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Inaugural Sydney Song Summit


Image supplied by APRA AMCOS

The Sydney Song Summit opened with a strong attendance of songwriters at the historic Horden Pavillion. The Hon Peter Garrett MP’s keynote speech was welcomed by the near capacity audience, where Mr Garrett reminisced about his days with Midnight Oil and spoke of his ongoing commitment to supporting the arts.

“I want to commend APRA for taking the initiative to hold a summit of this scope. As well as giving people the opportunity to develop the suite of skills needed to make a go of it in the music industry, this summit is part of a great re-energising movement for increasing local music and local content I see across the country.”

These were the words of keynote speaker, The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) in his opening statements at the inaugural Song Summit Sydney (S3) music expo held at the Hordern Pavilion and surrounding venues from April 3rd to 5th.

The songwriter focused exhibition gives Australian songwriters a good connection to the associations and resources available to them. Visit www.songsummit.com.au/Exhibit.htm for information and links to the exhibitors.

Staged for the first time, Song Summit Sydney (S3) was the brainchild of APRA/AMCOS and aimed to provide its 900 registered attendees with crucial networking, educational, retail and cultural opportunities. Spanning all genres of music and each facet of the music life cycle, the breadth of the program was a resounding success for S3 participants.

On Song Summit Sydney’s success APRA’s Sally Howland, Director Member Services said, “S3 went beyond our expectations. Perhaps, the most gratifying aspect is that quite simply our delegates genuinely benefited from coming along”.

In a never before gathering of heavyweights covering the full spectrum of the music industry – creators, managers, publishers, technicians, marketers, lawyers and dealmakers, S3 featured an impressive line-up of Australian music industry professionals. Song Summit Sydney also featured international speakers including Todd Brabec – Executive Vice President and Director of Membership for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), James Mercer from The Shins, singer songwriter Sandi Thom, and established songwriter / composer Paul Williams and songwriter / orchestrator Jimmy Webb.

Song Summit Sydney was also about shining a spotlight on the future. Almost 90 students aged 15 – 18 took part in S3’s Backstage Pass Youth Music Clinics. With the students sourced by the ACMF (Australian Children’s Music Association), these senior high school students traveled from around the state to hear singer-songwriter Sandi Thom speak and perform. They also participated in instrument specific clinics, guided by leading songwriters and musicians including Patrick Matthews from Youth Group, Rai Thistlethwayte from Thirsty Merc, Jerry Craib from BlueJuice and Erana Clark. Designed as hands-on experience with leading musicians, the Backstage Pass Youth Music Clinics helped the next generation of Australian songwriters and performers to develop their musical talent.

Don Spencer from the Australian Children’s Music Association said, “The Backstage Pass was a wonderful concept, providing a unique experience for young people from various backgrounds and musical passions, to come together and have the opportunity to learn from professions musicians. APRA’s master classes culminated in a group performance with a thrilling rendition of ‘What About Me’. Music once again was the inspiration to bring together youths from different backgrounds to share together their passion for making music.”

And inspiration seems to be a common theme. S3 attendee and songwriter Zelda Sheldon said, “Thank you for all the effort you put in to bring that outstanding line up of guest speakers to the Songwriters of Australia and NZ.  If your aim was to inspire, inform, motivate, challenge, de-mystify and provoke us to taking our song craft higher it worked!!!

The final word goes to legendary composer Jimmy Webb, “It takes a special kind of courage to be a songwriter. It’s not for everybody”.

The event will return for 2009.

For more information on the S3 event please go to:


About Jomar Reyes

Jomar Lectures in Creative Industries as well as Digital Media in Marketing at the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad. He also runs the Strategic Media Company, a corporate consultancy agency based in Copenhagen.


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