Sampa The Great, Warren Ellis, G Flip, and more recognised at the 2020 NLMAs

The fifth annual National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) took place last night, via a livestream that was accompanied by a gala event at Brisbane’s The Triffid. The event recognises the achievements of the Australian music industry, with awards handed out across twenty categories.

Sampa The Great, won the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Live Act, making her the first solo artist and female musician to do so. Sampa thanked her band, sound engineers and festival organisers for the award. “You are valued and we appreciate you for making our live shows amazing.”

Other award recipients include Electric Fields’ singer Zaachariaha Fielding (Live Voice of the Year), King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard guitarist Stu Mackenzie (Live Guitarist of the Year), and Stella Donnelly’s bassist Jennifer Aslett (Live Bassist of the Year).  Melbourne based multi-instrumentalist G Flip won Live Drummer of the Year, while Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dirty Three) was awarded Live Instrumentalist of the Year.

International Tour of the Year was given to Frontier Touring for the work they put into TOOL’s stunning Australian tour in February.

Guy Sebastian, was presented with the inaugural Musicians Making a Difference (MMAD) Live Award. This was awarded in recognition of his work with The Sebastian Foundation, his contributions to Firefight Australia, and helping raise $200,000 with The Sony Foundation.

The awards for the best live act of each State and Territory were voted for by the public. The recipients were Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys (NSW), Witchskull (ACT), Ceres (VIC) Jaguar Jonze (QLD), Sly Withers (WA), Mambali (NT), Slag Queens (TAS), and My Chérie (SA).

With this year being one of the toughest in the history of the industry, this year’s NLMAs theme was “Saying Thanks”. Five special achievement awards were given to individuals or organisations that have made outstanding contributions amidst the pandemic. Triple J’s Isol-Aid virtual music festival, charity group Support Act and Stephen Wade (Australian Live Music Business Council) were awarded the prize in advance of the ceremony. Mental health charity Listen Up Music and Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, were recognised on the night.

NLMAs director Larry Heath said he was delighted that this year’s awards night was able to go ahead and give thanks to “those in the industry who have been helping keep the lights on” in a tremendously challenging year. “It’s often a thankless task and we were honoured to provide them with some much overdue praise.”

Additionally, Heath hopes that last night’s event will restore a sense of hope looking forward. “We have one of the finest live scenes in the world – if not the finest – and while we’re facing our darkest days, a bright return is just around the corner. And that’s all thanks to the talent awarded tonight, and the people behind the scenes who keep those engines running.”

See the full list of the 2020 NLMAs Winners below.

Special Achievement Award Winners

Support Act
Stephen Wade (ALMBC)
Listen Up Music
Melbourne Digital Concert Hall (MDCH)

Musicians Making A Difference Live Award
Guy Sebastian

Live Act of the Year
Sampa The Great

Live Voice of the Year
Zaachariaha Fielding (Electric Fields)

Live Guitarist of the Year – Presented by Jameson
Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard)

Live Bassist of the Year
Jennifer Aslett (Stella Donnelly)

The Sheddy: Live Drummer of the Year
G Flip

Live Instrumentalist of the Year
Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dirty Three)

Live Event of the Year – Presented by Panhead Custom Ales
Woodford Folk Festival

Photographer of the Year – presented by Red Octopus Custom Print
Jess Gleeson

Live Music Journalist of the Year – presented by The Music Network
Sosefina Fuamoli

International Tour of the Year – presented by Oztix
TOOL (Frontier Touring)


Best Live Act in NSW – Presented by 2SER
Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys

Best Live Act in ACT – Presented by BMA

Best Live Act in VIC – Presented by SYN

Best Live Act in QLD – Presented by Brisbane City Council
Jaguar Jonze

Best Live Act in WA – Presented by Dailymotion
Sly Withers

Best Live Act in NT – Presented by Foldback Media NT

Best Live Act in TAS – Presented by Edge Radio
Slag Queens

Best Live Act in SA – Presented by Three D Radio
My Chérie

Ed Hirst

I'm either listening to music, writing about music, or writing my own music! Keep up to date with my latest projects @edhirsty