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July 4, 2024

Local music industry heavyweights launch new booking agency

They've held festivals and managed bands in SA since 2007, and now the co-founders of General Admission Entertainment are expanding into booking agency services to help local artists reach a national audience.

  • Words: David Simmons
  • Main image: LOLA
  • Photo credit: Threesix Imagery

General Admission Entertainment co-founders Gareth Lewis and Aaron Sandow today announced the creation of General Admission Agency – a booking agency looking to put Adelaide artists onto national stages.


Connect with General Admission Agency here.

Lewis and Sandow – co-founders of Beer & BBQ Festival – launched General Admission Agency with an inaugural lineup of local artists including acclaimed drummer and producer Alexander Flood, dance-punk band TONIX and punk rockers LOLA.

Alongside the news of the agency – which will be officially launched at a showcase at Chateau Apollo on 31 July – the duo have also unveiled a residency program at UniBar ADL which is co-owned by Lewis while Sandow is the venue’s managing director.

Speaking to CityMag, Lewis says through his work at UniBar and as MusicSA’s project producer, he’s noticed demand from local artists looking for national attention.

“It’s been a matter of getting feedback from artists that this is something they’re after, and seeing so many talented South Australian bands not get the opportunities I think they deserve,” he says.

“Alexander Flood is definitely an internationally renowned artist. It’s really exciting to be working for him. He’s been getting great opportunities overseas and they’re not translating back to Australia so we’ve been working on his Australian stuff.

“TONIX I’m personally managing and they’re very much raw, emerging artists but something totally different for South Australia and their sound is pretty unique in the Australian market… and LOLA is what I like to call meat-and-potatoes punk rock.”

Dance-punk band TONIX is one of the inaugural bands on the General Admission Agency roster. Photo: Samuel Graves.

Lewis says the booking agency model isn’t being done at scale by anyone else in South Australia right now.

“There’s a few people looking after a few bands here and there, but we’re really focused on giving the bands a national footprint,” he says.

The agency will offer artists a “dual-tiered approach”, whereby they’ll open their little black books for the bands to pour through, or provide a full suite of traditional agency services.

“It’s a two-speed thing. We can work as a traditional booking agent and use our networks to get you on shows or festivals or tours, but we also have a cheaper tier where we can give you the scaffolding to do it yourself: templates for documents and legal arrangements and we can do all the booking of venues and settle the accounts,” he says.

Lewis says the launch signals some optimism for the SA music industry.

“Having seen the missed opportunities that South Australian artists have confronted – and I’ve been booking bands on the national level since 2015 – and the conversations around SA artists just don’t exist at those east coast agencies.

“It’s about trying to fill a hole and put these guys on a pedestal because there are bands that have come and gone in the last 10 years that should have had more opportunities or should have been more successful.”

General Admission Agency hopes to put artists like Alexander Flood on stages around Australia. Photo: Street Visioner.

General Admission also unveiled its new Future Sounds Residency at UniBar ADL which, with the support of the Commonwealth Government’s Live Music Australia program, will support three emerging artists with a month-long residency at the venue.

The program includes mentoring services, professional development and four showcase gigs.

Applications are now open for South Australian artists interested in the opportunity via General Admission Entertainment’s website.

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