Musicians relocate to WA’s bustling music scene

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Featured Home Page News, Momentum, Western Australia

Western Australia is benefiting from the current lockdown situation in Sydney and Melbourne as closing venues and  gigs being cancelled, with no sign of opening in site,  Musicians have found a bustling music scene in Western Australia and are extending their tours.

Artisit Stu Harcourt a travelling musician for 2 decades, has called the kimberley home, as it has been described as a hub for live music. Which has been described as a total contrast as one side is thriving, while the others dying by Thomas Freeman is the Perth-based representative for Musicians Australia.

From ABC Kimberley 28/08/21

Cancelled gigs, no crowds, and playing to fans over the internet is a life no musician wants, and the prospect has prompted some eastern states musicians to temporarily relocate to WA where crowds are enthusiastic and opportunities are plentiful.

The bustling music scene in WA is in stark contrast to places like Sydney and Melbourne where coronavirus lockdowns have hit the music industry hard.

Folk duo Laura Kirkup and Tyson Richardson planned to spend just more than three months touring WA, before returning home to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular in mid-September.

But Ms Kirkup said they extended their tour to keep playing.

“We started off thinking it would just be until October but the longer things go on, it looks like we’ll be here to Christmas — maybe even longer,” she said.


Stu Harcourt cancelled his east coast tour amid COVID-19 uncertainty and now calls WA home.(Supplied: Stu Harcourt)

“With different lockdown situations on the east coast, it kind of dawned on me to take advantage of my time in WA,” he said.

He said he now called WA’s Kimberley home.

“I have been returning to the Kimberley for the past 10 years and it feels like my spiritual home.”

WA’s Kimberley ‘a hub’ for live music

In recent months, tourists have flocked to regional WA in droves and popular towns like Broome have become what Jodie Douglas called “a hub” for live music.

Ms Douglas manages the Broome markets and said she had been flooded with interest from bands wanting to play.

Paul Rider Boon and Jodie Douglas help line up artists for the Broome markets and say there has been a huge demand for gigs.(ABC Kimberley: Jacqueline Lynch)

“It’s probably double the amount that we have seen previously,” she said.

“[In the past] a lot of the time we would have to reach out to people whereas we were able to schedule three months of music quite quickly.

Kimberley artist Paul Rider Boon said the region had also attracted international musicians.

“We’ve got all our amazing local musicians, but we have got a real mix of internationals, backpackers and so forth who are all providing the tapestry of our music landscape,” he said.

Thriving on one side of the country, dying on the other

Thomas Freeman is the Perth-based representative for Musicians Australia and said WA’s industry was booming.

“I would say it’s thriving,” he said.

Over east gigs have been cancelled and artists are playing to fans over the internet.(ABC Central West: Luke Wong)

“There are bands that are doing lots of runs up and down regional areas … [and] we’ve got no restrictions here in terms of capacity.

Mr Freeman said it was the opposite of what was happening on the other side of the country.

“Unfortunately that isn’t the case in the eastern states,” he said.

“It’s a total contrast.”

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