WA Day Concert Slammed Over East Coast Headliner: 'Misses The Point'

22 May 2024 | 2:54 pm | Mary Varvaris

"WA talent is not only exceptional but also abundant and should not be overshadowed by East Coast artists."

Drapht @ WA's State Of The Art festival

Drapht @ WA's State Of The Art festival (Credit: Linda Dunjey)

WA Day music festival organisers have come under fire from Western Australia’s peak music body, WAM, for locking in a headliner from the East Coast for this year’s event.

WA Day has secured a two-day free music concert on Sunday, 2 June, and Monday, 3 June, at Optus Stadium Precinct and Burswood Park. Tunes start at noon on both days.

The headliner WAM has taken issue with is Guy Sebastian, who lives in Sydney. Another non-WA act on this year’s line-up is Sneaky Sound System. However, the Monday is headlined by Perth psychedelic rockers Pond, set to drop their tenth album, Stung, on Friday, 21 June.

The majority of the line-up, however, showcases local acts from Western Australia, including Siobhan Cotchin, Grievous Bodily Calm, The Waifs, Joan & The Giants, Mia June, and more.

In a statement, WAM expressed “disappointment” in the Sunday headline slot going to an East Coast artist and brought up last year’s line-up, which was received with backlash after featuring multiple artists who don’t come from the Western Australian music scene.

Last year’s event was headlined by three East Coast acts: Amy SharkBaby Animals and Mark Seymour & The Undertow – in contrast to 2022’s all-WA headliners Birds Of TokyoEskimo Joe and Jebediah.

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“Following the 2023 event, which prominently featured non-WA artists on the WA Day Festival lineup, WAM’s concerns and those expressed by the WA music community have gone largely unaddressed,” WAM said in a press release. “We had hoped that, Celebrate WA, the organisation responsible for curating the WA Day Festival, would have reconsidered their approach.

“However, they have elected to feature two East Coast artists to headline the main event. This decision is in direct contrast with Celebrate WA’s mission ‘to honour and celebrate Western Australia's unique culture and talent’.”

WAM added that it’s pleased with the inclusion of WA acts on the festival bill.

“The East Coast headline acts have garnered significant attention and media coverage over the weekend. While they may be seen as a drawcard, this approach misses the point,” WAM’s Executive Director, Livia Carré, said in a statement.

“WA talent is not only exceptional but also abundant and should not be overshadowed by East Coast artists, especially on the one weekend a year dedicated to celebrating our pride in being West Australian.”

WAM then called for WA-only line-ups at future WA Day festivals.

In response to a follower on Facebook asking if the festival didn’t have enough confidence to book a headliner from Western Australia, a spokesperson for WA Day wrote:

“We’re putting local music front-and-centre on WA Day this year, with a new music concert dedicated to showcasing our amazing local music scene. We also wanted to give West Australians the opportunity to see acts they may not typically get to see.”

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