Sport’s soundtrack brought to you by Great Big Events

Monday, 16 Mar 2015

“Howzat!” — why are we still hearing Sherbet’s 70’s pop classic during today’s major sporting events? Well, Howzat! is nothing less than a cricket anthem and cranking it loud across a stand full of cricket fans, sets just the right tone for everyone there. Event production company and APRA AMCOS licensee, Great Big Events, were the brains behind the feel-good, high-energy music at the recent ICC Cricket World Cup. In fact, you’ve probably got them to thank for a lot of your soccer sing-a-longs and even an Olympic soundtrack or two.

Over the last 15 years, Great Big Events has produced hundreds of sporting events, both here in Australia, and internationally. Creative Director Greg Bowman, spoke with us recently about the company’s success and how crucial music is to their business.

“We started producing events in 1995 but we found our niche in producing large-scale sporting events. By the time we got to the 2000 Olympics, we had developed the concept of ‘the theatre of sport,”

Since 2000, Great Big Events has been involved in the production of every Olympic and Commonwealth Games. They’ve also travelled across the globe to work on sporting events and world championships like the Rugby World Cup.

Music plays a key part in these events, from the subtle introductions to crowd participation. Greg explains that musical segment within the stadium or arena is a carefully choreographed production.

“Music to us is critical. It sets the tone for an event. It’s what people remember and what makes the event unique. You want it to make a statement and appeal to the broad market. Like a dance party, you need to rev it up at the right moments so people go home happy.”

Getting the playlist right

We all know there’s real science behind the perfect playlist and all the work that goes into creating the right soundtrack for the right event.  You need to think of your audience and the mood you want to create. It’s like that for Greg and his team, but on a much larger, stadium sized world stage. 

“When we’re selecting the music to support these events, we start with research. We need to understand the culture of the host country — what plays well in France might not translate well in Azerbaijan – the audience demographic and the culture of the sport itself, does it requires silence for concentration like golf or a loud supporter base like football.”

Great Big Events and APRA AMCOS

Greg is also a composer, responsible for a lot of the music used in their events. He composes music for ceremonies within larger games — the athletes entering the stadium, medal and trophy presentations, opening and closing ceremonies.

“It’s about creating a soundtrack to a very specific moment, and telling the unique story of these sportspeople and their games. It’s also about building on the emotion that these moments generate naturally.”

As both a producer and composer, Greg knows that the 20 year partnership between GBE and APRA AMCOS pays off across both sides of his work.

“Our relationship with APRA AMCOS is very important. It’s essential we credit all the music we use so that the right people get paid. APRA AMCOS has always been helpful with advice, especially internationally. Their relationships with similar bodies mean we can go to them for guidance [on music licensing] when we’re operating in new territories.”

Greg’s number one

We asked Greg for his number one moment amongst the many world-class events he’s been involved in.

“The Sydney Olympics was a major professional highlight for our company. One memorable moment was during the Men’s 50 km walk. Chris Maddocks from the U.K was injured and an hour behind the leaders, but he kept on going. We continued to cross to his progress via the big-screens in the stadium. When he entered the stadium, everyone was on his or her feet for this guy, when he was expecting no-one to be left. We blasted out the Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’ and he finished the race with his arms in the air like he’d won. He later contacted us and said it was the highlight of his career coming last, and coincidentally, his favourite song!”

You can find out more about Great Big Events at their website. Next time you’re at a sporting event and enjoying the music, remember — it could be all due to Greg and his team.

Editor Note:
We tracked down a video of the 2000 Olympics. Watch from 2:44 minutes and you'll see what Greg means by an uplifting stadium experience!

 


Tags: upbeat
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