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Port Macquarie has a new Music Curator and it’s our own Lisa Willows

✦ Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has announced the Live and Local program, to be delivered across the local government area in partnership with the Live Music Office.

Live and Local is a comprehensive capacity-building program which responds directly to the need to increase participation in Australia’s local live music scene and provides a platform for delivering live music activity that is innovative, flexible, and sustainable.

Lisa Willows is onboard as the Program Curator following a solid 30-year career working in the Australia Music Industry with the likes of Marcia and Deni Hines, John English, the ARIA Awards, the APRA Awards and providing PR services for popular artists from all over the country. Locally, Lisa is co-owner of Dark Alley Collectables, the Howling Moon Blues Festival and owner of the Vibez in the Vines event.

Lisa Willows, Music Curator, featured on Brilliant-Online
Lisa Willows, Music Curator

Tell us a little about the Live and Local program

I’m so excited that Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is partnering with the Live Music Office to deliver the Live and Local program. The program will see us take a census of existing local live music venues and live music performers, as well as seeking out non-traditional venues for inclusion. Once we have the data, we will create a series of micro-festival music events across the Local Government Area.

As part of the program, we will bring together a dedicated professional development event for local music industry folk, together with an industry forum event to support and develop a live music action plan, taking all the things we have learned into consideration.

What do you hope to achieve by the program?

Personally, I want to see live music venues reactivated and a thriving music scene re-established on the Mid North Coast. That is the ultimate goal here.

As mentioned earlier, the Live and Local program supports the development of a live music action plan, informed by experience, engagement and information gathering. This will hopefully inform a live music strategy for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. We hope to stimulate employment opportunities for local musicians, with a focus on youth and emerging artists, ideally creating sustainable new music venues in which they can perform and practice. We believe this will support economic and cultural development, cementing our area as a cultural destination for music lovers from all over Australia.

Who is working on the project?

There was an established working group when I became part of the project. It consists of a bunch of talented locals, Krissa Wilkinson, Alistair Flower, Brad Collins, Brian Heywood, Elke Matthews, Leanne Fuller, Marie Van Gend, Mella Miante, Dakota Bonney and Tim Maddren. You can see there is a brilliant cross section of our local music industry here and it’s an honour to work with them.

The group is facilitated by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and I am working with the amazing Georgina Perri and Marissa Clift and supported by Lucy Joseph from the Live Music Office.

Georgina Perri, is the Cultural Development Officer for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, she sees Live and Local’s practical focus as one of its key strengths.

“The program includes education for musicians, to help them build and sustain their music practice,” Georgina says.

“It also builds industry connections and an environment where musicians know how to work professionally with venues, and venues employ best practice in relation to musicians.”

How do local venues and musicians get involved?

We would love to hear from all musicians, businesses and venues who would like to be part of our region’s live music scene. Contact us on

Even if you have not previously hosted live music or played locally yet, we encourage you to express your interest.

How are the current lockdowns affecting the project?

We are pushing forward, collecting data, and identifying areas and themes for the micro-festivals. We are working hard in the background and when the region opens again, we are looking forward to producing the micro-festivals across the LGA.

Thank you for your time today Lisa.


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