Claire McGarry and Sam Fell . . . they have been contracted as ‘Music Brokers’ by Arts Northern Rivers.
Claire McGarry and Sam Fell . . . they have been contracted as ‘Music Brokers’ by Arts Northern Rivers.

‘Music Bro’ to pull some strings

You’ve heard of stockbrokers and mortgage brokers.

Meet Brunswick Heads-based couple Sam Fell and Claire McGarry, who’ve been contracted as ‘Music Brokers’ by Arts Northern Rivers as part of the very first Creative Industries Brokers Pilot Project to support ongoing development and career pathways for musicians and artists based in the region.

“It’s a well-known fact that the Northern Rivers is a real hub for musicians from all over Australia,” Mr Fell said.

“As a result, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen the industry here by linking people to each other.”

Mr Fell, a freelance journalist for Rolling Stone and Rhythms magazine, said his industry experience and large web of contacts had helped him secure the new ‘Broker’ role.

Together with Claire McGarry, director of CM Artist Booking, the pair bring to the job a combined 18 years experience in the Australian music industry across journalism, festival and artist management, publicity, radio, booking and event production.

“Instead of the government giving cash grants to particular bands or musicians, this project acknowledges that careers are made when you make the right connections, and in that respect I’d say it could be the first of its kind for the music industry,” Ms McGarry said.

“Our job for these initial seven months will be to help musicians connect, and we’ll do that by talking and listening to anyone involved in the industry, identifying any problems and barriers to development and finding ways to remove those barriers and create more positive links.”

Ms McGarry said they would host a series of industry events such as forums and workshops, featuring high-profile speakers, to help bring people together.

The brokers will also be busy collecting data.

“By compiling accurate data on participation and need and with demonstrated success of outcomes, we think we will be in a strong position to lever partnerships at a local, State and national level,” Arts Northern Rivers chief executive officer Tony Duke said.

The pilot project is an Arts Northern Rivers initiative supported by Arts NSW, Industry and Investment NSW and Regional Development Australia – Northern Rivers.

“As well as financial support, these partners provide expertise and advice which is so important,” Mr Duke said.

In addition to Sam Fell and Claire McGarry, the Creative Industries Brokers Project has contracted fashion broker Wendy Powitt, and Jill Moonie, who is the manager of the Digital/Screen Broker Project.

 Local artists and musicians can find more information and contact details for the project brokers at Arts Northern Rivers’ new website

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