Beers, Cheers and Tears: Gold Coast Music Awards 2016 Winners

There were beers, cheers and quite a few tears as the Gold Coast Music Awards took over the Burleigh Brewing Co. on the 16th June.

From over-the-top glam to grunge and goths (with a giraffe thrown in for good measure), the who’s who of the Gold Coast’s pumping music scene gathered in the brewery’s shiny new digs to guzzle beers, graze on burgers and wings and cheer their lungs out as excited finalists learned their fate.

Organiser Samantha Morris said the support from audiences and the industry has been incredible.

“The Gold Coast Music Awards showed the exceptional calibre of musicianship that the Gold Coast has to offer audiences and it is humbling to have sold-out the event for the second year.”

She also acknowledged the hard work of her team of volunteers, the sponsors and City of Gold Coast, without whom, she said the event “probably wouldn’t have happened”.

Independent judging panels chaired by music journalist Trevor Jackson listened to scores of songs and deliberated over 145 nominations from all over the Gold Coast.  The judging panels for each category this year included Louise Bezzina (Bleach* Festival), Neil Beattie (Swingin’ Safari), Sean Flanagan (Hot Tomato), Felicity Lawless (musician), Cindy Jensen (Buskers By The Creek) and Donna Weston (Griffith University), Lucy Fisher (Gold Coast Film Festival), Matt Webber (ABC Gold Coast) Chris Boyd (Glass Media), and Sharon Solyma (Bond University).

For the second year now, event organisers Samantha Morris, Chloe Popa and Amanda Gorman have pulled together a prize pool including career-boosting opportunities, such as performances at BIGSOUND 2016 – the country’s pre-eminent music showcase – plus the chance to perform at the Bluesfest Byron busker’s stage and paid gigs at music events and venues across the Coast.

Following a red hot opening set from Katie Who and her new band, MC Trevor Jackson kicked off the proceedings, praising the quality of the talent on the Gold Coast.

Award winners received a bespoke figurine trophy designed by SWELL artist Dion Parker, while the People’s Choice Award was designed by Gold Coast artist Ivan Lovett, himself a People’s Choice winner at SWELL festival last year.

After hitting the red carpet for press interviews, all were free to get their funk on to the soulful sounds of Hanlon Brothers – last year’s emerging artist winner – who blew the lid off the brewery in a freestyle rap battle that included song of the year finalist Jesswar on the mic.

Peta Fielding, Director and CEO of Burleigh Brewing Co said of the event “Gold Coast Music Awards are an incredible showcase of the best Gold Coast music talent and what a treat to have them all here at Burleigh Brewing. A big congratulations to the organisers and all the winners for a fantastic night.”

Did someone say after party?  As well as providing the event catering, the Hard Rock Cafe in Surfers also played host to the awards after party, with Gold Coast Cabs ferrying excited ticketholders to the event, where our favourite trip funker Benny D Williams provided some of his unique sounds to an appreciative crowd.  Finally DJ Free hit the decks.  When Hard Rock closed its bar, there may or may not have been an after-after party at elsewhere.

But as we know, what happens at the after-after party, stays at the after-after party.




Ella Fence win

Ella Fence

Song of The Year sponsored by NightQuarter, and Video of the Year sponsored by the Gold Coast Film Festival

Singer-songwriter Ella Fence was the big winner at the second annual Gold Coast Music Awards last night, taking out the coveted Best Song Of The Year and the inaugural Best Music Video of the Year category for her song Unknown Water. Ella Fence came out of the blocks firing in 2015 with debut EP Wanderlust recorded at Brighton Electric UK with Dan Swift and in Paris with Ken Stringfellow. Her debut video for the same song was produced by Double Deuce. The EP spiked interest in the Radio world, making the top 20 on New York’s Breakthru Radio and top 10 on 4ZZZ Brisbane and was also added to several community, college and independent radio stations in the USA and Australia.  Watch Unknown Water.



