Canadian Music Makes Noise in Australia

Carmen Townsend and the Tom Fun Orchestra rock Sydney, January 2011

Consul General of Canada Tom MacDonald, Susan MacDonald, Sharon Pinney (Public Affairs, Sydney) and Sebastian Mair (Public Affairs, Tokyo) backstage with Bedouin Soundclash

Maple Syrup showcase poster, Perth, Australia

Dan Mangan and band at the Code One Canadian showcase, Sydney

Australia is a natural stage for Canadian performers, and Australian audiences regularly and enthusiastically welcome our iconic international artists, such as Leonard Cohen, k.d. lang , Neil Young , Diana Krall, Michael Bublé, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, and more.

2010 was a banner year for Canadian music in Australia, with the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney putting a particular focus on promoting emerging Canadian artists.

Leveraging the strong brand that Canadian music enjoys in Australia, the Consulate General has initiated a program focused on introducing emerging talent to the vibrant Australian music festival market, and to the opportunities for touring “down under”.

To help develop these opportunities, the Consulate has promoted participation in Canadian music marketing events, specifically Canadian Music Week and the East Coast Music Awards.

One unique event promoted by the Consulate was the “Sydney-meets-Sydney” initiative.  At the East Coast Music Awards in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canadian artists Two Hours Traffic and Carmen Townsend joined forces with Australian artists Fergus Brown and Dead Letter Chorus to showcase their music and undertake collaborative songwriting.

Subsequently, the Canadian artists attended APRA’s Song Summit in Sydney, Australia. The Song Summit, launched by Consul General Tom MacDonald and New South Wales Minister for the Arts Virginia Judge, further developed the collaborations, including the local label release of Covered by Snow (one of the collaboration songs).

Canadian representation was also organized at Queensland’s Bigsound Festival, where Ottawa-based rockers Amos the Transparent were the only international act to perform.

The Canadian Consulate worked with both Canadian and Australian promoters to help make Canada the leading international participant at One Movement for Music Asia-Pacific in Perth, Western Australia.
The following nine Canadian acts performed at the Festival: Bedouin Soundclash, Colin Moore, Elliott Brood, Final Flash, JP Hoe, Matthew BarberSarah McLachlan, The Trews and The Respectables.

Additionally, the Consulate supported Code One Entertainment in its production of a “Maple Syrup” showcase that toured Australia with some of the Canadian performers from One Movement, thereby allowing them to extend their reach beyond the Perth-based event.

2011 began with yet another dynamic showcase of Canadian talent that was organized by Code One with the involvement of the Canadian Consulate in Sydney.  This saw return visits to Australia by Carmen Townsend, The Tom Fun Orchestra, Zeus, Jason Collett, Matthew Barber and Dan Mangan.

An updated version of the handy reference The Southern Compass – A How-To Guide to Touring Australia was launched at Canadian industry events in 2010 to provide Canadians with guidance and to take the guesswork out of setting up a tour to the region.

Australian buyers will again have a strong presence at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown, PEI this year.  The Canadian Consulate in Sydney therefore expects the momentum to continue.  Let the bands play on!