The AFL is pleased to announce an all-Australian line-up will perform at the Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Telstra AFL Half-Time Shows ahead of the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final on Saturday September 25.
The Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show will feature a host of local Western Australian artists including alternative singer-songwriter John Butler, Fremantle’s ARIA-award winning alternative rock band Eskimo Joe, guitar-slinging multi-award-winning artist Abbe May, critically acclaimed musician Stella Donnelly, multi-award-winning duo Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse and sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn from much-loved Australian Folk-Rock group The Waifs.
Men at Work’s lead singer and successful solo artist Colin Hay will also feature in the Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show as well as proud Yolngu man, rapper and Young Australian of the Year, Danzal Baker OAM- known as Baker Boy.
The Telstra AFL Half-Time Show will feature hometown favourites and popular contemporary rock band Birds of Tokyo alongside the West Australian Symphony Orchestra who will entertain fans in a spectacular performance under lights.
In addition, September favourite Mike Brady AM will conduct a special performance remotely from Melbourne.
The Welcome to Country will be conducted by proud Noongar man of the South-West region Richard Wally OAM, while the Australian national anthem will be performed by Perth-born Musical Theatre Star and leading lady of Phantom of the Opera, Amy Manford.
AFL Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial Kylie Rogers said the first 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final held in Perth was a great opportunity to showcase the best Western Australian music talent.
“After the success of a local all-Australian line-up at last year’s Grand Final in Queensland, we know there is incredible support to bring together home-grown talent again this year.
“The 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows will celebrate Australian anthems and showcase a host of Western Australia music talent who are all incredibly excited to play in front of a full-house on home soil,” Ms. Rogers said.
“This year’s line-up features artists spanning across multiple generations, so we’re confident there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
“I’d like to thank our longstanding partner Telstra for their support in bringing the 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows to life which highlights their ongoing commitment to connecting Australians and their long-term support for Australian sport and the arts.”
Telstra Group Executive Consumer & Small Business Michael Ackland said the 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows highlighted its purpose of building a connected future for all Australians.
“Telstra has been a proud partner of the AFL’s for almost two decades and we’re thrilled to present the 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows which will showcase some of our country’s top music talent.
“The all-Australian line-up for this year’s AFL entertainment aligns with our recent ‘Australia is why’ campaign which highlights our purpose behind why we do what we do,” Mr. Ackland said.
“Telstra is passionate about supporting sport and the arts, so we are excited to bring these two passions together in the 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows in what is sure to be a wonderful spectacle.”
Mushroom Chief Executive Matt Gudinski said, “It’s been a tough time for live music so it’s fantastic to have the AFL continue their tradition of supporting homegrown artists. One of my Dad’s proudest achievements was producing the AFL Grand Final entertainment and he would be very excited to see the AFL Grand Final feature all Australian talent again. I’m excited to see such great talent and watch them perform on one of the game’s biggest stages.”
The 2021 Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show will commence at 4:15pm (AWST), with both the Telstra AFL Pre-Match and Half-Time Shows broadcast nationally on Channel Seven.
ARTIST QUOTES AND BIOS:
Abbe May “I am so excited and honoured to be a part of the Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show for this year’s AFL Grand Final! I know this will be a once in a lifetime experience and I am very proud to be involved with such an important community celebration.” –ABBE MAYHaving spent her early twenties performing in Australia’s most notorious rock venues and busted up studios, Abbe May graduated from her critically acclaimed early explorations of rock and blues to become a guitar-slinging, beat-driven, iconic performer with an atmospheric cocktail of sexy, indie riff-rock, gospel, soul and electronica.
A champion of the LGBTQIA+ community, Abbe is a multi-award-winning artist, having been nominated for over 40 ARIA, WAM, AIR, AMP awards and so far winning 27, she is one of the strong women of the Australian music industry with much respect around the country.
Her impressive career as an independent, original artist boasts many highlights including touring extensively as the hand-picked guitarist for Peter Garrett’s Alter Egos, support for iconic artists such as Midnight Oil and Killing Heidi and performing at a myriad of summer music festivals including Big Day Out, Meredith, and Pyramid. Abbe has had vast success with albums ‘Design Desire’ in 2012, and ‘Kiss My Apocalypse’ in 2013, singles Mammalian Locomotion, Taurus Chorus, Design Desire, Karmageddon, and T.R.O.U.B.L.E, while her fifth studio album “FRUIT” in 2018, was honoured with a shortlisting in the 2019 Australian Music Prize.
