BIGSOUND Goes out with a bang!

Levi's Music Prize awarded to blind Sudanese Refugee Gordan Koang on final day of biggest ever event. 

With record crowds enjoying some of the hottest new acts on the Australian live music scene, BIGSOUND 2019 closes the curtains today and announces The Levi’s® Music Prize winner - Gordon Koang.  

“I am standing before you as a blind person. I cannot see anything in this world but I put my mind to do music. I have been playing my instrument for 31 years and came to Australia in 2014 to seek asylum because Sudan has a war.

God has blessed us by bringing our permanent residency and now we are here accepting this award at the BIGSOUND festival. Thank you BIGSOUND, thank you Levi's, God bless Australia and God bless Brisbane.”

Gordon Koang

Fortitude Valley’s live music precinct came alive with three massive nights of showcases from around 150 bands from across Australia and the world, playing to over 1,500 music industry heavyweights including the international Levi’s® Music Prize judges who awarded $25,000 as well as $5,000 in travel from Stage and Screen to Gordon Koang.

Gordon Koang is a household name in South Sudan, and an incredible performer with nine albums under his belt. Gordon is currently seeking asylum in Australia, spreading a message of peace, love and unity through his music, and is a worthy recipient of the prize.

A further three prizes will be awarded to showcasing artists across the coming twelve months, creating a massive $120,000 total investment in Australian artists by Levi’s® and Stage & Screen and supported by Sounds Australia. Over the last two years, Levi’s® has provided support via the prize to Ecca Vandal, Alex Lahey, The Teskey Brothers, Hatchie, Stella Donnelly and more.

“It’s been another fantastic year at BIGSOUND, and we are so thrilled to award the Levi’s® Music Prize to Gordon Koang who has been a true stand-out at this year’s event,” said Bridget Hanson, Levi’s® ANZ Marketing. “We’re excited to see what the future holds for our Levi’s® Music Prize alumni, and look forward to continuing to support the Australian and New Zealand music community through events and initiatives like BIGSOUND.”

"Stage and Screen is absolutely delighted to be a part of the Levi's Prize for the second year. It is so exciting for us to know we are a part of helping support and propel these amazing artists toward success,” said Stage and Screen National Marketing Leader Dimity Holland.

Now in its 18th year, BIGSOUND turned the volume up to 11 with Fyre Festival event producer Andy King’s keynote speech full of surprises and wisdom and the thread of female achievement was strong throughout BIGSOUND’s schedule with she-punk Vivien Goldman, Mojo Juju, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, Frontier Touring's Sahara Herald, and the amazing Her Song: Her Story panel.

The first year of Spotify’s First Nations House and the inclusion of three important conversations was a poignant point in the International Year of Indigenous Languages, with the groundbreaking joint keynote exploring Indigenous experiences across the globe for one of the highlights of the program.

It was also a year of firsts for showcasing artists with the YouTube Music Artist Village a huge success, including accommodation and support services for performing artists, and BIGSOUND welcomed the expanded support of the Brisbane City Council for the visual arts program, ensuring that even more colour, light, movement and mysterious purple and orange creatures were able to turn the Valley into a truly unique party zone.

QMusic would like to thank everyone who networked, spoke, played and partied with us over the last four days and look forward to smashing even more records in 2020.