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It's an amorphous brand that many would have
seen and heard of across Canberra's cultural
landscape but don't quite know what it is.
The brainchild of a rural boy that came to the
territory in 2004, Party By Jake has become a
marker for diverse music events in the capital.
Duncan Jake grew up in the small town of Culcairn
near the NSW/Victorian border. He was 19 years old
when he moved to Canberra but it would be another
five years before he would dip his toe into the local
music scene by managing a band and organising a DJ
"It was a really good experience to get into the music
industry that way,'' Jake says.
In 2010 he embarked on creating some music events with
a difference to Canberra, starting with the Heartbeat series.
"It was the very first event series that I put on,'' Jake
says. "It involved getting independent clothing labels
to sponsor the event so that we could provide them
with a cross-promotional opportunity. They gave us
some merchandise to give away at the party and they
got their business exposed to a nice crowd of music
loving people who like to party.''
After the Heartbeat events was a host of pop-up-
party ideas to introduce further diversification into the
music scene. At some point things metamorphosed
into what is now known as Party By Jake and the
online campaign kicked off.
"People don't really know what Party By Jake is
but the blogs and the social media is the most easily
identifiable thing because it is accessible,'' Jake says.
"It is one of those intangible things that people see
For Jake, Party By Jake is an expression of the
things that he really loves.
"It's centered around music but it is not just music,''
he says. "There is a little bit of a tagline that comes
with Party By Jake in that it is music, it is people and
it is party."
An advertising and marketing student at the
University of Canberra, he has managed to turn an
idea that has gained traction as a culture brand in the
capital into something more than just a hobby.
The blog itself has been running for about two
years, which Jake says is pretty late to start a music
blog in the grand scheme of blogging. Nevertheless
it has provided an outlet to showcase the music they
wanted to bring in.
"I love lots of different music but you can't present
that everywhere in Canberra,'' he says. "It is not
sustainable. You do need to spend money to put on
a show and you do need to make sure that you are
not constantly losing money just to put on something
that you love. The blog was a way to support as much
music as possible.''
Encouraging people to venture out and try something
new is not easy. Jake found many hurdles to be
overcome in the music culture as people got hung up
on identifying themselves with particular genres at the
expense of a broader musical experience.
"There are all these barriers between different types
of music culture and there are barriers to the reasons
why people don't listen to this or that music. But it
is still music so why can't you listen to it if it is good
"A characteristic of the blog is that we only talk
about what we like. We're not going to rubbish a track
or an artist or waste time on talking about something
we don't like. What's the point?
"There is so much out there to find that you can
enjoy so why would you waste time on dwelling on
things that you don't like. Everyone has things they
don't like, I have things I don't like, but I'd rather
spend time talking about the things I do like."
There is no five-year-plan or corporate strategy for
this humming musical and cultural venture but Jake is
determined to maintain the spirit of Party By Jake in
whatever he does.
"In terms of myself and where my career is going I'd
always like to have some sort of connection with the
music world,'' Jake says. "As long as there is a creative
or an imaginative side of what I'm doing I'll be happy."
With an appreciation for creation, Duncan Jake's music blog has shifted the
capital's cultural landscape. BY MARK SAWA
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