CMA Delegation Heads Down Under

A Country Music Association delegation led by CEO Sarah Trahern is visiting Australia to foster ties between the country music communities of Australia and the United States. 

The delegation includes the association’s chief marketing officer, Damon Whiteside, director of international media relations Bobbi Boyce, and board member and Spotify head of global country music John Marks.

The visit is timed when most of the Australia’s executives head to the Queensland’s Gold Coast. The seventh CMC (Country Music Channel) Music Awards are March 23 (and broadcast on Foxtel’s CMC), followed by the southern hemisphere’s largest country and roots festival, CMC Rocks Queensland, March 24-26.

– Sarah Trahern

The schedule calls for the CMA reps to meet commercial radio’s peak association Commercial Radio Australia, cable TV Foxtel, free to air Nine Network, local execs of Spotify and Google, songwriters administration and royalties group APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performance Rights Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society), Sony Music Australia, Universal Music Australia, ABC Music which has many country acts on its roster, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tamworth City Council and the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).

“These meetings will give all parties an opportunity to establish a contact base and identify mutually beneficial opportunities for both Australian country music in the USA and vice-versa,” said Rob Potts, who co-promotes CMC Rocks Queensland with Michael Chugg and has served on the CMA board for 15 years.

Potts and Chugg have over the past decade developed the country music arena touring circuit Down Under with first visits by Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw.

CMC Rocks Queensland has sold out the past two years, with Jason Aldean, Dixie Chicks, and Florida Georgia Line headlining over emerging country acts from the U.S., Canada and the UK. This year’s event, its 10th, will draw 15,000 to Willowbank Racecourse, headlined by Dixie Chicks, Little Big Town, Kip Moore and local stars Lee Kernaghan and Morgan Evans. According to Potts, the festival attracts fans from North America, UK, Europe, South East Asia, New Zealand.

The number of country music festivals has also risen around the country. The Country Music Association of Australia and the Australian music capital of Tamworth have also been forging ties with the U.S. and international country music sectors. Nashville and Tamworth already have a sister-city relationship since 2013 (Tamworth’s population is 60,000 to Nashville’s 600,000), and delegates have regularly visited each other cities.

During this year’s 10-day Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF), four students from Nashville’s Harpeth Hall School interned for three weeks at the Tamworth Regional Council in the run-up to the festival, which drew 50,000 in its 45th year. According to TCMF director Barry Harley, who is among those confirmed to meet with the CMA delegate this month, its move to live streaming some of the events has been a huge success. About 11,000 streamed the Golden Guitar music awards, which is staged towards the end of the TCMF.