THE Sunshine Coast live music scene is alive and well and coming to a venue near you.
From Maroochydore's Sol Bar to the Woombye Hotel, Joe's Waterhole in Eumundi to Mooloolaba Surf Club, all manner of bands, solo artists, duos and singers are providing an entertaining mix for music lovers every day and night of the week.
While we are seeing more and more international artists gracing our stages on a regular basis at venues such as The Events Centre, Caloundra, Lake Kawana Community Centre and The J in Noosa, local acts are also building their fanbase and having their moment in the spotlight.
And the virtual world is welcoming them with open arms, too, on Facebook, YouTube and now our very own BalconyTV website.
You haven't heard about Balcony TV, you had better get with the program.
The worldwide phenomenon has hit the Sunshine Coast music scene and it's an exciting time for performers.
Balcony TV is the brainchild of Dublin-based Stephen O'Regan, who one day joked about using his balcony more.It has grown to become an Internet TV show where musicians perform on balconies all over the world.
There are now 22 cities in the world that have become part of the Balcony TV family, with the Sunshine Coast branch one of the newest additions.
The crew that makes it happen is Nicole Payten Betts, Rachel Forsyth and Nasim Fakhry, who have a shared passion to build creativity on the Sunshine Coast by giving local musicians a platform to project to the world.
"We are supporting local artists on the show by producing clips for them for free," Nicole said.
"I keep expecting to run out of talent but we don't.
"There are so many talented musicians right here and every band has been different and excellent."
A recent Balcony TV star is Ziggy Alberts, of Marcoola.
The 17-year-old picked up a guitar 16 months ago and has been steadily building his own profile by a bit of cheeky self-promotion and a fresh, youthful appeal.
He said the local music scene was a happening place, but it did have its obstacles.
"The Sunshine Coast has more talent than the amount of places to play," Ziggy said.
He said the current venues also needed to be open to new, live talent.
He sings the praises of Balcony TV and its dedication to promoting local artists.
"They are helping the Sunshine Coast reputation to be a little bit more recognised," Ziggy said.
The Sunshine Coast Council is also getting behind the local music scene with its AMPED program, funded by the Arts Queensland A-Venue Program.
Project manager Lucy Willy said that the aim was to help artists develop business skills and make a sustainable career from their music.
Lucy has become a point of contact between event organisers and musicians and has lent her expertise to assist in successful partnerships.
The program is designed to help young Sunshine Coast solo artists and bands aged 15 to 30, in promoting their music.
Through workshops, mentoring and showcase events, local young musicians are learning about the music industry and how to make the most of their talent.
This year, 10 bands have already been through the program which saw them attend three workshops to record and release, learn about media and promotion, plus agents and touring.
The participating bands also attended three free live music events - Australia Day Raw Sounds (Mooloolaba), Island Summer (Chambers Island), and Low Key Tuned Up (Eumundi).
Live music recordings at the Sol Bar in Maroochydore resulted in live music clips for each band.
Woodford Folk Festival
One of the biggest highlights on the Sunshine Coast music scene is the internationally renowned Woodford Folk Festival.
The festival's origins were at the Maleny Showgrounds where it was held for eight years before it moved to the site at Woodford where it is in its 19th year, attracting more than 20,000 people to the majestic hinterland.
The ground that it occupies seems to develop is own heartbeat, and pulses with the culture and rhythm of every single festivalgoer.
During the event, the festival actually becomes Australia's 67th largest town.
Organiser Bill Hauritz said the festival was important, but it was not the only contributor to making the Sunshine Coast such a musical place.
"All festivals play a part. We are just one of a whole stack," Bill said.
"What is needed is an audience and a venue - and we certainly provide that."
Bill likes to support local musicians - and there are always more than a few who make it through the gates and on to a stage - but they are chosen for their musical talent only, and their geographical base has no role in the gig.
As well as performers listed on the program, Bill said many more musicians attended the week-long, end-of-year cultural event.
"Musicians come to the festival not only to perform, but to meet their peers and to be inspired - there are many other side benefits for performers at this type of music festival," Bill said.
Kings Beach Tavern
One of the most reputable venues on the Sunshine Coast for local, national and International acts is the Kings Beach Tavern in Caloundra.
An entertainment manager for 25 years, the tavern's Julez Brady has seen many performers and venues come and go but believes that, right now, the local music scene is buzzing.
"Now there are avenues for everybody, whereas five years ago, there wasn't," he said.
The tavern has opened its doors to acts from Joe Cocker to Suicidal Tendencies and regularly hosts up-and-coming local bands.
Music fans often come from Brisbane and beyond to catch a gig at the iconic tavern, which is helping Caloundra to get a firm foothold in the music scene.
Julez acknowledges that the Caloundra Music Festival has something to do with that.
"When the festival was born, the tavern sort of grew wings as well," he said.
"Overall, the festival draws an incredible amount of people to the area."
The Caloundra Music Festival
The Caloundra Music Festival is now in its sixth year and is well on its way to becoming a firm fixture on the Australian festival scene.
The event has attracted up to 30,000 people in previous years and cements Caloundra on the map in terms of music culture.
Sunshine Coast bands get a chance to perform to a wide audience and also network with international acts and seasoned performers.
The dates have changed this year to run between September 28 and 30, to fit in with the new Queen's Birthday weekend, which could boost its popularity even more for those who want a day to recover on the Monday.
The dates will also place the festival in the middle of the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian school holidays, which will help to attract more families - the festival's key demographic.
This year, the festival will introduce the Caloundra Fringe Festival from Friday, September 21, until the start of the music festival and will provide great opportunities for local groups to participate in and present activities, as well as providing entertainment options for holidaymakers.
Fringe activities will occur throughout the Caloundra area, and many will be free to showcase opportunities for local culture and creativity, and provide a platform for Coast musicians through activities such as busking and band competitions.
Golden Days Festival
The newest music festival to hit the local scene is the Golden Days Festival in Coolum.
Since the success of the inaugural festival in 2010, Golden Days has seen acts including Xavier Rudd, Tex Perkins and The Cruel Sea, The Beautiful Girls and Jeff Lang grace its stages.
Sunshine Coast bands including Floating Bridges, Stryder and Cleveland Blues have also been rocking it for the home crowds, to great acclaim.
Promoter Mark Pico has been quoted as saying the festival provided a weekend of great music and entertainment and a welcome boost to the local tourist industry.
MUSIC TO OUR EARS
21-October 1: Caloundra Fringe Festival
28-30: Caloundra Music Festival
17-18: Golden Days Festival, Coolum
26, 2012-January 1, 2013: Woodford Folk Festival
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