Singer-songwriter Ella Fence was the big winner at the second annual Gold Coast Music Awards last night, taking out the coveted Best Song Of The Year and the inaugural Best Music Video of the Year category for her song Unknown Water.

Over 300 people gathered at Burleigh Brewing Co to catch last year’s emerging artist winner Hanlon Brothers soulful tunes as eight awards celebrating the Gold Coast’s best musicians, bands, venues and events were handed out at the ceremony.

Globetrotting duo Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz of Hussy Hicks collected Best Artist of the Year, making their acceptance speech from Germany, and acoustic folk band Leopold’s Treat won Emerging Artist of the Year, each picking up a custom-designed award figurine designed by SWELL artist Dion Parker.

The Burleigh Brewing People’s Choice Award was awarded to Jason McGregor after a fierce public vote that saw thousands of votes cast in the two-stage process. Artist Ivan Lovatt created a stunning piece of collectible art in his trademark chicken wire for the award statuette.

Peta Fielding, Director and CEO of Burleigh Brewing Co said “Gold Coast Music Awards are an incredible showcase of the best Gold Coast music talent and what a treat to have them all here at Burleigh Brewing. A big congratulations to the organisers and all the winners for a fantastic night.”

The prize pool included career-boosting opportunities, such as performances at BIGSOUND 2016 – the country’s pre-eminent music showcase made possible thanks to City of Gold Coast, plus the chance to perform at the Bluesfest Byron busker’s stage and paid gigs at music events and venues across the Coast.

Organiser Samantha Morris said the support from audiences and the industry has been incredible.

“The Gold Coast Music Awards showed the exceptional calibre of musicianship that the Gold Coast has to offer audiences and it is humbling to have sold-out the event for the second year.” said Ms Morris.

Newcomer to the Gold Coast music scene, Nightquarter, was awarded Best Music Venue for a combination of their unique outdoor covered space and their commitment to booking local music performers. Blues on Broadbeach, which attracts in excess of 125,000 music lovers to the four-day free event was crowned Best Music Event.

Music Champion of the Year was awarded to producer Guy Cooper from Serotonin Records.

Deputy Mayor Donna Gates congratulated the winners and highlighted her support of the Gold Coast’s music industry.

“Our city has a rich depth of musical talent it’s wonderful they are recognised and celebrated through these awards,” Cr Gates said.

Gold Coast Music Awards aims to stimulate interest in our city as a live music destination while celebrating the depth and diversity of talent found here.

Independent judging panels, chaired by music journalist Trevor Jackson listened to scores of songs and deliberated over 145 nominations from all over the Gold Coast. The judging panels for each category this year included Louise Bezzina (Bleach* Festival), Neil Beattie (Swingin’ Safari), Sean Flanagan (Hot Tomato), Felicity Lawless (musician), Cindy Jensen (Buskers By The Creek) and Donna Weston (Griffith University), Lucy Fisher (Gold Coast Film Festival), Matt Webber (ABC Gold Coast) and Chris Boyd (Glass Media), Sharon Solyma (Bond University).

The 2016 Gold Coast Music Awards are proudly presented by Blank Gold Coast along with our event partners and award sponsors: Burleigh Brewing Co., Southport Sharks Cabana Bar & Lounge, Griffith University and the Queensland Conservatorium’s Seed Program, NightQuarter and TAFE Queensland Gold Coast. This project is supported by funding from the City of Gold Coast.

2016 Gold Coast Music Awards WINNERS

ARTIST OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Southport Sharks, Cabana Bar + Lounge
Hussy Hicks

EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Leopold’s Treat

SONG OF THE YEAR, sponsored by NightQuarter
Unknown Water by Ella Fence

MUSIC CHAMPION OF THE YEAR, sponsored by TAFE Gold Coast
Guy Cooper

EVENT OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Hard Rock Café
Blues on Broadbeach

VIDEO OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Gold Coast Film Festival
Unknown Water by Ella Fence (nominee Double Deuce)

VENUE OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Blank GC
Nightquarter