Show of support for invigorating Ballarat’s live music scene

Ballarat’s live music scene is set to be reinvigorated, with two local band bookers participating in a state wide program strengthening successful music businesses. 

LIVE: Ballarat event coordinators James Donovan and Adam Connally, and project manager Sarah Deborre talk music. Picture: Lachlan Bence

LIVE: Ballarat event coordinators James Donovan and Adam Connally, and project manager Sarah Deborre talk music. Picture: Lachlan Bence

The Eastern head booker James Donovan and The Lost Ones Basement Bar event coordinator Adam Connally will participate in the 2018 Music Works Live Music Professionals program.

The pair be matched with some of Victoria’s most skilled and experienced music industry professionals for one-on-one coaching sessions. 

Mr Donovan said the program was a great opportunity for the Ballarat music community. 

“Over the four years I have been booking at The Eastern we have seen a lot of changes in the scene in the community with live music and local bands,” he said. 

“It hasn’t been without its struggles… but I like to think we have established ourselves in the community as a solid regional music venue.”

Fellow participant Mr Connally is relatively new to Ballarat. In his 12 months working as The Lost Ones Basement Bar event coordinator he has seen venues like Sutton’s House of Music, close and others struggle. 

“There are a couple of new venues springing up so that is good, but I think Ballarat’s live music scene does need a bit of invigorating,” he said. 

Mr Connally originally came to Ballarat to study, but it is music that has made him stay. “I hope to see Ballarat’s music scene thrive for my benefit and everyone else in the town,” he said.

It is sad to see venues come and go but I suppose it is organic how it grows and changes over time.

Adam Connally, The Lost Ones Basement Bar

Mr Connally has hopes his involvement in the Live Music Professionals Program will help him attract ‘dream acts’ and develop a process to make bookings. 

One-on-one coaching, industry related conferences, workshops and masterclasses will be on offer to bolster business skills and help to create a sustainable long-term live music business.

Live Music Professionals project manager Sarah Deborre said connecting and networking with others in the music industry and filling specific skills gaps like marketing and social media were key focusses for business development both in regional and metropolitan areas. 

“I think music has taken a dip in the last 10 to 20 years. Having grown up in a regional area myself and being the age that I am I saw it on the tail end of being good, where bands would come through our area on a regular basis and sell out gigs at the local pub – and we were 500km away from the nearest city,” she said. 

“Something changed. The gigs kept going in the cities, but started to die in the regional areas. It is something we are mindful of at Music Victoria, and the whole concept around this program is to reinvigorate and stimulate live music in regional Victoria.”

Despite challenges, Mr Connally and Mr Donovan said they envisaged Ballarat’s live music scene continuing to grow and thrive. 

“I think it is a good time to be coming into it,” Mr Connally said.