What does 26 years look like?

The Pushworth Group started out as Manick Promotions on 17 July 1990 with my business partner, (and husband) Emmanuel Kyriakidis and myself. Fast forward to 2016 and after 26 years, the same two directors own and operate one of Queensland’s longest running Music Industry businesses.

For Manny, always in trouble in and out of school and bored beyond belief, music kept him distracted and busy. He played double bass in orchestras as a kid, (got kicked out of the orchestra when he turned the instrument on its side and played it like a guitar) wrote and arranged for the Jazz bands at school, won Bass Player of the Year in 1984 at the Qld Rock Awards, and performed in several both notorious and forgettable bands in the burgeoning original music scene in Brisbane in the 80s. Once university finished, he toured the Queensland Circuit for several years until he ended up managing and booking it while working for Hutcho – the infamous Queensland agent of the 70s and 80s.

To contrast, I starting playing piano at the age of three, was the nerdy kid that accompanied eisteddfods and school assemblies, wrote the songs for weddings, funerals and ordinations at the local church, arranged the music for the school bands and the choirs and was accepted into the Conservatorium of Music at the age of 16. Two albums, several bands and thousands of gigs later, a finalist at the Qld Rock Awards, I morphed into the typical rock chick doing the Covers Circuit while supporting my original habit.

While gigging and touring, Manny would be replacing last minute blowouts and negotiating deals while I would be on stage assessing the crowd for security risks and planning photo shoots in my head while waking up in the middle of a song wondering what the hell I was singing. Clearly, the business side of the music industry was more important for both of us.

Between the two of us, we have done every sh*t gig in Queensland. We have survived some pretty stressful hairy experiences and we also thrived in some fantastic wonderful moments. The past 26 years have been a healthy balance of great, not so great and everything in between.

With each new project, we would focus on finishing it thinking, “THIS would be IT!” Yet as we all know business is cyclical and accumulative, so each project was merely ANOTHER step to take in the process.

And of course, there was always another step to take. 🙂

Challenges and opportunities targeted us with equal ferocity. Every Christmas, we would say to each other, that this would be our last year. Yet now, in retrospect, after surviving and thriving 26 years in the Music Industry, we feel just as excited about this industry as we did when we insanely opened the doors in 1990.

So what does it take to not close the doors in 26 years? What does it take to not quit and walk away in 26 years? What does it take to get up every morning and go and work in the same business with the same clients and the same team for most of those 26 years?

What value is longevity in the Music Industry in Australia? What are those 26 years actually worth to us to our Venues and Promoters, to our Artists and to our team? What value is there for our business when so many others have folded, closed their doors and retired during this time?

We’ve seen trends come and go. We’ve seen giants in the industry fall and stars rise. We’ve watched Artists follow their dreams and Venues spectacularly go broke. We’ve watched Hospitality chains come and go, build and forge and weave their way through a variety of brand identities. We have witnessed carnage and destruction of some careers while other’s dance in growth and development of businesses.

Without our team, this story would not be the same. Our team during these 26 years have comprised of a myriad of characters that could fill many novels. We have watched them grow as humans and sometimes lose their way. To the majority who supported us I say thank you I appreciate how you were and I learned so very much. To the rogue handful that fucked us over I say thank you I appreciate how you were and I learned so very much.

To our present team, I am so very proud of who you each are as industry leaders and how you rise above the relentless barrage that is thrown at you as a result of working in this industry. You are gold.

We have grown four children while growing this business and they have grown up in an environment where weekends were spent replacing Artists at the last minute, managing Festivals on public holidays, assisting Artists on tour and Xmas Day was inevitably about replacing a hungover Santa. Their childhood was influenced and punctuated by our business just as much as the careers and businesses of Artists and Promoters.

To these four amazing human beings we say thank you – you were the reason why we kept going.

What will the next 26 years look like? What new trends will emerge in our industry? As we all know the old model is dead and buried and stinking so what we are looking forward to the most is the establishment and integration of the new methodologies.

So to everyone who has worked with us since 1990 and sharing this seemingly endless rabbit hole with us we say thank you and let’s have fun creating this new model together!

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