Brisbane is finally getting a look in at this year’s APRA Music Awards.

The awards were established by APRA (the Australasian Performing Rights Association) in 1982 to honour Australia’s best and most successful songwriters. The first event literally took place in a bar in Sydney, and while the ceremony has sometimes ventured down to Melbourne, it’s never come up north – until now.

So why Brisbane, and why now? “That’s a very good question,” laughs Milly Petriella, the executive producer of the event, “which leads to another question — why haven’t we come to Brisbane before? I really don’t know why we haven’t, but when we took the APRA Roadshow around the country last October, a lot of our members suggested that we hold the APRA Awards in Brisbane this year.

“It was also brought to our attention that the Q Music Awards aren’t being held this year, so we thought we could really fill that gap. Since the announcement, the excitement and the anticipation we’ve seen from our members has shown us we were right to come to Brisbane.”

Petriella says the APRA Awards continue to be important because they serve as “a way to recognise songwriters, which other awards don’t. A lot of them receive recognition as performers, of course, but there are songwriters who aren’t also performers, and they receive no recognition elsewhere.”

While this year’s event — to be held next Monday 23 June at Brisbane City Hall — marks the APRA Awards’ official debut in Brisbane, Queenslanders have taken out APRA honours in previous years. The members of Savage Garden (Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones) took home an incredible 10 APRA Awards between 1998 and 2003, including multiple Songwriter of the Year honours, while Bernard Fanning has been honoured five times, both as a solo artist and as a member of Powderfinger.

The members of Powderfinger won the most prestigious APRA Award, the peer-voted Song of the Year, twice. The award is voted on by the 87,000+ eligible APRA members.

At this year’s ceremony, Queenslander Lindy Morrison — welfare advocate, former drummer for The Go-Betweens and an influential voice in the music industry — will receive the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. Morrison will also perform on the night with Big Scary, Amanda Brown and Robert Vickers.

Brisbane band Sheppard, who topped the charts with their ‘Geronimo’ single this year, headline the list of performers, with solo Queensland artist Megan Washington also set to take to the stage.

Legendary songwriter Colin Hay, Brisbane rock royalty Carol Lloyd, folk pop singer-songwriter Gossling, provocateur Kirin J Callinan, young talent Jarryd Klapper (Holland), hip hop favourite 5ths (TZU), up-and-comer Melody Pool and local legend Ben Salter (Gin Club, Giants of Science) will also perform on the night.

Brian Nankervis (RockWiz) will host; presenters will include Robert Forster and Amanda Brown (The Go-Betweens), and beloved songwriter and performer Kate Miller-Heidke.

The event is invitation-only, but television partner MAX will film the ceremony and broadcast it on Wednesday 9 July at 8pm, with an encore presentation at 10pm on Sunday 13 July. The broadcast will feature the night’s performances and interviews from the red carpet and backstage.

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