Amy Manford “I am thrilled to be performing at such an iconic Australian sporting event and a particularly exciting moment in history for WA. I will certainly take pride in singing our national anthem back on home soil, it will be a surreal moment in what has been an unpredictable year for myself and many others,” – AMY MANFORD
Australian/American soprano, Amy Manford most recently performed the role of ‘Christine Daaé’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original production of The Phantom of the Opera on the West End. She was due to reprise the role at the Sydney Opera house this year which was unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19. It has been rescheduled to 2022. In 2020, Amy and fellow performer Genevieve McCarthy, started their own theatrical production company in Perth, where they are currently producing and starring in their largest project to date, ‘Disney in Concert: A Dream Is A Wish’ this October.
Amy has previously performed the National Anthem for various members of the royal family including the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace and for HRH Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle for the 2018 Anzac Day Memorial Service in London.
Baker Boy “It’s a massive dream come true to get to perform at the Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show, a real bucket list item to get to cross off. I love footy, grew up playing footy and I always said that if I wasn’t being Baker Boy that I would have followed the AFL path, so it feels really special to get to bring my two loves together. It feels like a long time coming after my Dreamtime at the G performance got rained out a couple of years ago, so it’s a real honor to get this opportunity to come back!” –BAKER BOY
Danzal Baker OAM, aka Baker Boy, is a proud Yolngu man, hailing from Milingimbi and Maningrida in North-East Arnhem Land. Upon his debut in 2017 with the instant-classic “Cloud 9”, Baker Boy struck the Australian music industry with his unashamed optimism and love for music, dance and his connection to his culture.
Baker Boy has proved he is not a one-off success story, with his growing audience embracing his music and multiple releases he has rolled out since his debut. The release of debut album ‘Gela’ on October 15 continues Baker Boy’s growing list of accomplishments including an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) and Young Australian of the Year, sitting alongside recent wins at the National Indigenous Music Awards (including Artist of The Year), his first Gold ARIA Certifications (‘Cool As Hell’ and “Mr La Di Da Di’), and numerous APRA and ARIA Award nominations.
Birds of Tokyo “What an absolute honour and thrill it is to be a part of this year’s Telstra AFL Half-Time Show and have the AFL Grand Final here for the first time in our home city. The band is beyond excited to let loose to a full house. This is going to be all time!” – IAN KENNY, BIRDS OF TOKYO
Formed in Perth, Birds of Tokyo has grown from independent roots to become one of Australia’s most popular contemporary rock bands. The band has released six studio albums including ‘Human Design’ which topped the ARIA charts last May. Classic songs like “Good Lord”, “Two Of Us”, “Plans”, “Lanterns”, “Brace” and “I’d Go With You Anywhere” have all been top 10 airplay hits and more than seventy Birds of Tokyo tracks have featured on Triple J, making them one of the National Youth Broadcaster’s three most played artists of this millennium.
They have played major festivals like Splendour In The Grass and Falls and appeared as special guests for Muse, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel and Bon Jovi. Birds of Tokyo has won “Rock Work of The Year” on a record setting five separate occasions at the APRA Awards. The band capped 2020 by releasing their summer anthem, “Weekend”, ahead of special concerts with some of Australia’s most prestigious Symphony Orchestras. Birds of Tokyo will release their new single “Superglue (feat. Stand Atlantic)” on September 17.
Colin Hay “Like the country, this game is unique in the world, and I’m more than happy to be part of this year’s Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show. I look forward to watching the big men fly,” –COLIN HAY
While Scottish born Colin Hay may be best known as the songwriter, lead vocal and guitarist for Australian Grammy winners and multi-platinum selling hit makers Men At Work, he has received acclaim for his troubadour-style solo career, and some 13 solo albums, spanning the last 30 odd years.
The last few years have been particularly rewarding for Colin, touring Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand with his US band and being part of Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band, penning the title track, “What’s My Name”, for Ringo’s last album. Colin has also performed on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and ABC’s Greatest Hits. In addition, Colin has shared the stage with iconic bands including Squeeze, Kings of Leon and Of Monsters and Men, and has been the subject of a documentary film about his career entitled Waiting for My Real Life, named for one of his best-known solo recordings. In a departure from his own musical path, Colin played Feste, in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s acclaimed 2019 production of Shakespeare’s 12th Night.
