The UpStart Award will be adjudicated by an independent panel of artists and Victorian music industry experts.

This year’s panel consists of:

ANGIE MACMAHON – Melbourne based singer/songwriter Angie MacMahon has garnered a loyal following and a number of industry awards. Angie released her first award winning single “Slow Mover” in 2017 and her debut LP “Salt” in 2019. That year, Angie won the “Live indie/rock act of the year” award at the National Live Music Awards.

SHANE HOWARD – The driving force behind legendary Victorian band Goanna, which received critical acclaim in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Shane has released eleven solo studio albums and remained active in music and environmental and cultural issues ever since.

SUZANNE BENNETT – co-owner of THE BASEMENT DISCS in Melbourne for the past 25 years, Suzanne has been involved in independent music retail for almost 40 years.  She is passionate about promoting, nurturing & spreading the word re all good music that she comes across, but in particular is a massive supporter of independent artists, both through selling instore & online, and of course via Basement Disc’s famous & highly regarded in-store performances.

JASON MOORE – Whilst dabbling in karaoke, pool and beach cricket, Jas hosts the emerging Antipodean show “Local &/or General” on Triple R, books bands for the Northcote Social Club and Corner Hotel, and manages The Harpoons + Sui Zhen. Jas is a true champion of emerging artists having supported the likes D.D Dumbo, Methyl Ethel, Aldous Harding, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Sampa The Great and Grammy winning/nominated acts Lorde, Courtney Barnett, Hiatus Kaiyote along with many more.

DAVID HEARD – David has hosted “Acid Country” on PBS for 39 years, making him a true industry veteran. The show showcases progressive country, roots rock, singer/songwriters, Americana, bluegrass and more.

MYLES O’NEIL-SHAW – PBS announcer for over 15 years including host of “Five Feet High and Rising” since 2005. The show specialises in all things alt-country, Americana and singer-songwriter – both international and local.

SARAH HAMILTON – Sarah runs Ditto Music’s Australian office, and helps artists and labels distribute and market their music globally to platforms like I-Tunes, Spotify, Shazam and hundreds of others. Working with over 150,000 artists worldwide, and with office in the USA, UK, Australia, Africa, Brazil and Sweden, Ditto works with artists to get their music online, but also to maximise their reach globally via tools like Spotify playlists, PR, social media and online marketing.