By Rida Babar
With COVID-19 restrictions causing large events, including concerts to be on an uncertain standstill, major event planning company October Sun has come to a halt. The company’s Director, Ben Eadie, has started up a COVID-friendly project called Sydney Underground Streaming Sessions (SUSS) to keep the magic of concerts alive in an innovative and refreshing way.
SUSS started as a project to keep musicians and event organisers alike working during the pandemic and turned into a major success project that will continue to grow long after COVID-19 is gone. In an interview with City Hub, Eadie revealed; “It’s so uncertain.
“The gig economy right now has collapsed, including everyone from graphic designers to the artists themselves. It’s a massive economy and it won’t recover anytime soon.
“Even if tomorrow we’re allowed to go back to normal, it will take a number of years for events such as festivals to get back on track because of all the planning that’s involved.”
Eadie is endeavouring to make live streaming music a new normal in the entertainment industry, boasting the advantages of it.
“There’s always positives to come out of any negative. At the moment, we are navigating COVID and live streaming is part of that.
“I think people are getting very savvy with transferring what they do to the online platform, so when things recover, I believe we’ve been given an additional tool and we’re now becoming very knowledgeable to promote our craft using this tool. In the long term I think its advantageous but in the short term it’s very difficult.
“The really beautiful thing with the live streams is that artists are realising they can do it themselves, they can get out and get their craft out to an audience without having to go through the middleman.
“It’s a very honest form of communication, whatever happens, happens, whether it’s chaotic or offensive.
“We turn on the cameras and the artists have a direct line of communication with the audience. We have the chat feature on during the stream so the bands can see it and talk to the audience while the show is on.”
SUSS hosts fortnightly gigs, with Eadie revealing that the company will expand the types of shows they host in 2021.
“This weekend we have On The Stoop, next month we’re getting into theatre cabaret with the Six Quick Chicks. The really important thing is that even though we’re running fortnightly now, next year we will be increasing all forms of entertainment including workshops and talks.
“We’ve got a thing called Ex-Periment coming up with some really amazing musicians.”
Ex-Periment, a festival of sound presented by SUSS is an upcoming festival featuring local Australian legends along the likes of Elsen Price, Kenya Wilkins, Louis Burdett, Trevor Brown, Matthew Syres, Ben Fink, Danny Heifetz and Tom Schutzinger.
When asked about the future of SUSS, Eadie said, “We’re definitely going to keep it going post-COVID. A lot more people can enjoy gigs now, someone who is disabled was saying that the live streaming has been fantastic because she can now get to see gigs, when before she felt left out. This is a good opportunity for us to cater to these people as well.
“We’ve had very solid numbers tune in to watch and fantastic feedback from audiences in regard to the quality of visuals, sound, and the entertainment itself. One of the highlights was Dog Trumpet a few weeks ago.
“A lot of people say they’re dancing in their pyjamas with a glass of wine on a Saturday night.”
Despite the highs of starting up SUSS as a successful initiative during the pandemic, Eadie gave insight into the lows, and more difficult aspects of organising the whole thing.
“There are many moving parts to running a live stream with the quality that we’re doing. Managing all the moving parts such as; camera crew, making sure the internet doesn’t drop out, sound quality and everything else, as well as finding the right people to do it has been an interesting journey in making all the parts work together. We have an incredible group of people making this all happen.”
All gigs are streamed live on suss.net.au were info around bookings and information on upcoming events can also be found.