Unlike most music lovers in Australia, I wasn’t watching the ARIAs last night. I was playing trivia, expecting to catch up on all the action this morning. I managed to avoid learning of the winners until I watched the broadcast, but last night I did learn that a lot of people were fed up with the awards. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of getting older, but my Facebook feed was full of people bemoaning the new acts and insisting things were better in their day.
Watching the broadcast, I think it’s very easy for nostalgia to creep in. We were celebrating 30 years of music awards, and watching the montages of artists that came before I too felt that sense of longing for some of my favourite performers of the past.
But the thing is, that shouldn’t take away from embracing what’s great about the music industry today. I got really excited about Illy’s album this week. I was thrilled about Montaigne’s win because she’s created some of my favourite songs this year. What Flume does isn’t quite to my taste, but he’s clearly dominating right now. Diversity is what the industry has always been about. Hats off to him and his five pointy trophies.
I think the organisers of this year’s ARIAs did a wonderful job of celebrating the past and the present. Watching Jimmy Barnes sing with Jess Mauboy, seeing current acts like Bernard Fanning and Missy Higgins sing Crowded House songs before the act themselves performed, grinning ear to ear as The Veronicas bowed down to John Farnham, these are moments that symbolise not just the great music we’ve made as a country but that we continue to make.
It’s very easy to stay in our bubble and just listen to the music we’ve always loved. But the arts will only thrive if we take chances on something new.