The city-wide search for the Gold Coast’s best musicians, bands, venues and events has revealed a diverse and thriving music scene with Gold Coast Music Awards talented finalists spanning musical genres from heavy rock to opera.

Singer-songwriter Ella Fence was awarded a record four finals spots while Amy Shark, Hussy Hicks and Leopold’s Treat were all awarded two finalist places each at the finalist announcement at Chapter and Verse bar and lounge today (Friday 20 May).

Heavy rock band Baltimore Gun Club scored a finalist spot in Best Music Video category with their intricate hand-drawn animation, while 18-year-old opera singer Jenna Dearness Dark was awarded a finalist place in the Emerging Artist of the Year category.

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 finalists are now in the running for career-boosting prizes, such as the opportunity to perform 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 finalists reflected the diversity and quality of the music scene on the Gold Coast.

“It’s testament to the quality and calibre of the finalists that most of the artists are in all corners of the world touring at the moment,” said Ms Morris.

“Last year’s Emerging Artist of the Year Hanlon Brothers, finalists Hussy Hicks, double finalist Amy Shark and this year’s star finalist, Ella Fence are all doing great things overseas.

“I was buoyed to see the finalists were from such diverse musical genres and was interested to see the hotly contested Song Of The Year category this year is an all-female race.

“There is a hive of activity on the Gold Coast music scene and we want to shine a spotlight on the people and places that make this incredible city’s music,” she said.

Staking the claim for the best music venue the Gold Coast has to offer are finalists Currumbin Creek Tavern, elsewhere, Miami Marketta, Nightquarter, Soundlounge and The Avenue.

Gold Coast Tourism Director, Communications and Marketing Services, Michelle Stone said music was an integral part of the Gold Coast’s emerging arts and culture scene.

“Live music, the city’s live music venues and events are part of the city’s diverse and growing tourism offering and this is recognised when we are actively challenging the perceptions visitors have of the Gold Coast as a holiday and business events destination.

“As we approach the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the world’s attention will turn to us and music events like Blues on Broadbeach add real value to our appeal for both domestic and international visitors.”

Mayor Tom Tate congratulated the finalists and highlighted his support of the Gold Coast’s music industry.

“Our city is blessed with rich talent in so many facets of arts and culture. Music, as a form of expression and enjoyment, is one area where we have some incredible artists,” Cr Tate said.

“These awards pay recognition to those who have excelled in their chosen fields but I know the awards are a broader celebration of everything we have to offer right here on the Gold Coast. Our Culture Strategy 2023 supports all forms of the arts including music and I look forward to the growth of this industry.,” he said.

Music fans will have a chance to vote for their favourite Gold Coast artists in the Burleigh Brewing Co. People’s Choice Award. Voting opens 27 May via

The winners will be announced at a #verygc awards presentation on Thursday 16 June at Burleigh Brewing Co. Tickets are on sale now and include a free beer, dinner, entertainment by headline act Hanlon Brothers, surprise performances, free transport and entry to the after party at Hard Rock Café plus and a free cocktail on arrival.

First held in 2015, with sell-out attendance and more than 30,000 popular votes for the People’s Choice Awards, 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.

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 Finalists

ARTIST OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Southport Sharks, Cabana Bar + Lounge
Amy Shark
Ella Fence
Evol Walks
Hanlon Brothers
Hussy Hicks

EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Aquila Young
Benny D Williams
Electrik Lemonade
Ella Fence
Jenna Dearness Dark
Leopold’s Treat

SONG OF THE YEAR, sponsored by NightQuarter
Golden Fleece by Amy Shark
Unknown Water by Ella Fence
Jelly by Jesswar
Houndogs & Bullfrogs by Leopold’s Treat
That Old Heartache by Hussy Hicks

MUSIC CHAMPION OF THE YEAR, sponsored by TAFE Gold Coast
Cindy Jensen
Emily Holler
Glenn Tozer
Guy Cooper
Matt Webber

EVENT OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Hard Rock Café
Blues on Broadbeach
Buskers by the Creek
La Traviata at Spotlight Theatre
Summertime Sessions in the Village

VIDEO OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Gold Coast Film Festival
Apollo by Baltimore Gun Club (nominee Anthony Hrymakowski)
Baby It’s A Good Song by The Cheap Fakes (nominee Smokehouse)
Golden Fleece by Amy Shark (nominee Amy Shark)
Wild Heart by ROMY (nominee ROMY)
Unknown Water by Ella Fence (nominee Double Deuce)
The One You Love by Casey Barnes (nominees Casey Barnes/Michelle Barnes/Wazza Bray/LMG Digital Media)
That Old Heartache by Hussy Hicks (nominee Hazel Schravemade)

VENUE OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Blank GC
Miami Marketta
Currumbin Creek Tavern
The Avenue