In Sydney – the birthplace of AC/DC and Midnight Oil – “the cry for live music has never been louder”, says Jackson Morphett Field, the events, programs and relationships manager at 107 Projects in Redfern.
A former car garage-turned-multipurpose creative hub, 107 Projects is the venue for a series of monthly all-ages gigs run by Music NSW that launched in March. “[We want] to create a home where audiences can discover new music, where performers can experiment and where established artists can offer unique fan experiences,” says Morphett Field.
Morphett Field is not only passionate about putting together a “rad show” but, like many others in Sydney, is invested in inspiring young people to seek out – and play – live music; continuing a great tradition in the city that gave us You Am I, the Church, the Preatures, the Presets and leagues more.
“It’s really important that young people get access to live music, and currently it’s really hard for people under 18 to go and see live music shows because they’re all in 18-plus venues,” says Laura Murdoch, executive producer at Music NSW. The solution proposed by Music NSW is a series of all-ages gigs run and programmed by the organisation’s Young People committee, a group of volunteers who are under 25 and obsessive about music. Driving the concept is a desire to establish a robust all-ages music scene like those found in regional centres such as Moruya, Newcastle and Wollongong.
The initiative is committed to developing a new generation of Australian musicians and artists. “It’s hard for bands or artists under 18 to play their music in a professional live music venue setting, so we want to give young people the chance to play to other young people they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to play in front of,” Murdoch says.
“We hope that by giving young people access to live music and industry, we’re helping them get a foot in the door earlier than they might and, in turn, help the industry connect with young people. We want our committee to help shape the future of NSW’s music.”
Another priority is audience development. According to Morphett Field, “cultivating an interest in discovering new music and experiencing small, intimate and diverse live music experiences” is one of the biggest challenges for any venue operator running live music shows in Sydney right now.
It’s also the key to creating a music scene that is sustainable long-term. “Artists need the support of their local communities,” says Murdoch. “If you like music, you should go and see bands. Artists make money by playing live shows, and without an audience, they can’t survive.”
It made sense to hold the gigs at 107 Projects, a long-time partner of Music NSW. “107 Projects is a great community space and has the capacity for all-ages gigs,” says Murdoch. “It’s also super easy to get to in Sydney. We have a long-standing relationship with 107 [Projects] and run other programs such as our artist-development talk and panel series Sound Advice there. It was a natural, organic fit.”
107 Projects’ Morphett Field is just as enthused about the collaboration. Music NSW is run by a team of “good people” and strives “to support live music, musicians and the sector at large to thrive,” he says. “They have their finger on the pulse of community needs and aim to service a suite of programs that provide building blocks for new leaders to emerge and advance the music community.”