With some parts of Australia still working through lockdowns, Western Australia’s return to live music earlier this month was a huge success.

WA Unlocked was the state’s first major show back, and to celebrate the occasion, organisers pulled together a selection of the state’s electronic heavyweights for a sellout weekend of live music.

All photos by @Brendancphoto

Organisers pulled the lineup together in a matter of days, with the excitement for live music ensuring tickets were quickly swept up. A lot goes into putting an event together, and we sat down with the team behind WA Unlocked – from organisers to artists – to get an inside look at how it all went down.

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Zaccaria Concerts and Touring and VenuesWest teamed up to bring the first “post-restrictions” event to Perth’s HBF Stadium.

John Zaccaria, co-promoter of WA Unlocked, led the charge to ensure the event could go ahead. “We had to work closely with the various government authorities and stakeholders to navigate our way through the phase 4 restrictions in WA, everyone has been very supportive through this process,” he says.

Following the success of WA Unlocked, he is now keeping a close eye on how things evolve around the rest of Australia. “[Returning to live music] is bittersweet. It’s fantastic to be back in our happy place, but at the same time, we’re watching closely to what’s happening in Victoria and NSW. Hopefully, we are all back sooner than later.”

Peter Bauchop, Chief Operating Officer of VenuesWest, was thrilled with the response from fans. “The response to this event has been overwhelming with strong ticket sales from the very start, showing how keen WA music fans are to once again experience the thrill of live music,” he says.

Our Events team thrive on the excitement of live music events and tight deadlines. The extra considerations surrounding this event made it challenging – but very rewarding. We know WA music fans have been waiting for this moment for several months and we’re proud that we were the ones to deliver WA’s first major live music event. The team has worked hard to ensure a great experience while implementing all the necessary precautions and safety measures to keep fans, artists and staff safe.”

The sentiment was shared by WA Unlocked’s lineup.

Despite the quick turnaround, Tina Says didn’t have any trouble getting everything together. “It was super easy preparing for the gig even though it was in a short time. I’ve had five months off, the excitement of playing was through the roof,” she says.

The pull of finally returning back to the live stage was more than enough for her. “[The show] was insane. Five months off being on stage is a huge break, I felt like I was able to reset my mind and come on with a fresh focus.

“I’ve put out a bunch of music and did some things in that time, so it was surreal to see how engaged the audience was with my music. They were singing to lyrics which almost made me cry. Such a high calibre and high energy event, definitely one for the memory bank,” she says.

Globetrotting hook masters Slumberjack were equally as stoked by the success of the event. “It was definitely a massive rush getting back on the stage after such a long break – we must have been channelling some crazy energy under pressure because we had our best run-through of the show to date,” they said.

“Being able to see the crowd reaction to the new music we’d worked on throughout isolation was a rare treat – very excited to release that work.”

Following WA Unlocked’s sellout weekend, Karl Thomas AKA drum and bass heavyweight ShockOne was full of praise for the team behind the event. “It was an incredibly well-run show. Shout out to John Zaccaria and Luke Whelan for pulling it all together.

“On a personal level, it was great to be back on stage and the energy in that stadium was electric,” he says.

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Pulling together an event so quickly, and selling it out, isn’t an easy feat. With Crooked Colours recently returning back home to WA after a stint in Melbourne, there was a lot of work behind the scenes to pull their set together.

“Logistically, we had to jump through a few hurdles for Crooked Colours,” Ben Robinson, the band’s manager says. “Liam [Merrett-Park] from the band had to fly in from Melbourne two weeks prior in order to quarantine. We also had to source a local crew as our usual team are in Brisbane and Melbourne.

“We’re working through restrictions day-by-day at the moment, but this event certainly proved that some markets are opening up.”

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We couldn’t be more excited to see live entertainment returning to stages, theatres, arenas, and stadiums around the country. And if the success of WA Unlocked is anything to go by, fans are just as excited as we are.