Hussy Hicks. Image by Polly Snowden

Artist of the Year, sponsored by Southport Sharks, Cabana Bar + Lounge

Globetrotting duo Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz of Hussy Hicks collected Artist of the Year, making their acceptance speech via video from their current tour in the UK, complete with gig footage of Julz crowdsurfing (all while shredding, of course). Julz’s proud parents were on hand to accept the trophies on the duo’s behalf.  The hussies were also finalists in the Song of the Year and Video of the Year for their soulful tune That Old Heartache off their whimsically titled album Lucky Joe’s Wine and other tales from Dog River.  Watch That Old Heartache.




Leopold's Treat win

Leopolds Treat

Emerging Artist of the Year, sponsored by Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University

Acoustic folk band Leopold’s Treat won Emerging Artist of the Year, in a category which saw 34 entries. After releasing their 2011 EP, they sold EPs and saved for three years to be able to record, master, press and release their first full length album. With their grass-roots and intimate approach, the band launched their first full length album, Cold River at the Dust Temple, Currumbin, in October 2015 with some 150 people attended the sold-out launch. The ever humble Kate, Kieran and Dave were so surprised by their win we’d say they probably still don’t believe it! Check out some tunes on their website.





Venue of the Year, sponsored by Blank GC

Newcomer to the Gold Coast music scene, Nightquarter, was awarded Best Music Venue for a combination of their unique outdoor covered space and their commitment to booking local music performers. Nominations for Venue of the Year were so good they all became finalists, but the new kids on the block took it out on the night. Quickly gaining a reputation for showcasing quality local acts and having their organisation abilities down to a fine art, Nightquarter proved that the Northern Gold Coast has what it takes to compete, and win, when it comes to live music. Visit their upcoming calendar of events.



Matty T Wall at Blues on Broadbeach

Matty T Wall at Blues on Broadbeach

Event of the Year, sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe

Blues on Broadbeach, which attracts in excess of 125,000 music lovers to the four-day free event, was crowned Event of the Year.  Kicking off in 2002, the event has grown into a Queensland institution over the last fifteen years, with local businesses benefiting from the throngs of avid music lovers of all ages and musical tastes who descend upon Broadbeach for the duration of the festival.  Director and Broadbeach Alliance member Mark Duckworth was honoured by the win.  “It means a lot to be recognised by your peers,” he said.  Like their Facebook page to keep up to date with any announcements for next year.



Guy Cooper

Guy Cooper

Music Champion of the Year, sponsored by TAFE Queensland, Gold Coast

Music Champion of the Year was awarded to producer Guy Cooper from Serotonin Records. Guy created the first ever street press on the Gold Coast and has been credited with paying for international tours for artists, building websites, recording and marketing albums and making music himself.  There aren’t many people involved in the Gold Coast Music scene who don’t know Guy Cooper.  His proteges Lane Harry x Ike Campbell won the inaugural Song of the Year in 2015 for Anarchy, which he produced.



People's Choice Award Winner Jason McGregor

Jason McGregor

People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Burleigh Brewing Co.

The Burleigh Brewing People’s Choice Award was awarded to Jason McGregor after a fierce public vote that saw thousands of votes cast in the two-stage process. The current Australian finger picking guitar champion is also a member of beloved Gold Coast group The Lamplights, as well as a solo entertainer.  On accepting the award he thanked his beautiful partner without whose support he didn’t think it would have been possible.  Nawww.  You can read more about Jason on the Lamplights website.

Check the gallery of images from the night here:

The 2016 Gold Coast Music Awards are proudly presented by Blank Gold Coast along with our event partners and award sponsors: Burleigh Brewing Co., Southport Sharks Cabana Bar & Lounge, Griffith University and the Queensland Conservatorium’s Seed Program, Hard Rock Cafe, Gold Coast Film Festival, NightQuarter and TAFE Queensland Gold Coast. This project is supported by funding from the City of Gold Coast.


For further information about the Gold Coast Music Awards visit:

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