Published Mar 29, 2010Geoff Trio is a venue owner and promoter who has worked with many Canadian artists including Jill Barber, Hawksley Workman and Joel Plaskett. As a festival consultant, Code One represents Skyville, the Rising Tide, Cronulla Jazz and Shiraz Festival and has been the principal booker of the Peat's Ridge festival since its inception. The Code One label is distributed in Australia on MGM.
What genres of music do well in Australia, and what kind of sales history does an artist need to make them interesting?
Good genres are singer-songwriter, pop rock, blues/roots and world music. It's best if the act has some sort of release in their own territory, with some sort of story. No point going to Australia if you have no story at home. When you come to Australia you're probably starting from scratch so we have to build up the history. Sales history is good but not the be all and end all to coming to Australia.
What kinds of deals do you do with bands, as a promoter?
If the band's in the country and I'm not the sponsor I'll do a one-off. If I am the sponsor we could do a whole tour, the full package with festivals and everything.
What are the main visa issues?
You need to have a sponsor ― a citizen who will be responsible for the tax and so on. It needs to be someone who has a business, not necessarily in the music business. Then you have to fill out about a 70-page visa application and it's a $400 AUD fee per person. It's expensive. It takes at least two months to turn around ― the two months prior is mandatory.
What advice do you have for a Canadian who wants to do well in Australia?
Just keep coming back. It's a big commitment, coming out to a new territory. You can't just come once and expect it to all happen. You need to invest time and money into the territory. It's not like your home that you can go out and play as much as you want and work the market. Returning over again is the best option. As far as Canadian acts that have done really well ― Tegan and Sara are amazingly popular. Ron Sexsmith does well.
What's the most important thing we need to be warned about?
Sunscreen. And dropbears. Be prepared! Don't come over not knowing what you're in for. Do your research. On that note there's an excellent guide that was produced by [Export Music Producer for Sounds Australia] Millie Millgate on behalf of the Canadian government which you can download here.