A pioneer of the Australian music industry, Michael Chugg has garnered a reputation both locally and internationally as one of the country’s most prominent music promoters and is a name synonymous with some of biggest tours to have come through Australia and New Zealand over the past 50 years.
Chugg’s foray into the music industry began in his hometown of Launceston, Tasmania in 1962, where he cut his teeth running dances and managing bands, before co-founding the Frontier Touring Company with Michael Gudinski and Phil Jacobsen in 1978. Frontier became the biggest promoter in Australia at the time, touring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and more.
Michael Chugg has toured some of the biggest local and international artists in the world and has picked up numerous industry accolades along the way. He has been named as Pollstar’s International Promoter of the Year four times, has twice picked up the Best Promoter gong at the International Live Music Conference, and has a multitude of Billboard Awards, Helpmann Awards, Country Music Awards, Musexpo Awards and more under his belt. In June 1998, Michael was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to the Australian music industry. In April, Pollstar announced that Chugg Entertainment was Australia’s highest-selling promoter for the first quarter of 2018.
Five years ago, Chugg established Chugg Music, an independent label and management company handling Australian artists. The indie label has seen major success over the years via Brisbane-based band Sheppard, who are fast becoming one of the world’s best young pop bands. Responsible for global breakout anthem ‘Geronimo’, the first two singles from the band’s sophomore album Watching The Sky have achieved Gold and Platinum status respectively in Australia, with second single ‘Coming Home’ reacting in over thirty territories worldwide.
Leanne de Souza
Executive Director Association of Artist Managers (AAM)
Leanne de Souza is a highly-respected veteran of the Australian music industry. With 25+ years’ experience working in artist management and events.
Leanne currently holds the Executive Director role for the Association of Artist Managers (AAM), is a Trustee of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and the Curatorial Advisor (Music) for the Museum of Brisbane.
As an entrepreneur, Leanne is the co-founder and director of the Rock and Roll Writers Festival. As a sought-after curator, consultant and facilitator, she works extensively with festivals, conferences and organisations.
Howard Freeman is one of Australian live music’s great survivors, an industry veteran who has spent more than 50 years in the game and still attacks his job with vigour.
He’s spent time on stage with rock royalty such as Billy Thorpe, Tex Perkins and Nick Cave, but he is probably not a name you know. Mr Freeman is a roadie, part of the indispensable crew that makes the show happen, setting up smoothly each night and then packing up when it’s over.
In the 1960’s Howard was launched into his career working for the family business on the door of venues his father ran. During the 1970s and 1980s Howard worked as both a Tour or Production Manager for bands such as Sherbet and Dragon, who initially toured Australia and New Zealand venues, and gradually progressed to world tours.
From the 1980s, and into the 1990s he toured with numerous artists including INXS, Jimmy Barnes, AC/DC, Eminem, Ice Cube, Midnight Oil, Prince and The Rolling Stones to name a few, and was the Production Manager for Big Day Out for 20 years.
Over the course of his career, Howard spent 45 years on the road, was in charge of production budgets of up to $6.5million and the total patronage of events he managed equated to over 11 million attendees.
Most roadies do it because they love it, Howard says, but it’s a precarious line of work, and he has seen so many ‘fall by the wayside” since he started working on stage doors in 1965 aged 14.
“It’s a life where you’ve got to push yourself and reinvent yourself and carry your can and dig a hole if you have to, to survive…[or] you become a statistic,” he says.
Laughing Outlaw Records and Management, Australian Music Journalist and Author
Stuart Coupe is an author, music commentator, independent artist publicist and radio broadcaster who has been involved with music all his life. Amongst the books he has written, edited or collaborated on are The New Music (1980), The New Rock ‘n’ Roll (1983), The Promoters (2003), Gudinski (2015), Tex (2017) and Roadies (2018).
Program Manager Association of Artist Managers (AAM)
Trina Massey is an arts professional with a diverse range of expertise across the contemporary music industry. Initially starting her career as a venue booker, Trina diversified into artist management, event management and in 2012 founded indie record label ‘Smack Face Records’.
In 2015 Trina become the producer for QMusic’s Queensland Music Awards (QMAs) before joining the organisation full-time as the Program Manager. During her two years with QMusic, Trina specialised in strategy and performance for key projects including Industry Connect, BIGSOUND, Little BIGSOUND and the QMAs.
An avid vinyl collector, Trina can be spotted most weekends playing tunes across Brisbane under her DJ alias DJ BLACK AMEX.
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