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Joel Edmondson

“We’re not just competing with other live experiences, we’re competing with screens, we’re competing with the amount of hours people have to work, distractions on emails, social media time with family…”

Joel Edmondson’s answer to how he found his calling as an expert in change management, flipping arts organisations and the music industry as a whole, is refreshingly honest.

“Accidentally,” he laughs.

Coming from a background in film and moving from education and research management projects to running gigs in a DIY venue under a sex shop, Edmondson has melded these experiences to “luck” his way into a successful arts career.

The driving force behind QMusic and BIGSOUND, Edmondson was appointed Queensland Music Festival’s (QMF) Executive Director in November 2018.

If you had the power to ban one production or performer, who or what would it be?

Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing, shock-jock commentator. That, to me, is theatre, it’s a theatrical performance and it’s the worst kind.

What’s the strangest fan or audience behaviour you’ve observed?

Singing out loud in a concert where none of the rest of the audience is singing.

Do you smuggle food into theatres?

Sometimes, but that’s mainly so my daughter doesn’t have a meltdown when I’ve got her in there with me.

Is it more important for cultural experiences to be entertaining or important?

Entertaining. If I’m watching something that doesn’t make me feel something – and I’m more likely to feel something when it’s entertaining rather than completely cerebral – I can’t stay with a piece that’s got no emotion. I want to leave feeling something and entertaining works are probably a little more likely to do that.

What’s your favourite Queensland event?

It would be dishonest of me not to say BIGSOUND because that was four years of my life but I’m sure QMF will completely win my heart by the time another four years have passed.


For more of Joel Edmondson’s’s honest answers, listen to IMHO’s full podcast: My Honest Opinion About… whether creative or commercial success is more important in the arts industry.

Listen to the IMHO Podcast