Banding Together: the Australian Music Vault shares the challenges facing our Australian music community right now

The Australian Music Vault has responded to the challenges of COVID-19 by creating a series of video stories capturing its impact on the music community called Banding Together. This project presents real, heartfelt and authentic stories from leading figures engaged with a sector that has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

As the music community’s trusted storyteller, the Australian Music Vault started recording Banding Together interviews in early April 2020 to ensure the extraordinary challenges the industry faced were captured from a range of perspectives. These stories will assist research, discussion and reflection for current and future generations. They also provide engaging insights of a resilient and innovative community supporting others while being significantly impacted themselves.

Over the four-month period producing these stories, Australian Music Vault Music Industry Advisor & Special Projects and co-producer of Banding Together Carl Gardiner and Australian Music Vault Advisory Board Member and co-producer of Banding Together Marcus Knight interviewed 32 members of the music community and key figures who work with it including managers, publicists, label heads, government officials, doctors and psychologists in what are some of the most raw, compassionate and heartfelt interviews. These people are:

Dr Andy Ward – Bill Page – Bonnie Dalton – Cameron Adams – Carolyn Laffan – Chris Robinson – Chrissie Vincent – Claire Spencer AM – Dan Rosen – Emily Cheung – Emily Ulman – Franco Greco – Gabby Colombi – Ian James OAM – Jeff Jenkins – Jimmy Barnes AO – John Watson – Lisa Palermo – Luke O’Connor – Martin Foley MP – Michael Gudinski AM – Dr Michael Olenski – Michael Parisi – Michael Warner – N’fa Jones – Peter Bain-Hogg – Phil Reed – Philip Mortlock – Robert Bundle – Lord Mayor Sally Capp – Tana Douglas – Vicky Jacobs

“Both Marcus and I were humbled and extremely grateful for the trust shown by all the people from our music community we interviewed. They allowed us into their lives and lounge rooms during very challenging times. Their stories provide Banding Together the opportunity to show an insightful and very human side of our music community during these extraordinary times,” says co-producer of Banding Together Carl Gardiner.

The Australian Music Vault is uniquely placed to curate, develop and present these moments in history, and by capturing the real-time reactions and emotions further humanises the COVID-19 experience. While unveiling the major hardships and disruptions to the music industry, it is also important to acknowledge and identify the stories that illustrate the vitally important role music is playing in bringing people together and lifting their spirits during the pandemic.

“This has been the most gut-wrenching period for our sector so it was really important for us to bring awareness and advocacy in a way that could also assist organisations such as Support Act and the Arts Wellbeing Collective.  These organisations are already making really strong in-roads to looking after the wellbeing of the sector. We acknowledge the emotional impact this time has had on the local music community but with these stories, people will be able to see first-hand how humanising this experience has been. We know these are fighting times but we will get through this,” says Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer AM.

From these raw and emotional interviews, various themes came to light and have been formulated into three individual episodes that will be released every Tuesday for the next three weeks. Each episode provides viewers insights into the workings of the music industry in these challenging times, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 whilst showing the optimism, leadership and can-do attitude of a community that continues to rise to the challenge and create great music.

Episode 1 – Tuesday 15 September: The Silent Voice

This episode tells how the music industry was before COVID-19, what it was like when it had to shut down immediately, the consequences of staged restrictions, how it is responding to these challenges and ultimately, the mental health and wellbeing on an entire industry’s workforce. Many of the insights come from the unsung heroes whose stories are not often told.

Episode 2 – Tuesday 22 September: Isol-Aid

This episode centres on the innovation and success of the online music festival Isol-Aid. Founded by Emily Ulman, this festival is an example of the pride, creativity and resilience of the music community during COVID-19. Viewers will hear from industry peers about what Isol-Aid has achieved for music makers and music fans across the country and the world, while also identifying the strength it takes to create, produce and sustain a project like this during lockdown.

Episode 3 – Tuesday 29 September: Our Essential Service   

This episode gives insight into the leadership and determination of the music community set against the chaos of COVID-19. Viewers will hear how each of these storytellers, with a passion for music, have had to adapt to keep their industry alive. Music goes beyond artistic expression and performance; this is a community whose service to the people around them goes without saying.

Banding Together is the music community’s stories; the Australian Music Vault has simply helped capture them. If you, or someone you know – including those connected to the creative industries – are facing mental health challenges, please can contact one of the following helplines: Support Act Wellbeing Helpline on 1800 959 500; Arts Wellbeing Collective; Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For more information on Banding Together visit

Arts Centre Melbourne announced it had postponed welcoming visitors back to its venues in accordance with the most recent Victorian Government guidelines on COVID-19. The ghost lights will stay on a little longer as Arts Centre Melbourne focuses on finding new ways to engage with audiences, including the digital online hub – Together With You. For more information including; bookings for free and ticketed events, Arts Centre Melbourne’s health and safety policies, as well as additional digital content and experiences visit

The Australian Music Vault is a key initiative of the Victorian Government’s Music Works strategy, in support and collaboration with the music industry. It has been developed by Arts Centre Melbourne in partnership with the music industry and is a celebration of the Australian contemporary music story – past, present and future. It’s a place to explore your love of music, revisit some of the big music moments of your life and discover the exciting new stories of today’s Australian music scene.

An expanded and permanent Australian Music Vault is planned for a new Arts Centre Melbourne campus and creative hub at 1 City Road, a key new cultural, industry and tourism offer featured as part of the Victorian Government’s vision for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation.

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