BIGSOUND 2020 announce Tom Morello, Tones And I, Amy Shark, more as keynote speakers

The free event will take place virtually this October.

Bigsound 2020 is going to look a little different than we’re used to.

Usually right at this moment, Australia’s music industry – from bands to managers to media and everyone in-between – are packing their bags and heading to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley to dive into another year of Bigsound.

2020 isn’t any usual year, and for its 19th year, the annual music conference is going virtual. As an added bonus, to ensure equal access across an industry that has been severely devastated by COVID-19, delegate passes are free. Meaning anyone, no matter where you are in the world, is able to get amongst this year’s learning.

Following the announcement of this year’s free, virtual event, Bigsound 2020 has dropped their first round of keynote speakers – and it sure is spicy. The stacked lineup is led by musician Tom Morello. Alongside his Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets Of Rage, the Nightwatchman fame, he is widely recognized as a political activist, and he will speak about both in his keynote. 

“Join me at BIGSOUND to talk music, activism, and how the guitar can be a divining rod for truth and justice,” Morello says. “The world is at a dangerous crossroads and it’s time to feed the poor, fight the power, and rock the f**k out.”

BIGSOUND will also host a lineup of special in-conversation sessions with the legendary Kev Carmody and ARIA-award winner Amy Shark, as well as a keynote presentation from global superstar Tones And I.

Rhoda Roberts and Ziggy Ramo will discuss the Indigenous future of the music industry while American Grammy-nominee Mumu Fresh will discuss career, community and survival in 2020.

Everyone’s favourite Instagram cooking star Nat’s What I Reckon will present an exclusive BIGSOUND cooking show, while I OH You’s Johann Ponniah and tour and production manager and founder of CrewCare Australia Howard Freeman will also host their own sessions.

“BIGSOUND has been the meeting place of the music community for nearly two decades and the determination for this event to not only go ahead, but to thrive in a virtual environment is essential for our industry,” QMusic CEO Angela Samut says. “BIGSOUND has been a leader for years in looking to future business models, mental health and a place of fairness and justice for First Nations peoples working in the music industry as well as giving tomorrow’s Australian icons a platform to learn and be discovered. Never have these things been more important. Never has BIGSOUND been more important.”   BIGSOUND’s second announcement and full program schedule will be unveiled at the end of September along with The BIGSOUND50, a selection of the hottest Australian artists.

Now more than ever our national music industry needs to connect and talk about where we are heading as an industry both domestically and on the international front. That’s why this year’s digital conference, focussing on three pillars of community, survival, and re-futuring, is so important.

“BIGSOUND has always been about bringing our business and arts community together and while we were hopeful of being in our spiritual home in the Fortitude Valley live music precinct, 2020 has made other arrangements,” QMusic CEO Angela Samut says.

“It has never been more important for the Australian industry to come together to focus on survival and re-futuring with a program that offers a mainstream conference program, professional development and mental health activities as well as the introduction of The BIGSOUND 50.”

The innovative BIGSOUND 2020 virtual program will still include the usual keynote addresses, online workshops, panels and discussions, this year exploring new commercial realities, the mental and physical health of people in the biz, equity of revenue and opportunity, and more questions needed to move into the next decade.

While the regular live showcase portion of Bigsound won’t go ahead, Festival co-programmers Dom Miller and Ruby-Jean McCabe, alongside First Nations Programmer Alethea Beetson, will select the best artist applications to spotlight the next crop of emerging Australian music talent to become The BIGSOUND50. They’ll receive a stack of great opportunities including one-on-ones with industry mentors and online meetings with industry professionals, to help assist their artist growth, career goals, and potential future pathways.

The First Nations House returns, in partnership with Spotify, with a poignant and important program discussing the future of the music industry, creating virtual performance opportunities and offering valuable connections to those across the music industry from a First Nations perspective.  

The full BIGSOUND program will be released in late September.

BIGSOUND 2020 will take place virtually on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October. Register for your free Delegate Pass at