Tony Hillier

Hillier's Hotline

Issue #19 August 2012: SITE LINES


A dark cloud descended on the Cairns live music scene five years ago when Johno’s Blues Bar was forced to close. The monumental loss of the city’s only seven nights a week venue and the general deterioration of the live music scene led to the formation of lobby group PALM (People Advocating Live Music) and ultimately the introduction of the Entertainment Cairns portal in 2009. That silver lining is now worth its weight in gold.

The website co-founded by PALM’s co-convenor Ray Elias to support the ailing music industry now not only provides a definitive guide to the live entertainment scene in the far north in terms of gig listings, but also hosts more than a hundred and fifty  artist/band profiles and acts as a conduit to bookings.

Proof of Entertainment Cairns’ efficiency as a guide to what’s happening week in, week out is reflected in the fact that it currently boasts a following of 10,000 – 12,000 users per month and recently clocked five million page views.

The key to the website's success has been the contributions of musicians and other performers, venues and event organisers. First and foremost, though, have been the musicians/performers who produce the entertainment in the first place.

The site’s efficacy as a market place for entertainers is reflected by the results of a recent extensive on-line survey.

The Performer Survey was conducted between August 2 and 9, using the website tool Survey Monkey.

As the prime instigator of Entertainment Cairns, and the person who has interacted with most account holders on the site Ray Elias was keen to get the survey results and had certain expectations or at least "hopes" from the performer community.


Of the 133 performers contacted, 55 responded to the survey.

The survey results exceeded his expectations. “I was very happy with the response,” he says.

“It struck me that 84% of performers using the gig guide regularly and 76% listing their events regularly meant a vote of confidence from performers in the website.”

Entertainment Cairns plans to integrate comment postings with Facebook was overwhelmingly supported (96%) and the strength of this feedback makes it a compelling next project for EC.


The other two significant results that Ray was most taken by were:

Comments from entertainers included: “Every aspect of EC is great”,  “I can't fault it” and “We think it is a fabulous resource for musicians and venues”.

One responder put it in even stronger terms: “Those performers who are trying to get gigs and market their act/music and do not use this very easy web site are selling themselves short”.


Feedback and opinions of performers were garnered to:


Councillor Rob Pyne reviewed the survey results directly from Survey Monkey to verify the results used and reported on.



“It’s easy to see what's on on a given day”

“EC is very user friendly, especially the drop-down menus to select venue, date, time, etc.”

“Easy to list gigs”

“Easy to use, free, allows direct contact from punters”

“Gig guide can be linked to my webpage”

“Well formatted pages, links always work, well formatted easy-to-read at a glance newsletter, localised”

“Up to date and easy to navigate”

“Great google presence, which I don't get from my websites.”

“It provides a comprehensive and accurate gig guide for Cairns and environs.”

“Good method of presenting the whole industry.”


For the Full report of EC's Performer Survey August 2012 click here.

Tony Hillier