BIGSOUND 2023 Unveils Extensive First Nations Goolwal Goolwal Program

BIGSOUND - the largest music industry gathering on this side of the planet - has unveiled the full First Nations Goolwal Goolwal program for 2023. From September 5-8, the program will help facilitate spaces for First Nations music, dialogues, community and connection across the event.

Curated by Goolwal Goolwal Cultural Lead Dan Rennie and BIGSOUND First Nations Music Officer Sue Ray, and guided by Elder In Residence Uncle Kev Starkey, the program weaves a thought-provoking and essential Indigenous-led program of discussions, forums, networking events and of course music.

“BIGSOUND 2023 promises to deliver the most diverse and inclusive program to date, embodying a sense of unity and inspiration and providing a culturally safe space for all attendees. Our lineup of Artists represents an extraordinary blend of cultures and genres, with First Nations-led discussions providing a platform for increased visibility and recognition of talent and for deepening understanding and cultural insights,” says Rennie.

Uncle Kev Starkey

Dan Rennie

Sue Ray

Goolwal Goolwal programming will be embedded across all of BIGSOUND – from keynotes and panels to showcase artists and pop-up events – with events taking place at Yutta Yutta-Ba (House of First People) in Queens on Brunswick Street, California Lane, Judith Wright Arts Centre and various showcase venues.

The extensive program is supported by an almost $4 million funding boost for BIGSOUND, across three years, from the Queensland Government. This aims to turbo charge Queensland’s contemporary music industry and support the Goolwal Goolwal initiative, with a focus on the event’s First Nations artists, arts workers and showcasing musicians.

Minister for Treaty, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Communities and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Government investment in the Goolwal Goowal initiative will support the growth of First Nations contemporary music.

“Investment of $1.2 million over four years is underpinning BIGSOUND’s Goolwal Goowal initiative, delivered in partnership with Triple A Murri Country. This initiative will grow First Nations programming and management, deliver significant market development opportunities for First Nations artists and create a global centre for First Nations music in Brisbane.

“Now is a significant moment in our shared cultural history as we continue on our Path to Treaty in Queensland and music and songwriting are powerful vehicles for sharing stories, truth telling and healing,” Minister Enoch said.

“The Goowal Goowal program provides an important platform to strengthen and showcase the talent of First Nations contemporary music artists and managers as we look to the significant opportunities presented by the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”


As a symbolic moment to honour the original peoples, culture and traditions of the land, a Smoking Ceremony will be held in the Brunswick Street Mall prior to the Official Opening Ceremony on Tuesday.

Another capstone of the Goolwal Goolwal program will be the unmissable In-Conversation Keynote session with Christine Anu and Ziggy Ramo - two of Australia’s most recognisable and important voices in art, politics and beyond.

Māori (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine) icon Bic Runga will sit down with Leah Flanagan (Director of NATISMO) to discuss the reclamation of cultural identity through music, as a part of Reclaiming Cultural Identity Through Music.

The Goolwal X Yirramboi Mixer, will be a unique opportunity for all delegates to come together and forge connections alongside a leading lineup of First Nations excellence. Another highlight of the program is Goolwal Goolwal Feast for Unity, hosted by the Goolwal Goolwal First Nations’ team, this lunch event offers a space for like-minded individuals to gather and engage in meaningful conversations.

For three nights, the Greaser Garage will be the ‘Goolwal Garage’, and will showcase some of the best emerging, legacy and ground-breaking First Nations performers appearing at BIGSOUND and dominating the airwaves today. Visitors can also drop into Yutta Yutta-Ba daily for a series of First Nations-led and curated cultural discussions and workshops by First Nations people, Elders, artists, industry workers and community.

Also at Yatta Yatta-ba, QMusic and BIGSOUND is proud to partner with the Archie Roach Foundation (ARF) to continue Uncle Archie Roach’s legacy by celebrating the next generation of artists with the Singing Our Futures In-Conversation and by showcasing artists from the ARF’s acclaimed mentoring program.

Spotify present two special First Nations events – Dreaming Loud will be feature Spotify’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander project lead, Dr. Alethea Beetson, for a special presentation of the history of the Dreaming Loud initiative and the Spotify For Mob workshop will host First Nations artists to meet some of the Spotify team.

In Yarning Sessions With Uncle Kev Starkey, Uncle Kev will discuss what opportunities exist already and what more needs to be done to increase the numbers and capacity of First Nations peoples in the industry moving forward.

First Nations artists from across the country are also represented throughout the official BIGSOUND Showcase program in what is the strongest lineup in the event’s history, with Alf The Great, Boox Kid, CLOE TERARE, Dean Brady, DENNI, ECB, Georgia Llewellyn, Glenn Skuthorpe Izy, J-MILLA, Jada Weazel, Joan & The Giants, Jada Weazel, Joey Leigh Wagtail, JUNGAJI, Kobie Dee, Kristal West, Loren Ryan, MARLON X RULLA, Miss Kaninna, Moss, Mr Rhodes, Nathan May, Sachem, Southeast Desert Metal, The Merindas, Tjaka, YIRGJHILYA and Dem Mob.

The triple j Unearthed Stage program will also be extended this year, with a third night added, presented by the station’s Blak Out program.

Final tickets are on sale now with music showcase tickets starting at just $49 and the in-demand all-access Delegate Pass giving you the full BIGSOUND experience including priority queuing, exclusive parties, conference sessions and more selling fast!


(One night of live music of your choosing)

(Three nights of live music – 150+ bands)

(Access to showcases, forums, conference, special events + more)