Now finding himself in the unprecedented place of having both Men At Work fame and a continuing growing following, Colin has released an album of cover songs he recorded during lockdown. Exploring the gems he heard growing up in his parent’s music shop, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”, features 10 versions of some of Colin’s particular favorites. These lushly arranged versions showcase Hay’s ability to interpret a song and remind one just how instantly recognizable his voice is. Colin also has a new album of original material entitled “Now And The Evermore”, due for an early 2022 release. “I remain ever hopeful about the future, and feel grateful to be still working, during these difficult and unprecedented times.”
Eskimo Joe “We are so excited to play the Telstra AFL Pre-Match Show this year! This is a once in a lifetime moment for us, and we can’t wait to help celebrate the greatest sporting event on the planet,” – KAV TEMPERLEY, ESKIMO JOE
Eskimo Joe has certainly come a long way from their humble beginnings as much-loved indie rock kids in Fremantle, racking up a long list of impressive accomplishments over the last two decades.
With six studio albums under their belts and sales in excess of 750,000 in Australia alone, the band has seen three of those albums debut at number 1 on the ARIA charts, with juggernaut ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ shining for a monster 62 weeks in the ARIA Chart Top 50 and “Foreign Land”, from their fourth album ‘Inshalla’, bringing home two APRA Awards, for Most Played Rock Song on Australian radio and Best Rock Song of 2010. Holding the title of number one ticket holders for the Fremantle Football Club, Eskimo Joe has enjoyed 35 ARIA nominations in their career thus far–a number only surpassed by Silverchair, Powderfinger, Kylie Minogue and John Farnham.
The stage however, is where Eskimo Joe shine with the band performing at many significant events both in Australia and internationally, with large festivals and sold-out tours to boot. Following the release of their new single ’99 Ways’ in February 2021, Eskimo Joe will tour nationally in March/April 2022, playing their albums ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ and ‘A Song Is A City’ in full. Tickets via: frontiertouring.com/eskimojoe
Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse “We are so thrilled to be included in this extraordinary lineup and cannot wait to sing Noongar language at this event – it’s a true celebration of West Australian Music.” – GINA WILLIAMS and GUY GHOUSE
Ancient language, contemporary music, stunning vocals, poignant stories, and guitar brilliance.
Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse use their music and performances to highlight one of the most beautiful and rare languages on the planet; the Noongar language of the southern corner of Western Australia.
2021 has been a big year for the multi-award-winning duo, with Guy awarded Best Guitarist Award at the WA Music Awards, Gina awarded Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and the recent release of their songbook “Kalyakoorl, Ngalak Warangka Forever We Sing” through Magabala Books in September.
Noongar singer-songwriter Gina Williams AM is a rare performer who captures hearts and imaginations by connecting deeply through the power of song. With less than 400 speakers of this language left, Gina – alongside Guy – brings a modern take on ancient traditions, matching powerful storytelling and that incredible, incandescent voice.
There are few guitarists who connect to their music and perform without compromise like Guy Ghouse, one of the most respected guitarists in Australia, as a producer, artistic director, collaborator or any role where his guitar and music has a place. With Gina, he continues with his passion for preserving language through music.
John Butler “I’m looking forward to performing at this very special AFL Grand Final here in our state of WA, particularly alongside such a high calibre of artists. It’s been a tough time for the music industry and I’m excited to share the stage with these talented musicians.” – JOHN BUTLER
John Butler is one of Australia’s premiere alternative songwriters and storytellers with accolades spanning from #1 charting albums, platinum records and ARIA Awards across his illustrious career as one of the country’s most successful independent musicians.
His rich catalogue of iconic hits spanning over a quarter of a century include signature songs such as ‘Zebra’, ‘Better Than’, ‘Ocean’ and more. His music continues to traverse the globe having performed on the world’s most iconic stages, venues and festivals including Fuji Rock, Glastonbury, Coachella, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and more with his high energy live show and revered musicianship.
Butler’s most recent studio album, 2018’s ‘HOME’, debuted at #1 on the ARIA Charts with the record exploring new sonic territory, expanded instrumentation and experimentation which challenged but accentuated his core roots sound.
Mike Brady “It’s always an honour to be a part of this great day and I never get sick of singing my footy songs. I love it when the crowd sing along and we become ‘one’ just like a team. It’s been a very tough year for musicians, and I’ve been looking forward to connecting with the AFL ‘family’ again all year,” – MIKE BRADY
Mike Brady once again adds his unique talent to our AFL entertainment with his iconic songs. It’s now 42 years since he first sang ‘Up There Cazaly’ at an Australian Rules football Grand Final and ironically that was at Subiaco in Perth in 1979.
