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November 5, 2015
What's On

Proof of Life Festival

You now have no excuse to not to give your time and affection to local musicians, buskers and artists. Beginning this Friday, new music festival, Proof of Life, will be serving up one week of local auditory bliss.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Picture 1: Louis Donnuramma by Tessa Lauren Milford-Behn
  • Picture 2: Oscar Asbanu by Tessa Lauren Milford-Behn
  • Picture 3: Joe Hay by Jonathan van der Knaap

Off the back of the success of organic, community driven festivals like the Adelaide Fringe and SALA, open-access music festival, Proof of Life will unfold over a full week starting Friday November 6th.

The busker-focused festival debuts this year with one aim: to find new ways to get new music to new people.

“Proof of Life is basically a way of bringing all of that together, and allowing for people to take risks. People can go out and take the risk to see new things,” Director, Joe Hay, says.


Proof of Life is running from November 6-14. Find the program here.

“With the Fringe, people take risks and go see things they normally wouldn’t go see – it’s a party atmosphere and a celebration, and we want Proof of Life to be something like that.”

This year’s Proof of Life festival is more of a “campaign,” because it will highlight the current “amazing” state of the local music scene.

South Australia has a “real energy at the moment,” says Joe, and he wants to capture and promote that.

“We punch above our weight nationally and internationally,” says Joe. “You can make it here, and the rest of the world is watching.”

Apparently, at the first Music Cities Conference (which was held in Brighton early this year), the South Australians who spoke on our state’s music city policy blew other cities out of the water.

Joe says Mark David, who is employed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to do London’s music city policy, couldn’t talk on music policy at the conference after hearing South Australia speak.

“[Mark] said he needed to go back to the Mayor and tell them they were aiming too low, and that they needed to re-think what they were doing to be in line with that we’re doing here.”

Joe also says that, with the right ingredients, it’s not too far of a stretch to say that Proof of Life could reach the same success as the Fringe and SALA – both festivals that have helped land South Australia a place in the International Festivals City Network.

So why now?

“live music is experiencing a resurgence at the moment, people want to experience something more than a digital file,” Joe says.

“Proof of Life is an opportunity for people to go see new music and for bands to take risks and and try new something new..”

And where better to look to for live music events than the city streets.

Some of Adelaide’s favourite buskers, like Jake the Pipe Guy, Oscar the East Timoree Didgeridoo player, and Michael Brigante the busker who might be getting signed because of Reddit, are guaranteed hits of the festival.

But, though the festival is putting a lot of its energy into highlighting Adelaide’s buskers, Joe says “it’s also about bands and getting them out and playing to people.”

Adelaide will see bands like Slick Arnold, Cosmo Thundercat, and The Skeleton Club, as well as artists like Trent Worley and Louis Donnuramma hit the streets over the course of the festival.

Busker turned touring artist, Louis Donnuramma, says he feels Proof of Life is more than a festival – it’s a community coming together.

“It’s really focused on the local scene, which is a great thing,” Louis says.

“There’s a really good variety of high to low local acts – you’re getting a really good feel for what Adelaide has to offer in terms of music.

“I’m keen to see The Golden Realm – they’ve got a very unique sound, which I think a lot of people will like. I’m also looking forward to seeing Conchillia, the guys from Slick Arnold, and Cosmo Thundercat.”

But, as Louis notes, “there’s other things too, like the forums that Joe is putting on.”

The handful of forums taking place over the week will act as industry development discussions, and will cover the topics of women in the SA music industry, print culture & merchandise, and gaming & music – all of which will be held at St Paul’s Creative Centre?

There are a number of other events like the SA Music Awards, Scumfest, Format Festival and Feast Festival that are happening around the same time, and Proof of Life will be doing a heavy deal of cross promotion.

But above all, the festival is about Adelaide.

“I’m a big fan of Adelaide,” says Joe. “We can be a conservative, doubting market, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter – we’re punching above our weight and we’re doing it.

And we’re doing it bloody well.



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