Sheppard speaks out over “worth of artists” amid Opening Ceremony controversy

We are just three days out from the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony, but again attention has turned to the Opening Ceremony and the perceived ‘lack’ of outstanding Australian artists.

Despite stellar performances from Rikki-Lee, Delta Goodrem and Katie Noonan at Carrara Stadium last Thursday night, there was some backlash over having a ‘ring in’ perform John Farnham’s signature tune You’re the Voice and questions raised over just who was asked and how much money they were offered.

By Sunday, Noonan (who was also the Musical Director of the event), had taken to Facebook to express her heartbreak over the criticism.


“I feel that people forget that when you open your heart to make something special and true that every inch of your being vibrates with the essence of integrity and vulnerability and therefore you are exposed and raw,” Noonan wrote alongside a photo of her tear-stained face.

“There has been some horrible media suggesting my musical direction of the Comm Games opening ceremony was driven by ego rather than good – and for me that is the ultimate insult!

“An awesome musical soundtrack that reflected us as a mighty world class and proud mob of integrity was my only goal.”

Greg Sheppard, the father of Sheppard bandmates George and Amy, shared the post to his Facebook page saying it was “pure narcissism” from Noonan and she should “learn to be a bit more sensitive about how she uses her position of power in the music industry”.

While, George called her “mean and nasty”, before claiming the band was offered just $6,000 to do the gig, not to mention rehearsals and other associated costs.

Today, the band has taken to social media to explain why they didn’t accept the low fee and embrace the opportunity to get worldwide exposure.

“We are glad that the debate is finally being had in public about the worth of artists,” they wrote.

“Whether you’re a sound tech, a door person, the cleaner or a ticket seller, every person in the value chain deserves to get paid to create events and music that the public can enjoy.

“To be clear, this isn’t about the Commonwealth Games and it isn’t even about Sheppard.

“Of course we could have done the event and of course it would have been good for “exposure”, but we think about the message we send out to young musicians by what we can or can’t accept as artists in a privileged position.

“By making this decision, we are standing up for the next generation of Australian talent – the ones creating music in their bedrooms and hoping that one day they might be able to make a living from doing what they love.

“We do a lot of appearances for free because we feel it’s good for us to do, but the key element is that it’s on OUR terms.

“Was passing up on this particular opportunity the right move for Sheppard? We may never know the answer to that, but the message to musicians out there is that it’s your choice and if you don’t feel your place in the value chain is being respected, it’s your right to say no.”

In a statement from Games Minister Kate Jones, she explained that Jack Morton Worldwide was appointed by GOLDOC as the official producer of the Games and was responsible for negotiating all contracts with performers in the opening ceremony.

In case you’re wondering just what the band was getting up to around the time of the opening ceremony: check out the below post. Doing their bit for charity, hanging out with a bunch of kids in PNG.