|The fifth annual National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) took place digitally last night, streaming through Dailymotion and accompanied by a gala event at Brisbane venue The Triffid and unofficial screening parties in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
The theme of this year’s NLMAs was “Saying Thanks”, with five special achievement awards given in recognition of initiatives, organisations and individuals who made a positive difference in what has been the most difficult year for the industry in living memory.
Three of the special achievement winners – Isol-Aid, Support Act and Stephen Wade – were announced in advance of the awards.
Two additional winners were revealed on the night, mental health charity Listen Up Music and Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, a tech start-up designed to connect artists and communities through music and technology that has raised more than $700,000 for musicians through live-streamed performances since March.
Taking home the inaugural Musicians Making a Difference (MMAD) Live Award, was Guy Sebastian, who was recognised for his work with The Sebastian Foundation, contributions to Firefight Australia and helping raise $200,000 with The Sony Foundation.
Sampa The Great took home the biggest award of the night, Best Live Act, becoming the first solo artist and female musician to do so in the event’s history.
Past winners like G Flip, Zaachariaha Fielding (Electric Fields) and Jennifer Aslett enjoyed new wins. Jess Gleeson won the Best Live Photographer trophy for a second time, while Sosefina Fuamoli took home the inaugural Live Journalist Trophy.
Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski accepted the accolade for Best International Tour, on behalf of TOOL – who are the first international artists to be recognised by the awards. The beat out the likes of The 1975 and Elton John.
Other first-time winners included TAS’s Slag Queens, NSW’s Caitlin Harnett and the Pony Boys, who both performed during the live stream, veteran Melbourne musician Warren Ellis – who won Instrumentalist of the Year – and rising star Jaguar Jonze, who was presented the Best Live Act in Queensland award by Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.
NLMAs director Larry Heath said he was pleased the NLMAs was able to proceed this year in order to recognise the achievements of artists, individuals and organisations who had helped make a difference when the industry was particularly vulnerable.
“Tonight we had a unique opportunity to give thanks to a few of those in the industry who have been helping keep the lights on for so many in our industry who have been having it so rough this year. It’s often a thankless task and we were honoured to provide them with some much overdue praise.”
“But beyond that I hope everyone left the awards feeling hope for the future. We have one of the finest live scenes in the world – if not the finest – and while we’re facing our darkest days, a bright return is just around the corner. And that’s all thanks to the talent awarded tonight, and the people behind the scenes who keep those engines running.”