2021 South Australian Music (SAM) Awards – Nominations Now Open!

by the partae

The 2021 South Australian Music (SAM) Awards is full steam ahead, gearing up to celebrate the many accomplishments, and emergence of, the wonderful homegrown musical talent in South Australia over the last 12 months, after a very difficult year for the South Australian music industry.

The 2021 SAM Award winners will be announced on Thursday 18th November 2021 in a COVID-19 appropriate gala-style event. Early bird tickets will be on sale to the South Australian music industry on Wednesday 22 September via the SAM Awards website.

SAM Award nominations across all categories are NOW OPEN, so cast your nomination here.

The SAM Awards remain a standout annual event for the South Australian music industry, and has rapidly gained recognition as a key date for national industry players to keep their finger on the pulse with South Australian music, and why Adelaide earned its crown as a UNESCO City of Music.

In 2020, the SAM Awards event was one of the only awards ceremonies that was able to safely take place live and with an audience in attendance. There was a record number of votes in the lead up to the gala event on the lawns of Adelaide‘s UniBar, which saw artists including MOTEZJess DaySiberian Tiger and Wing Defence all taking home awards. This year’s award ceremony is preparing to shine the spotlight on the SA music community once more, to amplify the voices of its homegrown talent and ultimately turn heads across Australia.


Local Judges

Alex Karatassa – Artist Manager & Festival Curator / Five Four Entertainment

Beck Pearce – Director, Office of Adelaide UNESCO City of Music

Ed Noble – Music Educator / Local Musician / Sunny Side Uploads

Grayson Rotumah – Music Educator / Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music

Hannah Fairlamb – Co-Director of Girls Rock! Adelaide / Local Musician

Kate Bailey – Producer, ABC Radio Adelaide

Lewis Wundenberg – Owner/Operator of Wundenberg’s Recording Studios

Marty Haros – Sound Engineer / Producer / Fresh 92.7

Nelson Dialect – Hip Hop artist / Producer

Tam Boakes – Owner/Operator of Jive Venue

National Judges

Declan Byrne – Radio Host for Triple J’s Home & Hosed (SYD)

Hayden Davies – Pile Rats / Brag Media Management / Freelance writer (PER)

James Tidswell – Unified Music Group / Violent Soho (MEL)

Sosefina Fuamoli – Music journalist / Podcast host and content producer (MEL)

Sweetie Zamora – Remote Control Records / Founder of Pointer Recordings (MEL)

The People’s Choice Awards will be voted by members of the public, with voting opening on Wednesday 22nd September via the event’s independent partner TheMusic.com.au.

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said: The Marshall Liberal Government values our state’s music sector which contributes not just economically to South Australia but also adds to the state’s cultural identity.

“We encourage the local music sector to take this opportunity to celebrate their achievements in what has been another challenging year, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Pisoni said.

“The South Australian Government through its partnership with Music SA is proud to support South Australian Music Awards once again to recognise, promote and celebrate excellence in our local music industry.”

Music SA’s General Manager Kim Roberts states, “We can’t wait to see you all at the SAMs!  It’s been a difficult time for our industry, so the SAM Awards are the perfect way to get together safely to celebrate the SA music community’s achievements over the last year.  I’d like to encourage everyone to nominate themselves or their favourite band, artist or business to be in the running for this year’s awards”.

As always, the SAMs Industry and Major awards will be decided by an independent panel of 15 national and local judges who represent and work across various facets of the industry and are valued members of the overarching Australian music community. Music SA is delighted to announce an exceptionally strong panel this year:

Nominations are now open via TheMusic.com.au until 11:59 pm AEST on
Wednesday 15 September for the 2021 SAM Awards for the below categories:


Industry Voted Awards:

BEST STUDIO (Presented by Adelaide Music Collective)

BEST STUDIO ENGINEER/PRODUCER (Presented by SAE Institute Adelaide)

BEST LIVE TECHNICIAN (Presented by Novatech)


BEST SMALL FESTIVAL/EVENT (Presented by Pirate Life)

BEST VENUE (Presented by AHA)

BEST COVER ART (Presented by Version Design)

BEST MANAGER (Presented by Association of Artist Managers)



BEST NEW ARTIST (Presented by WOMADelaide)

BEST GROUP (Presented by Derringers Music)

(Presented by Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music – CASM)


BEST RELEASE (Presented by TheMusic.com.au)


BEST INNOVATION (Presented by CityMag)

People’s Choice Awards:

BLUES & ROOTS (Presented by UniBar)

COUNTRY (Presented by Grace Emily Hotel)

ELECTRONIC (Presented by Fat Controller)

EXPERIMENTAL (Presented by The Lab)

FOLK (Presented by The Wheatsheaf Hotel)

HEAVY (Presented by ARMI)

HIP HOP (Presented by The Gov)

JAZZ (Presented by the Gilbert St Hotel)

POP (Presented by Lion Arts Factory)

PUNK (Presented by Three D Radio)

ROCK (Presented by Jive)

SOUL/FUNK/R&B (Presented by Woodville Town Hall)

The SAM Awards is looking ahead to the future, continuing its commitment to celebrating the thriving music community that really makes South Australia a great place to be. Nominations are now open and close at 11:59pm AEST Wednesday, 15th September 2021.


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