $5,000 for each winning artist in travel from Stage & Screen.

Details on the speakers, performers and the program will be rolled out in the months ahead. Tickets are now available from $370.

:: #OverheardAtBIGSOUND 2017