Territory music hits the highway

Jacinta Price performs on her 2014 Kimberley tour.

Artback NT’s Music Touring Manager, Vanessa Hutchins took a long drive to Broome to explore opportunities for Territory music and despite the thousands of kilometres, managed to write a blog post!

1000km later and I find myself in Halls Creek after three busy days on the road selling Territory music. I’m happy – the response has been great and word already precedes me, as too the talent of the Territory musos I’ve come to talk about.

For the past three years I’ve been negotiating with venues between Darwin and Broome, organising a yearly tour for Indigenous musicians. These trail blazers; Reggae Dave, Catherine Satour and Jacinta Price have all represented the NT on this tour, receiving Australia Council’s Contemporary Music Touring Program, which has supported the costs of the 4000km round trip. They have laid a great foundation for future tours, with the feedback from venues illustrating the hard work they have done. Thanks guys, you have made this adventure easier!

This trip has been about evaluating the tour, getting feedback from venues about what they want, checking out new venues, and selling NT bands who are tour ready. So far the trip has been amazing, the feedback has been excellent and the positive momentum to continue this tour is very motivating. It’s really important to do trips like this – to meet the hard working publicans, venue managers, community workers who do the hard yards to stage these events, and it’s given me a strong idea about what works and what doesn’t. The exciting part is this tour route could be possible for many Territory bands, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, so I’ve been talking up the talent of many Territory bands, and that’s just cool.

It must also be one of the prettiest tour pathways in Australia. Yes it’s about 300km between towns, but driving up through the ranges and huge river districts of the Vic and Fitzroy Crossing is just beautiful. The Kimberley is alive for music possibilities, and yes they do like their country music but they also like having a good time. It’s a similar influence as in Darwin, holiday makers enjoying the dry season, beer in hand and with a need for live music.

All up the venues in Kununurra, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby and Broome are welcoming to professional bands with a hard working attitude. The trip has been great and now it’s time for the long drive home…