Awards strike a chord

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Forget the ARIAs - Canberra now has its very own music awards.

The inaugural MAMAs, or MusicACT Annual Music Awards, will celebrate our local musical talent both on the stage and behind the scenes.

MusicACT spokesman Peter Bayliss says MusicACT was formed almost two years ago to advocate for the local industry and promote it.

They decided to run the awards to recognise the efforts and talents of locals.

''We knew there was a huge gap in the recognition,'' Bayliss says.

''It's not that there isn't talent or a lot of really hard working people behind it; it's really about the ability to get recognised.''


Nineteen awards will be covered at the MAMAs covering a range of different genres and disciplines.

Everything from best rock group and best orchestra/big band, to best EDM producer will be covered during the celebration.

Bayliss says it was an important decision to include more than just contemporary music genres, unlike most music award events.

''For us it's about the music industry in Canberra, it's not about one specific pocket,'' he says.

''Across all genres they all face similar issues.''

The closure over recent years of live music venues including bars and places such as the Fitter's Workshop have impacted on all Canberra musicians. Bayliss says things such as the changes to the ANU School of Music and the introduction of strict liquor licensing laws have also impacted on the local music scene.

''All of these issues highlight why it is so important to us in the industry to get behind it and have one consolidated voice,'' he says.

The hard work of Canberrans behind the scenes will also be recognised at the awards with best contribution to the ACT music industry and best studio/engineer/producer categories.

Bayliss says each category has been judged in a transparent and rigorous manner by a panel of interstate industry experts. He says the number of submissions exceeded expectations for the inaugural year and the judges were happy with the standard of entries.

Four categories were up for public vote as well, including artist of 2012, youth artist of 2012, live performer of 2012 and live venue of 2012. The winners of these categories are still not known and will not be made public until the awards night.

Bayliss says the lucky Canberrans attending the awards are in for a treat with comedian and television personality Mikey Robins hosting. Among the many artists performing will be Alice Cottee, Brass Knuckle Brass Band, Project Beats, Fun Machine, Super Best Friends and Readable Graffiti.

''We've got multiple performances across many different genres - we've got rock bands, punk bands, classical,'' Bayliss says.

''We're also bringing in other ACT-based art forms.

''It's going to be pretty special.''

MusicACT Annual Music Awards

WHERE: Albert Hall

WHEN: Friday, December 7 from 7pm

TICKETS: $70 ($50 for members) musicact.com.au

■ Joni Scanlon is a staff writer and rock'n'roll fan, whose musical talent peaked in primary school playing the recorder