By GAYATRI CHATURVEDI
While Melbourne is recognised as the live music capital of Australia, accessibility and representation could be much better, says industry insider Lou James.
A former musician in indie pop band ALPINE and current music industry pathways coordinator at youth organisation The Push, Ms James said things had improved, but there were still limitations.
“We need to ensure that music is accessible – no one should miss out on the ability to see live music,” Ms James said.
“Representation has to be the primary focus – if there is an employment opportunity, if someone’s putting a band together, if someone’s putting a lineup together or if someone’s doing a radio show."
Working to remedy this lack of representation, Ms James facilitates a mentoring program for a diverse group of young practitioners and performers.
Funded to accept 70 participants, Ms James works alongside co-facilitator and event manager Melinda Dine to match mentees with industry professionals from various streams including music business, marketing media, technical production and performance.
Previous mentees and mentors from The Push’s Industry Pathways Programs Picture: The Push
“It’s been an incredible experience helping young people identify their self-worth and cement their career pathway in this industry, which is quite a challenging one,” she said.
Having worked with recent mentee Dina Bassile – an access consultant and wheelchair user – Ms James said she realised how little funding was provided to make venues more accessible.
“I feel like in a lot of older venues it’s something that we haven’t really thought about and a lot of people are missing out on the chance to see music – it’s really sad,” she said.
“It’s all about bringing everyone together in a space where they can share music and just have pure enjoyment.
“That’s a philosophy that The Push has recognised, we’re working hard to ensure it happens.”