SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
July 4, 2023

Music SA replaces Umbrella Festival with Good Music Month

The annual winter music festival Umbrella has been replaced with Good Music Month – a new state-wide, open-access music festival happening in November.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem

In the month that would have hosted this year’s Umbrella Festival, Music SA has announced a new month-long, state-wide, open-access live music event: Good Music Month.

Good Music Month will occur in November, aligning with major South Australian music events, including the SA Music Awards on Wednesday, November 8, at Woodville Town Hall.

Music SA CEO Christine Schloithe says with events like Illuminate Adelaide enlivening the city in July, Umbrella’s mid-winter timing became less necessary.

“The original premise for Umbrella Festival was… to drive better activity for bricks-and-mortar venues in the CBD during July, which was the slowest trading month,” Christine says.

“In that lens, it achieved a really great outcome, and some really excellent outcomes for the city… [but] last July, if you look at the visitor statistics – off the charts good – the argument about bricks-and-mortar venues needing activity during the quietest month of the year didn’t have the same playbook as it did have previously.”

Scouted, the South Australian music showcase event which capped off Umbrella Festival, will remain in its early August timeslot to stay aligned with the annual Indie-Con convention of independent Australian record labels hosted in Adelaide.

Christine says the November timing of Good Music Month will make the annual open-access festival more accessible to a broader segment of South Australia’s live music industry.

“It’s away from the cluster of events that happen after the New Year – that huge end-of-summer run where you can’t really fit much more in,” Christine says.

“It aligns with Aus Music Month, which is something that anybody that knows anything about contemporary music in Australia has got memories or a connection with Aus Music Month.

“And it’s weather-friendly – and one of the things that Umbrella couldn’t do is successfully stage outdoor events.”

Christine also hopes a broader range of music genres will embrace the new identity.

“I feel like in Adelaide we’ve got a tendency to focus things by genre or by sector, and if you’re in the contemporary music industry it’s different to the symphony orchestra or classical music or art music or jazz,” she says.

“I feel like if we can be inclusive, we’ve actually got a better chance of driving a bigger profile.”

Music SA announced Good Music Month at an event today where the organisation also released its 2023-35 Strategic Plan – its first since Christine joined as CEO.

The not-for-profit has identified five areas it will focus on to “shape the future of South Australian music”: advocacy, skills development, First Nations engagement, regional engagement and development, and sustainability.

Music SA chair John Glenn says it is a pivotal time for the South Australian contemporary music industry and Adelaide as a designated UNESCO City of Music.

“Whilst the pandemic is behind us the effects of COVID-19 will continue to impact our industry for many more years,” he says.

“MusicSA has repositioned and restructured in order to more powerfully represent and advocate for South Australian artists, venues, promoters and music businesses and to deliver more nuanced and needs-based industry development opportunities for the sector.”

Share —