The southern hemisphere’s biggest annual music conference, BIGSOUND, have announced the keynote speakers for the upcoming 2021 conference – #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and punk legend Henry Rollins.
Taking place in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley from Tuesday, 7th September to Thursday, 9th September, this year will be a special one, with the conference celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Tarana’s and Henry’s keynotes are set to be two of the most impactful in the conferences history.
Her latest work, a book collaboratively written with Brené Brown titled You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience, offers a perspective-shifting view into the global #MeToo movement, as well as a unique insight into the intersection of sexual violence and racial justice.
She was named as TIME’s Person of the Year in 2017 and was also featured in the publication’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my story at BIGSOUND in what has been a 25-year journey laying
the groundwork for a movement that amplifies the voices of millions of survivors and addresses
issues of respect, dignity, and power dynamics in schools, workplaces, communities, and politics,” she said in an official statement.
The keynote speeches will be delivered live from the USA.
This year’s conference will also see a First Nations-led edition of BIGSOUND’s biennial youth conference, dubbed Little BLAKSOUND. This will be presented by Digi Youth Arts, Queensland’s only Indigenous youth arts organisation, and QMusic.
Little BLAKSOUND will be held on Monday, 6th September, and will see co-curators Sycco, Jem Cassar-Daley, DOBBY, and Loki Liddle be mentored by BIGSOUND’s First Nations Programmer and Producer, Alethea Beetson.
Little BLAKSOUND will invite the music industry to listen and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and arts leaders on how to place the next generation of First Nations artists at the forefront of industry conversations.
“Indigenous young people are so incredibly important as they are the youngest generation of the oldest surviving cultures in the world. Little BLAKSOUND provides a much-needed space for them to share their vision of the future, connect and demand change within the music industry,” said Alethea.
This will be the first time since 2019 that the conference will operate in its physical form, as last year’s conference was held online due to Covid-19.
“This year, we have the incredible chance to reconnect, recharge and experience the magic of discovering new music with one another again – friends, colleagues, and music-obsessed strangers – who, for too long, have been separated by geographical borders,” said Kris Stewart, CEO of QMusic.
“It’s an absolute honour to have the calibre of talent in Tarana Burke and Henry Rollins to bring their powerful insight to BIGSOUND for what will be an important piece of the puzzle as the industry grapples with the big issues to progress real, positive change.”
BIGSOUND are aiming to deliver their safest event yet, with a new patron Code of Conduct being implemented across the event. They’re also introducing a range of new safety measures, including a newly minted Safety Response Team.
Early bird conference passes are now on sale. Tickets are limited due to reduced capacities in the wake of Covid-19. Check out more info below and via the BIGSOUND website.
General: $459 / Students, QMusic and Partner Organisation Members: $429
General: $549 / Students, QMusic and Partner Organisation Members: $519