“LET THE MUSIC PLAY…. AND BE WRITTEN ABOUT!” – and so will be at the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 2018.
It’s been said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”.
And yet a lot of people do it, and some even make their living from it.
Commenting on music journalism, veteran musician Elvis Costello definitively states, “It’s a stupid thing to want to do”. But such is our collective fascination with music of all types, that there’s a wide audience that loves to read about music. As a result there are scores of obsessive music writers, critics and bloggers who dissect every nuance of the music industry, writing about musicians, their inspirations and influences, the meaning of their lyrics, their instruments, their vices and every other aspect of their lives.
And while it can be a distinct challenge, if not an impossibility, to capture the ambiguous magic of music without reverting to cheap clichés, bombastic praise or damning assertions, with the rise of social media these days anyone can be an armchair music critic.
So what makes a good music writer? And where do you start if you want to be one? The Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival has assembled some very notable music journalists to tackle these topics, share their favourite stories and to discuss the fine line between journalistic pleasure and pain.
Stuart Couple is a veteran music writer, broadcaster, commentator, band manager and promoter who owns his own record label.
Stuart presents two well-established weekly radio programs – 2SER’s Dirt Music and FBI’s Tune Up – and writes widely about popular music. His books include biographies of Tex Perkins, Tex (2017) and Michael Gudinski Gudinski: The Godfather of Australian Rock & Roll (2015) and The Promoters (2003). He’s currently working on a new book about music industry roadies, which will be published later this year.
Samuel J. Fell is Senior Contributor to Australian roots music magazine Rhythms – where he was Assistant Editor between 2010-2016.
He’s also a critic for The Sydney Morning Herald and Rolling Stone, and has contributed to a range of publications, including The Saturday Paper, The Age, The Guardian, The Big Issue and The Music. Samuel’s first book, Stars & Hype: First Time Notes On The American Deep South was published in 2016. He’s currently finishing his second book – a history of 50 years of Australian rock press, due for publication in late 2018.
Steve Bell earned his stripes in the music industry managing bands and spent many years hosting popular shows on Brisbane’s community radio station 4ZZZ.
He’s been involved in the Brisbane edition of The Music (formerly Time Off magazine) – Australia’s longest running street press publication – since 2000, including long stints as the mag’s Editor and Senior Contributor. He’s also a contributor to Rhythms magazine, runs an independent record store and a local indie label. Steve has interviewed over 2,000 bands.
The BRWF’s music discussion panel will be hosted by local broadcaster, music journalist and festival advisor Seth Jordan.
The Pacific correspondent for the international UK-based World music magazine Songlines, Seth was Contributing Editor for the 2010 book World Music: Global Sounds in Australia, and wrote the Aussie chapter of the most recent Rough Guide to World Music. He also presents his weekly nationally-networked Community radio program The Tiki Lounge Remix.
Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival 2018
Writing About Music: ‘The Song Remains The Same’
Panel discussion – Saturday 9 June – 1.00-2.30pm
Cedar Bar – Single session $20.00
Chair: Seth Jordan with Stuart Coupe, Samuel J. Fell & Steve Bell
Bellingen Shire is a secret Australian hamlet along the Waterfall Way on the NSW mid-north coast. This region is popular for its unique landscape where the Great Dividing Range almost touches the sea. It boasts a diverse history and proud indigenous culture, and is home to an eclectic and supportive community of farmers, alternative lifestylers, tree-changers, and families who have called this region home for generations. Interesting in so many ways and with so much to offer, it’s no wonder visitors return time & time again, while other never leave…