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

This year’s panel consists of:

ADALITA SRSEN – Legendary Victorian born performer who’s band “Magic Dirt” was nominated for 9 ARIA awards during the 1990s and 2000s. Adalita released two highly acclaimed solo albums in 2011 and 2013, with another one slated for release in 2018.

BROOKE RUSSELL – Brooke started performing as a vocalist and writing her own songs in 2005, moving to Melbourne from WA in 2012. Brooke has been writing songs that meld her love of country, swing and blues and formed one of Melbourne’s finest alt country bands, Brooke Russell and The Mean Reds. Their latest album, ‘The Way You Leave’ was feature album on PBSFM, listed on Basement Discs Top 10 Australian Albums of The Year and Post To Wire’s 40 Best Albums of 2017 as well as receiving a four star review in The Music.

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 platfforms 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.