#MeToo founder Tarana Burke and Henry Rollins announced as BIGSOUND keynote speakers

The festival returns to Brisbane this September

Organisers of industry conference BIGSOUND have announced #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and punk artist Henry Rollins will be keynote speakers at this year’s event.

Burke’s keynote speech follows the publication of her collaboration with Brené Brown, You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience. The book explores the global #MeToo movement and the intersection of sexual violence and racial justice.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my story at BIGSOUND in what has been a 25-year journey laying the groundwork for a movement that amplifies the voices of millions of survivors and addresses issues of respect, dignity, and power dynamics in schools, workplaces, communities, and politics,” Burke said in a statement.


Both Burke and Rollins’ speeches will be broadcast live from the US, with guests able to ask questions.

Previous keynote speakers over BIGSOUND’s 20-year history include Tina Arena, Pitchfork’s Jessica Hopper, Mo’Ju and Tom Morello.

BIGSOUND announced its return to an in-person event back in April, following a series of virtual livestreams last year. The conference will be held in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley precinct, from Tuesday September 7 through Thursday 9.

Artist applications closed late last month. The conference’s full program is yet to be revealed.

“This year, we have the incredible chance to reconnect, recharge and experience the magic of discovering new music with one another again – friends, colleagues, and music-obsessed strangers – who, for too long, have been separated by geographical borders,” said Kris Stewart, CEO of QMusic, the organisation that produces BIGSOUND.

“It’s an absolute honour to have the calibre of talent in Tarana Burke and Henry Rollins to bring their powerful insight to BIGSOUND for what will be an important piece of the puzzle as the industry grapples with the big issues to progress real, positive change.”


BIGSOUND has also introduced a new code of conduct for attendees, as well as a new range of safety initiatives, including a safety response team. The move to reinforce patron safety comes a month after a report from The Industry Observer detailed the alleged rape of I Know Leopard‘s Rosie Fitzgerald by a producer after her band’s showcase at the conference.

Tickets to BIGSOUND are on sale now through the conference website.