BIGSOUND 2020 to be free, virtual event with no live showcases

“It has never been more important for the Australian industry to come together to focus on survival”

The 2020 instalment of Fortitude Valley’s BIGSOUND festival will be a free, virtual event with no live showcases, organisers have announced today (September 3).

The annual event, set to take place across October 21-22, will pivot to an online format for its 19th year, with a focus on “community, survival and re-futuring”.

Artists who have applied to play will no longer be able to perform a live set, but BIGSOUND programmers Dom Miller and Ruby-Jean McCabe, along with First Nations programmer Alethea Beetson, will still be selecting 50 artists to nurture for this year’s event.


The chosen musicians, dubbed ‘The BIGSOUND 50’ will receive one-on-one mentoring, meetings with industry professionals to aid their growth and forge potential future pathways. They will also get priority application access to next year’s BIGSOUND, when the festival hopes to reintroduce live performances.

The BIGSOUND program is set for release in late September, and will include a range of online conferences, workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities for musicians and industry personnel.

“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,” said Angela Samut, CEO of QMusic, Queensland’s music industry development association and organisation behind BIGSOUND.

“It has never been more important for the Australian industry to come together to focus on survival and re-futuring with a program that offers a mainstream conference program, professional development and mental health activities as well as the introduction of The BIGSOUND 50.”

The 2020 event will also see the return of the First Nations House, in partnership with Spotify. The virtual space will provide a mix of local and international speakers, offering a First Nations perspective on creating a more diverse, inclusive industry.

“With the move to a virtual platform, we have the potential to showcase First Nations artists throughout the whole year; have the long-term Indigenous-led conversations required to dismantle and change the music industry; and continue the work of those who have gone before us in building the sovereign music sector,” said Beetson.


Those who purchased a ticket to the physical BIGSOUND will be refunded. Registrations for the free instalment can be made here, with the delegate portal open from late September.

The news follows on from BIGSOUND’s July announcement that it would be forging ahead as usual. The event last took place in September 2019, with a lineup that included Tones And I, Miiesha, Electric Fields, Mo’Ju and more.

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