13 June 2023

Regional musicians take note – sounds like help is on its way, wherever you play

| Sally Hopman
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MusicNSW regional coordinator for the South Coast and Southern Tablelands, Sam Rees. Photo: @georgiajanegriffiths.

Sam Rees knows what it’s like to be a struggling musician living outside a major city.

There were never going to be the opportunities that existed in cities for those musicians who didn’t have to travel for miles to venues or for punters to get to the gigs. It was hard enough to make a living as a musician in the city, but living out of town made it near impossible.

But thanks to MusicNSW, a not-for-profit group, Sam, along with a new team of regional coordinators, can now help make dreams come true for performers who live out of town.

Sam, a musician who grew up in Yuin Country, at Coolagolite in the Bega Valley, is one of a new team, employed by MusicNSW, to work across the state. He joins Dave Burgener, Ali Buckley, Kayne Mills and Sophie Jones, whose work will take them across to the Riverina, up north and down south across the state.

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Sam says the top priority for regional musicians is being active in the local scene.

“Play all the shows you can,” he says. “Get down to your local open mic and jam nights, be there to support your fellow artists for their shows, and collaborate when you can.

“Getting more venues on the radar is another focus point.

“MusicNSW has a great resource called the Regional Touring Network to help link artists and venues in regional NSW.”

Sam said he was looking forward to working with musicians throughout the region, from the Far South Coast to the Southern Tablelands.

“There is so much rich talent here,” he said. “So rich that it doesn’t fit in your wallet.

Coloured map

The new MusicNSW team aims to cover as much of the state as possible to help established and aspiring musicians fulfil their dreams. Photo: MusicNSW.

“Jokes aside, there are so many great artists not only in this area but across all regional NSW.

“I am available for one-on-one consultations and active on the MusicNSW Facebook groups for the Far South Coast and Southern Highlands and South Coast.

“The MusicNSW regional team will also be delivering six professional development workshops focused on capacity-building for regional touring.”

He said the MusicNSW Spotify playlists would help connect regional artists with new audiences, with team members updating the playlists throughout the year.

Sam has been active in the South Coast music scene for many years, developing relationships with musicians, venue owners and industry professionals.

During that time, he has fostered relationships within the music community, providing leadership and mentorship for local musicians.

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Through his studies in Entertainment Business Management and many tours as a musician, he has found passion and purpose through the entertainment industry.

“I am looking forward to bringing that experience to the South Coast to advocate my growth as an artist,” he said.

MusicNSW has been employing people across the state to help develop regional music since 2019 when it started as a pilot project in the South Coast, Southern Tablelands and Riverina regions. Two years later, the pilot project expanded to employ regionally based staff working across the state before finishing in June last year.

“By employing a regional team of people already living and working in the regions, MusicNSW is able to identify areas of local industry that need attention and leverage local knowledge to develop and deliver relevant support,” a MusicNSW spokesperson said.

“Our vision for regional music development is to increase contemporary music touring activity, expand networks and build on existing industry knowledge in regional NSW by supporting capacity-building of artists and industry professionals living and working in regional areas.”

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