These kinds of projects are really important for a city.
No less Newcastle, as our city transitions from Steel City to smart City, these grassroots lead movements are what shape the community and inspire generations of people to expand their horizons. I was recently involved with Mark Kentwell of PRD Nationwide (inspiring guy and you should watch his Alumni In Focus Videos on Hunter Young Professionals) who said something like "Newcastle is about 2 1/2 years into the best 10 years ever!" the best part about a statement like this is the idea, the sentiment, that we don't even quite realise just how much our city is transforming right now and we might not until we are another 2-4 years into the movement. 

So I'm really proud to be a part of TIP JAR. Along with Dan Beazley and Steven Pickett, we have invested countless hours in creating TIP JAR and begged more people than I would like to admit for help. But I would really like to acknowledge those that came to the table: Greg Matthews and Dru Russell from The Cambridge Hotel who pledged a commitment almost instantly and will host the awards event! To Jae Nelson from Little Ruby who agreed to shoot my hairbrained scheme for Ambassador videos and turn them into something magical (watch the first one at the bottom). To Shane Cleary at Murray's Craft Brewery that told me "whatever you need mate, we are in!" throwing a heap of cold ones at the cause. All of our Ambassadors: Amy Vee, Jaytee Hazard (Jacob Turier to his mum), Grant Walmsley and Chris Joannou who have all donated time and helped promote this idea. 
Newcastle NOW, Newcastle City Council and TAFE NSW for their contribution. 

You can read the full press-release below, but please do this for us...

1. Check out the website: www.tipjar.org.au and give it a share to interested friends
2. Click LIKE on the Facebook Page: TIP JAR


Silverchair’s Chris Joannou and Grant Walmsley of the Screaming Jets join group of local artists supporting initiative to drive Newcastle’s music industry.

Leading Newcastle organisations back project, including EAO, Mirage, Newcastle Live, Oasis Social Media, the Cambridge Hotel, Murrays Craft Brewery, Little Ruby Visuals, NSW TAFE, Newcastle Now and the Newcastle City Council.

Newcastle, NSW: Newcastle’s music scene is set to benefit from the launch of a new song writing competition, backed by a group of well-known Newcastle musicians, as well as the local business community.

The Tip Jar competition will promote the city’s community of musicians, and provide new opportunities for talented performers to export their music nationally. The competition builds on the city’s long history of creating world class musicians, and will help to build Newcastle’s reputation as a rich breeding ground for musical talent.

Silverchair’s Chris Joannou is a Tip Jar Ambassador, joining a number of other well-known Newcastle music identities including Grant Walmsley of the Screaming Jets, popular DJ, Jayteehazard, and indie-folk artist, Amy Vee. Chris is a passionate spokesperson for the competition, as it was competitions similar to Tip Jar that gave Silverchair its first big break. Chris says:

“There is so much untapped talent in Newcastle – the city has more working musicians per capita than anywhere else in the country. Tip Jar will give a voice to the unsigned singer-song writers in the region who deserve to be heard on the Australian and international circuit.

“Silverchair first started to get noticed through competitions such as Triple J’s Unearthed and the National Demo Comp on SBS’s Nomad program. Competitions that uncover new players on the scene are therefore close to my heart, and that is why I am getting behind the Tip Jar initiative”.

Tip Jar invites unsigned musicians from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie to enter unreleased songs, written over the past 12 months, either individually or as part of a collaboration. Entrants will be judged on the strength of their song writing and composition skills, not on the instrumentation or production of the recording. A public and industry vote will select two winners, announced at an awards ceremony at the Cambridge Hotel, with the winner of each category receiving a prize package valued at over $10,000, including:

  • 10 hours recording time, working with award winning engineers and producers;

  • Media appearances and advertising;

  • Marketing collateral and a press pack including photography, video and design, and;

  • A masterclass on getting in front of the right people in the industry and securing
  • publishing deals.

The launch of Tip Jar comes at an optimal time, as Newcastle continues its re-invention as a leading creative and cultural hub. The Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Now are both sponsors of the competition, with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes throwing her support behind Tip Jar. She says:

“"The Tip Jar project is a fine example of our economic development sponsorships as we take strides toward becoming a smart city. It matches the city's fine musical heritage with Newcastle's re-invention as an innovation centre and shows how Council rolls out support each year through economic development sponsorships”.

Steven Pickett, Managing Director of entertainment agency, EAO, another Tip Jar sponsor, believes the initiative will benefit the city’s cultural life, as well as its economic development, saying:

“Newcastle is proudly positioning itself as having one of the best creative industries in the country. This competition will continue to drive this development, engaging the community and business in the city’s renewal. Tip Jar has been launched to highlight the vibrancy of our local music scene, giving new energy to our live venues and ensuring these venues have the ongoing patronage to keep them going for many years to come”.

Newcastle businesses are lending their support to the project, recognising the links between a strong creative community, and a burgeoning inner-city precinct. The Cambridge Hotel, EAO, Mirage, Newcastle Live, Oasis Social Media, Little Ruby Visuals, Murrays Craft Brewery and TAFE NSW are all major sponsors of Tip Jar.


Kian (pictured)

Kian (pictured)

Kian West, owner of Oasis Social Media believes developing a strong relationship between artists and the inner-city district is an important factor in Newcastle’s emergence as a cultural destination. He says:

“Newcastle is leading the way when it comes to creating a burgeoning arts scene. Promoting our dynamic music community and putting our artists on the map is good for the city. It will not only help our venues and artists grow patron numbers, it will also have a positive flow on effect for businesses, generating income from both locals and tourists. I think this is why we have seen such strong support from local organisations wanting to get involved, lending their time and expertise to help unsigned musicians make their way in the industry”.