Item Details

The making of identity and its relation to place and success: The case of ‘mainstream’ popular music in Newcastle NSW, 1973–1988

Issue: Vol 8 No. 3 (2013)

Journal: Popular Music History

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v8i3.20270


This article reports on findings from research into the development of ‘mainstream’ popular music in one Australian city, that of Newcastle, NSW, in the period 1973–88. This period became known more generally as the Oz/pub rock era and coincides approximately with the period during which the national music programme Countdown was televised (1974–87). It is argued here that the formation of a musical identity is strongly connected to a local habitus, which includes the cultivation of social, symbolic, economic and cultural capital that are built up over time, such as connecting musicians with audiences and venues in Newcastle. Given Newcastle’s proximity to Sydney and the attempt by local bands to achieve success there, it was found that these accumulated capitals were not easily transferrable to other areas. What Newcastle came to offer local musicians, as a result, was the ability to recognize and use to its full extent the social, symbolic and cultural capital available to them in their home town.

Author: Gaye Sheather, Phillip McIntyre

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