Auckland’s alt-folk and Americana-focused venue The Tuning Fork hosted music managers, artists, industry professionals and a smattering of media celebs to celebrate the 2016 Music Managers Awards on May 11. Actor Oliver Driver proved an entertaining and adept host, delivering on his promise that these would be the most time-efficient local music awards yet. Less than three-quarters of an hour seemed just right.
Ashley Page (manager of Broods and Joel Little as well as Aussie artists Jarryd James and Alex Hope) was named as the NZ Manager of the Year for a second year in a row. Although away in the States with Broods at the time, Page provided a video thank you in which he graciously recognised the importance of the award.
Melbourne-based Alastair Burns, who has Marlon Williams and Sydney songstress Julia Jacklin in his roster, was twice on the podium, picking up trophies for being the Breakthrough Manager of the Year and for International Achievement.
Folk artist Mel Parsons won recognition for staging the Best Independent Tour for her 23-date ‘Drylands’ album release tour, and seemed likely to also snare the Self-Managed Artist trophy, but that one instead went to country/soulster Tami Neilson, whose album ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ album topped the NZ album charts.
The MMF actively promotes a mentoring scheme within its growing manager membership, and the Mentoring Program Achievement award recognises a member who utilises the resources provided by the program and shows great initiative. This year’s winners of were Avina Kelekolio and Tana Tupai , self-managing musicians from Wellington’s ‘sunshine reggae’ outfit Tomorrow People whose debut album ‘ONE’ entered the NZ album charts at #1. Not only do they manage the band but the pair also write, produce, arrange, mix and master most of the band’s material.
The Industry Champion award this year went to the organisation’s own long-time chairperson Teresa Patterson. At the head of MMF since 2007, Patterson has a strong management history with a diversity of local and internationally successful acts that include Scribe, Six60 and I Am Giant, and has herself previously won seven MMF Music Manager awards.
Keeping things similarly close to home, The Tuning Fork was named as winner of the Best Small Venue trophy, while another Auckland venue, The Studio, claimed the Large Venue award.