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BIGSOUND Is Returning in 2021 as a Three-Day Physical Festival Packed with Gigs and Talks

It's back in its in-person format, with around 150 musicians hitting Fortitude Valley's stages this September.
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2021
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2021

If your spring routine usually involves bar-hopping around Brisbane — and around Fortitude Valley in particular — while listening to up-and-coming musicians, then you must already a devotee of BIGSOUND. The music-fuelled celebration takes over the Queensland capital every September or October, albeit virtually in 2020. And this year, it's back as a physical festival.

Between Tuesday, September 7–Thursday, September 9, Brissie will once again become Australia's live music hotspot — even if a Melbourne survey generally claims otherwise. When BIGSOUND hits the city in its in-person format, it typically seems like every venue in Fortitude Valley is filled with bands, industry folks and music-loving punters, all enjoying the latest and greatest tunes and talent the country has to offer. Expect 2021's iteration to be no different.

The three-day program will include conferences, live festival showcases, secret shows and official parties, with around 150 musicians taking to the stage and showing the industry why they should be pointing their ears their way. While specific lineup details won't be revealed until closer to the event, attendees can look forward to an Indigenous showcase and a women in music event on BIGSOUND 2021's opening night. Also on the bill: tunes galore, as well as talks about everything from changing industry and audience dynamics and the post-COVID world to inclusivity and gender equality.

Announcing the event's return for 2021, QMusic CEO and BIGSOUND Executive Producer Angela Samut said that this year's program will "provide the chance for us to collectively grieve the losses the industry has faced over the past year, and celebrate the treasure trove of Australasian talent that has been incubating throughout this time." She continued: "our commitment to rebuilding a stronger, safer, more inclusive industry as we emerge from COVID has never been greater, and BIGSOUND is once again stepping up to the plate as the place where people come to discover the future of music and to be part of the future of music."

Kymie at BIGSOUND 2019, by Lachlan Douglas

Past BIGSOUNDs have showcased everyone from Gang of Youths, Flume, Tash Sultana and Courtney Barnett to San Cisco, Violent Soho, Methyl Ethel and The Jungle Giants, so its program is usually a very reliable bellwether of current and up-and-coming talent.

If you're keen to attend the BIGSOUND conference within the broader program — and hear its talks and speeches — it'll run on Wednesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 9. And if you're an artist looking to take part in the event in general, applications are now open until May 28.

BIGSOUND 2021 will take place between Tuesday, September 7–Thursday, September 9 in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. For more information — or to apply to take part if you're an artist — visit

Top image: David Byrne.

Published on April 29, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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