Dr Richard Wally OAM
Dr Richard Walley OAM is a Noongar man of the South-West region. A musician, artist, director, actor, writer, linguist, educator, and activist – the extraordinary versatility of Richard Walley has seen him wear many hats over his long and illustrious career.
Richard became involved with Aboriginal politics at an early age, having active involvement in the formation or operations of the Aboriginal Housing Board, Aboriginal Medical Service, Legal Service and the New Era Aboriginal Fellowship in Perth Western Australia. In 1978, along with three other Aboriginals, Richard formed the ‘Middar Aboriginal Theatre Group’. Middar in its lifetime took the Noongar culture to 32 different countries around the world.
Richard has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (1993) and two honorary doctorates from Murdoch University (2001) and The University of Western Australia (2006) for his contribution to the promotion of Noongar Culture and the Arts. In 2010, Richard received the ‘Citizen of the Year Award ‘in the ‘Indigenous Leadership’ category of the Celebrate WA Awards. In 2021, Richard received the 2021 West Australian Senior Australian of the Year Award. A fluent speaker of the Noongar language, Richard continues to push boundaries, whilst always focussing on the bigger ‘community’ picture of Culture, Arts, Education and Environment.
Stella Donnelly “Every year when we watch the AFL grand final my Dad says, ‘it could be you next year love’, and I say, ‘Dad, you know I can’t play footy!’. But in all seriousness, I can’t believe I have been given this opportunity, I am a lifelong fan of the game so to be on that stage performing will be a huge spin out, and to be doing it with John, Gina, Guy, Donna and Vikki makes it even more special.” – STELLA DONNELLY
Stella Donnelly has toured relentlessly in support of her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Beware of the Dogs’ which received international praise from outlets such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard and The New York Times. The record’s release and preceding singles such as ‘Old Man’ and ’Tricks’ propelled Stella to new heights including studio sessions for NPR’s Tiny Desk and KEXP along with an envious international touring schedule which saw her sell out shows across North America and Europe and standout performance at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival.
An artist totally in command of her voice, Stella’s ability to blend her inviting charm and sharp wit into authentically raw songs, leaves audiences wanting more. In addition, Stella is also a die-hard West Coast Eagles Fan, which she hopes you won’t hold against her.
The Waifs: Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn “This is a dream come true. I love my footy and feel so grateful to be asked to sing to the crowd in the first AFL Grand Final held in WA. Even though the AFL Grand Final belongs in Victoria, I’m hoping we can make you proud of how Western Australia will step up to the plate. The Waifs spent two years living in Collingwood and attending games back in 1996-1998 which is where our love of AFL manifested. It’s probably the most exciting gig of my 30-year career.” – DONNA SIMPSON, THE WAIFS
Two-thirds of much-loved Australian Folk-Rock group the Waifs, sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn grew up harmonizing and connecting through song, forging an intuitive understanding of one another through music. Since humble beginnings travelling and playing gigs throughout Australia in 1992, the Waifs have become an iconic band in Australia, securing multiple ARIA Awards, platinum albums and successful tours across the world. With a career spanning more than 25-years, the Waifs have produced ground-breaking records such as ‘Up All Night’ and ‘A Brief History’ and built a career out of continually circling Australia and the globe.
From bustling cities to the farthest regional and coastal towns, they have spent the past 25 years, reuniting with old friends, and gathering new fans, thanks to their enchanting live shows and affable natures. Four years on from celebrating their 25th anniversary and their #1 ARIA chart topping album ‘Ironbark’, Donna Simpson, Vikki Thorn and Josh Cunningham (with the long-standing rhythm section of David Ross Macdonald and Ben Franz) continue to share their folk-infused, feel-good sounds with adoring, now multi generation audiences. Vikki Thorn has recently released her first single Tempest from her soon to be released solo album, under the name Thornbird.
West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO)
From the centre of Perth to the furthest corners of the state, WASO presents extraordinary music and exhilarating performances for all West Australians to share. As the State Orchestra, WASO is the largest employer of performing artists in Western Australia and reaches hundreds of thousands of people each year on stage and in the WA community. The Orchestra collaborates widely with major arts companies and independent artists, performing opera to ballet, movies to musicals, jazz to rock. WASO takes pride not only in celebrating our rich classical music heritage but in performing with contemporary musicians and bands including Birds of Tokyo, Eskimo Joe, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan and Drapht, championing the breadth of music that shapes the soundtrack to West Australians’ lives.