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Last night, the 16th edition of the annual Music Victoria Awards honoured Victoria’s best acts, albums, songs and musicians of the year in another exceptional awards night. Taking place as part of the Melbourne Music Week Extended program at the Melbourne Recital Centre, the live-streamed event and Channel 31 TV special revealed the seven public-voted winners and 14 industry-voted winners following a handful of previously announced 2020 awards and accolades handed out at last month’s Industry Awards event.

Co-presented by RRR 102.7FM and PBS 106.7FM, and MC’d by beloved community radio presenters and stalwarts of the Victorian music scene, Lyndelle Wilkinson and Chris Gill, the evening also featured exciting live performances on the Recital Centre stage from Alice Skye, Elizabeth, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Simona Castricum.

This year’s Awards queen is the ineffable Sampa The Great who took home a massive four awards including Best Album, Best Solo Artist, Best Soul, Funk, Gospel or RnB Album and Best Song for her hit single ‘OMG’, and winning a $3000 in cash from APRA AMCOS. Beloved pub rock trio Amyl and The Sniffers took home three awards for Best Band, plus Best Live Act with frontwoman Amy Taylor being crowned Best Musician. Yamaha Music sponsored four Awards categories this year, providing $5000 in vouchers for Yamaha gear for the lucky winners.

Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Badu Island singer songwriter Kee’ahn took home the coveted Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent as well as a $2000 cash prize from the Foundation, and post-punk outfit Pinch Points were awarded Best Breakthrough Act, along with a $1000 credit for custom made merch from Australia’s leading merch company Sound Merch. Three-time previous Awards nominee Lloyd Spiegel took home Best Blues Album for his album Cut and Run, and previous two-time Award nominees Robin Fox and Birdz were named this year’s Best Experimental or Avant-garde Act and Best Hip Hop Act respectively.

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife won Best Country Album for their album You Be The Lightning, four years on from taking out the same title for their previous LP Thieves, and previous Best Global or Reggae Album winners Black Jesus Experience were announced as this year’s Best Intercultural Act. The Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act with a cash prize of $3000 from Bendigo Bank, this year went to everyone's favourite siblings The Teskey Brothers, who are still based in Warrandyte.

Inaugural Awards entrants, Fiona Ross & Shane O'Mara, Sleep D, Diploid, Vanessa Perica Orchestra and Dub FX were each crowned first-time winners of their respective categories, with cathartic punk trio Cable Ties claiming their debut Music Victoria Award win for Best Rock/Punk Album for their 2020 record Far Enough after four years and eight nominations across almost every eligible category including Best Album, Best Live Act, Best Band, Best Song, and Best Emerging Act.

Music Victoria would also like to thank all their very generous partners for all of their contributions this year, plus each of the nominees of Best Song and Best Album were also awarded the opportunity for a paid and professionally filmed livestream event, thanks to funding from the Victorian Government’s Victoria Together Program.

The evening also saw Australian music icon Paul Kelly induct the late, great Chris Wilson into the Music Victoria Hall Of Fame, presenting a touching speech and inviting Chris’ wife Sarah Carroll and sons Fenn Wilson and George Carroll Wilson to the stage to accept the induction. Kim Salmon and Jo Roberts presented fellow Hall of Fame Inductee Mary Mihelakos with her official induction to celebrate her extensive and prolific industry career. Music Victoria’s outgoing CEO Patrick Donovan was also acknowledged for his work growing the Awards over 16 years and for his achievements at the helm of the organisation.

A testament to the strength of the Victorian music community, Music Victoria would like to thank Major Partners Bendigo Bank, City of Melbourne, Creative Victoria and Melbourne Recital Centre in their ongoing support of the Music Victoria Awards and send a big thank you to everyone who voted or tuned in to the 2020 Awards and to all those who continue to support and champion local musicians, venues festivals and industry. Here’s to the next 12 months of world class Victorian music!

Watch back the awards:



Best Album
Sampa The Great – The Return

Best Band (Prize $2000 voucher from Yamaha)
Amyl and The Sniffers

Best Song (Prize $3000 cash from APRA AMCOS)
Sampa The Great – OMG

Best Solo Artist (Prize $1000 voucher from Yamaha)
Sampa The Great

Best Musician (Prize $1000 voucher from Yamaha)
Amy Taylor (Amyl and The Sniffers)

Best Breakthrough Act (Prize $1000 in merch from Sound Merch + Bakehouse Rehearsal Package)
Pinch Points

Best Live Act
Amyl and The Sniffers


Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act (Prize $3000 cash from Bendigo Bank)
The Teskey Brothers (Warrandyte)

Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent (Prize $2000 cash from Archie Roach Foundation + Bakehouse Rehearsal Package)

Best Blues Album
*Lloyd Spiegel – Cut and Run

Best Country Album
Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife – You Be The Lightning

Best Electronic Act
Sleep D

Best Experimental or Avant-garde Act
Robin Fox

Best Folk Album
Fiona Ross & Shane O'Mara – Sunwise Turn

Best Heavy Album
Diploid – Glorify

Best Hip Hop Act

Best Intercultural Act
Black Jesus Experience

Best Jazz Album
Vanessa Perica Orchestra – Love is a Temporary Madness

Best Reggae and Dancehall Act
Dub FX

Best Rock/Punk Album
Cable Ties – Far Enough

Best Soul, Funk, Gospel or RnB Album
Sampa The Great – The Return


Best Small Venue (under 500 capacity) (Prize: Branded tinnies from Brick Lane Brewing Co.)
The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood

Best Large Venue (over 500 capacity) (Prize: Branded tinnies from Brick Lane Brewing Co.)
Forum Melbourne

Best Festival (Prize: 3 year subscription to
Golden Plains

Best Regional/Outer Suburban Venue (Over 50 gigs per year) (Prize $3000 cash from Bendigo Bank)
Barwon Club Hotel – Geelong

Best Regional/Outer Suburban Venue (Under 50 gigs per year) (Prize $3000 cash from Bendigo Bank)
*Theatre Royal – Castlemaine

Outstanding Woman In Music
Sarah Hamilton (One Of One)

Best Producer
Joelistics: Mo’Ju & Joelistics Ghost Town EP

Mary Mihelakos (industry)
Chris Wilson (musician)

*Music Victoria ex-Board Member Tim Heath is a co-owner of Regional Venue winner Theatre Royal.
* Best Blues Album winner Lloyd Spiegel is a member of the Music Victoria Artist Advisory Panel. These Awards are industry-voted by independent panels, and nominees and winners are not involved in the voting process


Photography by Martin Philbey