Chatting with a hero of Sydney live music, Edwin Onggo, founder of GiggedIn

If you haven’t heard of GiggedIn yet, you need to start paying attention. In a city where the live music climate is tepid at best, it takes serious balls to jump into it with an investment that puts everything on the line. But this is exactly what Edwin Onggo, founder of GiggedIn, is doing.

For those who aren’t in the know, GiggedIn is a service that is reshaping live music in Sydney. They are all about discovery for music lovers, a service that puts gigs in front of subscribers and gives them no reason not to go. It’s also a double-edged sword, equally beneficial for artists as it is for punters. Their model revolves around getting people off their arses and into venues. In Sydney, 98% of gigs don’t sell out, and with the current legislation doing everything it can to keep people indoors, this number is constantly rising.

GiggedIn are all about breaking the air of misery that is gripping this city when it comes to the state of its nightlife, offering people the chance to go to as many gigs they can, because, well, that’s what people who live in a culturally vibrant city should be doing. We spoke with Onggo to get the low down on how GiggedIn came to fruition and where it’s heading.


Edwin Onggo is one man fighting the good fight against those hellbent on destroying Sydney’s nightlife. GiggedIn is his baby, and it’s changing the way people see gigs in our city.

HAPPY: When did your love affair with live music begin?

EDWIN: I’ve always loved music. I was dancing to Michael Jackson before I could speak my first word. Throughout high-school, uni and beyond I’ve grown to love tonnes of genres and sounds. Everything from underground hip-hop to deep house, to indie-electronic.

HAPPY: And was there a particular moment in time for you that everything clicked and the gears were set in motion for GiggedIn?

EDWIN:  There was no one moment. I think it was always evolving and growing. There are heaps of challenges you need to overcome when you turn an idea into reality, but as long as you never give up and you learn quickly like we have, it will progressively kick into gear. If you persevere whilst having good people around you, you can trust that the wheels will set themselves in motion in a big way like it has for GiggedIn.

HAPPY: When so many people are lamenting the imminent demise of live music (or nightlife in general) in Sydney – you guys are actually diving head first into thinking of ways of making it better, for both punters and bands. Was this a nerve racking project to undertake?

EDMIN: It was less nerve racking and more exciting. At the very beginning, I always knew technology could help make the industry better and bigger. It’s rewarding for me to see lots of our members go and see acts that they normally wouldn’t have gone to. From personal experience, getting blown away by a set from an act that has converted you into becoming a fan is a great feeling and we want that to happen more often.

HAPPY: What have been some major hurdles in the project so far?

EDWIN: There are so many small hurdles you need to overcome in any given day but there were never any show-stoppers. You kind of get in the habit of always solving problems it becomes a natural part of the journey.

HAPPY: And what has the response been like?

EDWIN: Amazing!

HAPPY: Who are some bands that you have really enjoyed working with or look forward to working with in the future?

EDWIN: It’s been great to have been able to offer our members a chance to go to lots of the cool bands that play at Oxford Art Factory, Newtown Social Club, Plan B and more in Sydney. We got to work with the Mountain Sounds Festival guys too, that was fun. I’m looking forward to working more with the awesome Melbourne venues in coming months, as well as the really special and intimate shows we’ve secured especially for our members featuring Alpine, Tkay Maidza, Harts and more.

HAPPY:  What have been some major influences on the project? I can’t think of anything else like it.

EDWIN: We’d been working on this project for a while and it was a natural extension to our crowdsourcing platform which was aimed at helping fill up rooms. The major influences came from working closely with promoters, artists and understanding what music fans want.

HAPPY: Finally, do you see a light at the end of the tunnel for live music in Sydney?

EDWIN: For sure! I think there will be a revitalisation and glad to do what we can to be a part of it.

GiggedIn has just kicked off in Melbourne too. Head to their website to read more about what it is and how you can get access to heaps of free gigs – there are some killer ones coming up including Tkay Maizda and Harts. Enter the code FRIENDSOFHAPPY you’ll actually get 30 percent off your first month.

Check out our article on how to promote your band with Australia’s top publicists here too.