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WAM has coordinated major projects, specific workshops or touring music events in every major centre in every region of WA. As well as having partnered with some of regional WA’s most important music and community events, including enhancing the involvement of local music exposure and learning experiences at The Boyup Brook Country Music Festival, Bridgetown Blues, Nannup Music Festival, North West Fest and The Dowerin Field Days festival, WAM also is currently focused on the following projects to help champion WA music within, and also to, the regions.
WAM continues to explore the viability of touring circuits within regional Western Australia, where the established opportunities are limited but potential benefits – to both the music industry and the regional communities – are great. The Wheatbelt Touring Circuit assists acts in gaining vital new connections with the Wheatbelt music networks and audiences, and is geared towards establishing financially viable regional tour circuits and creating long-lasting community impacts, including previously promoting the #elephantinthewheatbelt road safety campaign for presenting partners RAC to bring awareness to the high road fatality rates experienced in the Wheatbelt.
After record-breaking audience numbers were achieved across a range of venues in 2015, the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit has been extended for a 2016/17 series, combining performances at multiple community recreation and leisure complexes, clubs and traditional pub venues throughout the region with workshops for Wheatbelt artists.
Focusing on musicians in remote and regional areas with limited or no access to professional recording facilities, the ‘Sounds of’ projects provide an avenue for the development of digital recording skills for emerging and skilled audio engineers, while also providing artists with song producing knowledge as well as professionally recorded singles. These are showcased on ‘Sounds Of’ CD compilations, promoted to industry by WAM for possible outcomes including airplay, publishing opportunities (synchronisation in advertising/ film/ TV), or acquiring management or record label interest.
The process can be used for a range of development aspects for the participating artists’ careers, from improving their performance opportunities and entering song competitions, through to gaining airplay on community, digital, and commercial radio stations or licensing the song for a movie or documentary. The project is also specifically aimed to strengthen local community development and to create new partnerships and relationships between participants. The CD provides an impetus for flow-on activities, including a community launch. Songs remain the property of the bands, thus providing them with a profitable product.
Planning for release in 2017 as the next stage of the Sounds Of project series – which has seen previous releases including 2016’s high acclaimed Sounds Of The Goldfields, 2015’s groundbreaking Sounds Of The Pilbara II: Songs In Language and 2014’s pre-eminent Sounds Of The Wheatbelt – WAM’s Sounds Of The Great Southern will uncover songs from a diverse range of artists from the Great Southern region.
From humble beginnings in 2006, now over 30 regionally-based music professionals form a council travelling to Perth for a Regional Roundtable discussion each year during the WAM Festival. These annual meetings provide feedback and direction on project activity and the state of the industry in regional WA. Specific project-based consultation with individual regional centres is essential, particularly where activity is based in remote indigenous communities. WAM wishes to develop relationships with organisations that can provide support for long-term sustainability of regional music production and other related industries.