Barely a fortnight after revealing it was headed online in 2020, BIGSOUND has unveiled the first round of names set to serve as keynote speakers at its upcoming event.

Earlier this month, BIGSOUND broke the news that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a traditional experience from the conference would not be possible, with the event moving online in October.

“BIGSOUND has always been about bringing our business and arts community together and while we were hopeful of being in our spiritual home in the Fortitude Valley live music precinct, 2020 has made other arrangements,” QMusic CEO Angela Samut explained in a statement at the time.

With live showcases similarly affected by this news, the majority of the focus will instead be put upon the speakers for the 2020 event, with BIGSOUND organisers today revealing the first round of speakers who will join the virtual edition next month.

Arguably the most notable name for the first announcement is that of Tom Morello, the musician and activist best-known for his work as a member of both Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.

“Join me at BIGSOUND to talk music, activism, and how the guitar can be a divining rod for truth and justice,” Morello said in a statement. “The world is at a dangerous crossroads and it’s time to feed the poor, fight the power, and rock the f**k out.”

The inclusion of Morello as a keynote speaker is undoubtedly a major addition to the event, which featured the likes of Mo’Ju, Vivien Goldman, Saharah Herald, and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino in 2019.

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“Very few artists radiate and live their purpose the way that Tom Morello does, his power, conviction and guitar shredding sound is like no other,” explained BIGSOUND Creative Director Janne Scott. “This keynote is a personal dream of mine and an absolute privilege for BIGSOUND to present, delivered at a time when we could all use a little Morello magic.”

The list of speakers doesn’t live and die with Morello though, as it includes a massive list of artists, industry insiders, and professionals, including the likes of Kev Carmody, Amy Shark, and Australian chart sensation Tones And I.

Ziggy Ramo and Rhoda Roberts will discuss the Indigenous future of the music industry, American Grammy-nominee Mumu Fresh will discuss career, community and survival in 2020, and I OH YOU’s Johnann Ponniah will appear via Zoom to share his insights into the industry.

Meanwhile, viral culinary sensation Nat’s What I Reckon will also present an exclusive BIGSOUND cooking show, while the globally respected tour and production manager and founder of CrewCare Australia Howard Freeman (Big Day Out, INXS, AC/DC, Eminem, Neil Young, Prince, Rolling Stones) will host a poignant session exploring the hard realities of life on the road, the impacts it has on mental and physical health, and creating a culture of help-seeking.

“BIGSOUND has been the meeting place of the music community for nearly two decades and the determination for this event to not only go ahead, but to thrive in a virtual environment is essential for our industry,” Samut noted in a statement.

“BIGSOUND has been a leader for years in looking to future business models, mental health and a place of fairness and justice for First Nations peoples working in the music industry as well as giving tomorrow’s Australian icons a platform to learn and be discovered. Never have these things been more important. Never has BIGSOUND been more important.”

This year’s edition of BIGSOUND will be completely virtual, and entirely free, with more details about the event available via the official website. A full program lineup will be announced later in September, including further keynote speakers.

Check out Tom Morello’s interview with Rolling Stone:

BIGSOUND 2020 First Keynote Speaker Announcement

Tom Morello
Kev Carmody
Tones And I
Amy Shark
Rhoda Roberts
Ziggy Ramo
Nat’s What I Reckon
Mumu Fresh
Howard Freeman
Johann Ponniah

Wednesday, October 21st – Thursday, October 22nd
More info: BIGSOUND