This week music researchers are heading to my hometown of Hamilton for an international popular music conference.

IASPM-ANZ 2018 is hosted by Wintec‘s School of Media Arts, which has a large and lively popular music department.

(The full name of the organisation is “International Association for the Study of Popular Music Australia and New Zealand”.)

The conference theme is “Playing Along: Music, participation, and everyday life”. There are presentations on heavy metal, electronic music, Bollywood, the Beatles, Chinese reggae, jazz, Pasifika music, and much more.

There’s even a paper about ukuleles – a subject close to my heart!

The Beatles Penny Lane

There’s usually at least one conference paper about The Beatles. Fair enough!

I’ve been to a couple of IASPM conferences and they’re always full of lively presentations, for anyone who’s interested in music.

The Hamilton music scene is well represented, with papers by Wintec staffers (and local musicians) Megan Rogerson-Berry, Matthew Bannister, Nick Braae and Jeremy Mayall, and also Dean Ballinger and Gareth Schott of Waikato University.

The conference is finishing off with a DJ night at a local bar.

Rocky Horror connection

Riff Raff statue

The Riff Raff statue in central Hamilton

The keynote speaker for the conference is Richard O’Brien, composer and writer of the iconic movie/ stage musical Rocky Horror Picture Show. Many locals will be well aware of Richard O’Brien’s Hamilton connection. He has his roots in the Waikato and is actively involved in the local music theatre community – he’s a patron of the Hamilton Operatic Society.

There’s also a statue of O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Picture Show character, Riff Raff, on Victoria St in central Hamilton.

The conference programme includes a special screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie.

Ukuleles up front

One of the presentations is about a ukulele research project that I was involved in, as an interviewer. Wintec teacher and musician Matthew Bannister (full disclosure: he’s also my husband) interviewed members of local ukulele groups about their playing and their musical activities.

His conference paper is titled “Taken by strum: ukulele jamming as musical experience.” It’s a fascinating (okay, I’m biased!) investigation into where ukulele groups fit in the spectrum of popular music performance and participation.

The Strumbles at Waldorf School

The conference includes a research paper about ukulele groups. Here’s a photo of my favourite ukulele band, The Strumbles, playing at a local Waldorf School Carnival.

How to find it

Members of the public are welcome to attend the presentations. There’s a daily attendance fee if you don’t want to sign up for the whole three days.

IASPM-ANZ 2018 Dec 3-5, Gallagher Hub Events Room 1, Wintec City Campus, Tristram St, Hamilton CBD.

Registration is at 10am Monday, and the first papers are at 11.30.

Here’s the conference website:


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