Legends & Live Bands: The Pilerats Guide to WAMFest 2019

Legends & Live Bands: The Pilerats Guide to WAMFest 2019

Every year, the music industry descends on Perth to celebrate the best of WA's music scene. Here's the best bits.

Much like BIGSOUND to Brisbane, WAMFest is a weekend of music celebration that turns Perth's inner-city into a hub for live music and the industry that supports it, whether it be local booking agents and venues - which come together for the annual Bookers & Burgers event - or labels, radio directors and industry workers from the east coast and beyond: Korea, USA, Japan and the list goes on. This year's WAMFest is ultimately no different.

Split into three sections - WAMFest (the music festival), WAMCon and the WAMAwards - between October 31st and November 2nd, WAMFest highlights the West Australian music scene across its CBD/Northbridge inner-city hub - from the venues that often host its music, to the companies that bring WAMFest full-stop. This year, WAMFest - the festival - aims to spotlight the flourishing talent of the WA music on the live stage, while the WAMAwards professionally recognise them in recording. WAMCon, meanwhile, gives inklings to the behind-the-scenes happenings of WA music (and beyond).

There's plenty happening - both within these three sections and beyond - so to better grasp all the goings-on of this year's WAMFest, check out Pilerats' essential guide to the festival and everything it includes below. Also, find this year's full program here.

Celebrate the best of WA music at the WAMAwards: 

On Thursday, everyone gathers around at The Hyatt Regency to celebrate the best of WA music on an accolade level, celebrating the best of the best with awards that have come to spotlight some of the best musicians West Australia has ever put out. This year, the winners of the WAMAwards will capture one of the strongest years for local music, with Carla Geneve leading the way with eight nominations, followed by Jamilla (six), then Demon Days, Sly Withers and Stella Donnelly with four apiece. 

This year, the public voting system - held through Pilerats for the first time ever (!) - voted for the big awards everyone will be keeping an eye on: Most Popular Live Act, Most Popular New Act, Most Popular Venue and the all-new Most Popular Act, a winner-of-winners-type award that'll go to the act chosen to have the greatest contribution to WA Music this year. Expect to see some big names pop up here and there as WAM dish out awards and celebrate the people that are putting WA on the map.

Put your hands together for this year's WAM Hall of Fame inductees:

One of the big moments for WAMFest is the announcement of that year's Hall of Fame inductees, something that recognises those members of the industry who have made an outstanding contribution to WA contemporary music over their career. Over the years, the WAM Hall of Fame has grown to include some of the state's experts - The Triffids, The Waifs and Tim Minchin included - while this year, the list grows by two: Johnny Young and The Scientists.

Johnny Young is a long-time legend of Australian music who knows how much it has grown and evolved over the years, finding his footings as one of the country's earliest stars in the 60s. He was he first person to be inducted into both the Logie Hall of Fame and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame, and now, the WAM Hall of Fame. The second is The Scientists, one of the most influential Perth bands to exist, how after being mainstays in the contemporary rock world for over 40 years now, and finally being recognised on a local level.

Learn the past - and future - of WA music through pop-up fairs and galleries:

We'll get to WAMCon shortly, but there are a few super cool (and interesting) things going on at the same time, all brought to you by the same team. The first is a digital exhibition that'll showcase 100 years of WA music at the State Library of West Australia (open now, through to Sunday, November 3rd), snapshotting the live music scene from the sweaty grunge of the 90s through to the ballrooms of yesteryear in image form - collated by Jacquie Kelly, Joe Coci, Chris O’Halloran and guided by SLWA’s Adam Trainer and WAM’s Georgia Kennedy.

The second is more-so a snapshot into the future. On the Saturday, the State Theatre Centre courtyard will open up into a Micro Label Fair, allowing the best emerging record labels from Perth and the greater WA area to sell stock and showcase why they're the future of this state's live music scene. This year, stalls by Stock Records, Group Therapy Records, Afrotopik, Walking Horse Music and more will all feature, and across all of these great labels, there's some really great talent going on.

Learn about the industry and its inner-workings at WAMCon:

This year's WAMCon covers basically everything the music industry is tackling in 2019, and you're probably going to learn something new if you make your way to a couple of panels across the week. On Friday, standouts include #Defamation_Situation (a talk on defamation in the music industry and the #MeToo presence featuring Pilerats' own Hayden Davies (g'day) and others), Gulia's World (a masterclass from elite branding/design specialists GGMcG, whose work you've probably come across on Pilerats header photos throughout the last year) and Lords Of Chaos (a masterclass is no/low music budget promotions featuring another Pilerats star - Alex Paioff, who also serves as the CEO of digital marketing company Made In The Pile).

There's the infamous Boat Party on Friday night too, and then on the Saturday, there's plenty more to catch: a session on how to pitch your music to radio featuring heavyweights from triple j, double j, RTRFM and FBi; a keynote from the legendary Paul Mac, who has worked with... everyone... including us across the past decade; and Fail It Til You Make It, a timely and important chat about overcoming obstacles featuring a whole bunch of other legends too.

Catch some damn good WA live music at WAMFest: 

The real star of WAMFest's multi-day roster, however, is obviously the live music contingent. WAMFest, spread over two days and basically every live music venue in Perth, is a big ol' celebration of WA music's best and this year is no different. Hot tips for this year:

  • Abbe May @ Capitol, 11PM Friday
  • WYN @ The Sewing Room, 12PM Friday
  • Jack Davies, then Riley Pearce, then Demon Days, then Dulcie @ Perth Cultural Centre Amphitheatre, 8:10PM onwards Saturday
  • Flossy, Death by Denim and SUPEREGO @ State Theatre Courtyard, 9:10PM onwards Saturday
  • Mali Jo$e, Hyclass and Shadow @ Jack Rabbit Slims, 8:10PM onwards Saturday
  • Flewnt @ Northbridge Piazza, 5:20PM Saturday
  • BEXX, Gazey, Jacob Diamond, Your Girl Pho and Adrian Dzvuke @ The Bird, 6:10PM onwards Saturday
  • Web Rumours, Butter, Noah Dillon and this year's 'uge Secret Headliner @ The Bird's outside carpark, 6:20PM onwards Saturday
  • Shy Time and Rok Riley @ Nevermind Small Club, 11PM onwards Saturday

Pick up a copy of this year's Kiss My WAMi CD:

Every year, the Kiss My WAMi CD brings together the highlights of WAMFest and the WAMAwards into a tidy little package that really shows off the strength of WA music in the past year, and this year feels particularly strong. When you pick up this year's CD, you'll find new ones from Gazey, Flossy, Butter, Death by Denim, Demon Days, Dulcie, Riley Pearce, Your Girl Pho and the list goes on, and on, and on.

This year's WAMFest runs from Thursday, October 31st to Sunday, November 3rd across Perth and Northbridge. For more information, head HERE.