Fostering musical understanding

MUSICAL DUO: Northern Sound System Live Events Coordinator Ben Smith (left) and Project Manager Nick O'Connor facilitated a workshop at the Left Hand Club on Tuesday.

MUSICAL DUO: Northern Sound System Live Events Coordinator Ben Smith (left) and Project Manager Nick O'Connor facilitated a workshop at the Left Hand Club on Tuesday.

A workshop aimed at helping local musicians secure more paid gigs and giving venue operators pointers on how to profitably engage with musos was held at the Left Hand Club on Tuesday.

It was part of the Regional Accelerator Music Program (RAMP), an initiative funded by the Department of Innovation and Skills and facilitated by two experienced musicians in Ben Smith and Nick O'Connor.

Ben has been on both sides of the music game, having played for a number of bands in Adelaide's punk scene from the early age of 12 and working as the Live Events Coordinator at the Northern Sound System - a live music venue in Elizabeth - for the past seven years.

He says breaking down the barriers between musicians and venue owners is key to creating a healthy music scene in an area like Whyalla.

"The venue operators get to see that musicians are dealing with some of the same issues they're dealing with. We're giving them an understanding of each other," Ben said.

One of the biggest challenges for both musicians and venues is money - and in particular how much a band's music is worth dollar-wise.

"An artist might think they're worth a certain amount and the venue may disagree...so we're looking at pragmatic solutions that answer that question," Ben said.

"It's great being able to talk from both sides of the issue because I'm not really beholden to either."

Nick, who is the Project Manager at the Northern Sound System, said it was great to share important knowledge and insight into the music industry with regional artists.

"We focused on their assets and how they can be used to best serve them in the future," he said.

"A lot has happened in the last 10 years in the music industry so it's good to re-up on all those issues and making sure everyone's batting on the same playing field.

"The music industry is very tricky, it's a cultural industry so when you're growing up as the minority culture it can be really hard to have faith in yourself or your industry.

"I get a lot out of running the workshop, it's therapy for myself as well as information for others."