View all news

Partnership opportunities take our student reporters from the studio to the streets


Media Office
4 February 2020

Engaging with our communities is at the heart of what we do at Southern Cross University. With the creative hub of the Northern Rivers on our campus doorsteps, our students have the opportunity to get involved with a variety of authentic learning experiences.

Stacey and Charly, Southern Cross digital media students and reporters for the day, took us to into the heart of the action at the Mullum Music Festival. They set out with the roving microphone to interview artists, festival attendees and workshop panellists to take you behind the scenes.

Mullum Music Festival attracts acts and visitors from around the globe for a weekend of eclectic live music.


“Musicians in the Shadows”

By Stacey Schwenk, Bachelor of Digital Media and Communications student

What does it mean to be a musician ‘in the shadows’? Dr Barry Hill, Southern Cross University Senior Lecturer unpacked this question in a panel discussion at Mullum Music festival with supporting musicians Freya Hooper, Matt Bone and Hamish Stuart.

Freyja Hooper captions herself using three strong labels; ‘musician… creator… thinker’.  Since 2010 Ms Hooper has been absolutely killing it with her drum performances. After enrolling in a music degree at Southern Cross University in 2012, she has been selected as one of the top female drummers in the world as well as worked alongside huge names at some mainstream festivals. After graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Contemporary Music, each year has pushed her to a higher level of success.

Ms Hooper has worked with acts such as Parcels and recorded Harry James Angus’ latest album alongside producer Seven Schram.  Despite this, she still faces challenges with financial stability through her music, maintaining a day job to support herself. Amongst the exterior pressures, Ms Hooper continues to feel all the great pleasures of playing with other artists.

“It makes you hungrier and super inspired, your own flavour still comes out in having a strong part to play,” she said.

Similarly, Matt Bone has found difficulties in depending on his music profession as a main source of income due to the inconsistency of gigs. He said it is really important for your family to believe in you and shared some insight into his networking secret. 

“It is valuable to always be the most prepared person in the room. I am always the one with extra leads, guitar picks and straps, something simple like carrying spares will put you above everyone else,” Mr Bone said.

Hamish Stuart, who has been playing music for forty years has been completely immersed in the music scene since a young age. Ever since his brother introduced him to music genres such as classy blues, funk and jazz as well as artists such as Bob Dylan and of course the Beetles, Mr Stuart has been drumming to live, and living to drum.

“I always thought if I could just make enough money through music to live, that would be great; if only I shot a bit higher,” he said.

Dr Hill and the panellists nicely wrapped up the session by agreeing that no matter the progression in computer generated sounds, there will always be a need for the music and arts. This is because people love live music, and artists love to perform.

“We all want to experience and feel something… be in the present,” concluded Ms Hooper.