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SOUNDS AUSTRALIA: AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST-EVER GIG AT SXSW UNDER ONE UMBRELLA

“Sounds Australia” a new industry brand to promote Australian contemporary music abroad, will be unveiled at a showcase gig to farewell Australia’s delegation to South by SouthWest Music Festival (SXSW).

2009 marks the biggest SXSW Australian delegation to date, with thirty-one Australian bands heading to the worldís largest music market in Austin, Texas from 18-22 March, around half travelling with support from the Australia Council for the Arts.

The Australian bands travelling to SXSW include big name acts such as The Drones, Youth Group, Gabriella Cilmi, The Grates, Birds of Tokyo, Josh Pyke, Temper Trap, My Disco, Infusion, The Fumes, The Boat People and The Red Riders.

This year will be the first time the new “Sounds Australia” banner will be used at SXSW to provide a unified brand representing Australian bands and the business contingent. The brand will be used to raise the profile of Australian contemporary music in markets around the world.

The “Sounds Australia” industry partnership comprises of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), Arts Victoria, Arts Queensland and other government and industry bodies.

Sandra Bender, the Australia Council’s Executive Director of Arts Development, said “Sounds Australia” was the start of a unified international brand to promote the Australian music industry.

“SXSW is without doubt the biggest stage in the world for the music business. It’s a chance for Australian bands to push themselves to the top of the line for international tours and spots on festival bills,” she said.

“Through “Sounds Australia” House, the opening night networking function and showcase gigs, this brand will be a launching pad for these 31 great Australian acts to take SXSW by storm,” Ms Bender said.

The Australia Council is also providing almost $160,000 in touring funding to 15 of the bands showcasing at SXSW.

John Odgers, Austradeís National Manager Creative Industries, said this co-operative effort demonstrates the hard work being done to elevate Australian music globally.

“Austrade has been associated with helping Australian bands enter export markets around the world for many years and has maintained a strong SXSW presence since 2003 as part of a strategy to crack the US market,” Mr Odgers said.

“This unified brand will enhance the collective efforts to promote Australian music internationally with an even stronger coordinated approach across government and the music industry,” he said.

The Australian artists will join more than 1400 international artists over the course of the five-day festival at SXSW. Australian events include a networking function on the opening night 18 March, the “Sounds Australia” event commencing 10am till 2am on 19 March, the seventh annual Stage Mothers Aussie BBQ on 20 March and the Wholefoods Market Day Stage.

The farewell gig, to be held on Tuesday 10 March at 7pm in Melbourne, will feature two of the acts that are expected to set SXSW alight, The Drones and Infusion.

Media contact: Victoria McClelland-Fletcher, communication adviser, on 02 9215 9008 or email: v.mcclelland@australiacouncil.gov.au

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