Sunday night is the music industry’s annual shindig, when it gathers to congratulate itself at Acer Arena in Sydney.
It’s rivalled only by the MTVA Awards back in April, known more for its stunts, international hosts and eclectic categories. The ARIAs is at least peer-voted and covers everything from children’s music to country, dance, independent and blues & grass.
Roving Enterprises has produced the event since 2002. Producer Craig Campbell told TV Tonight it is a night where egos are put to one side to celebrate the year in music.
“There’s no huge demands,” he said. “It’s pretty much just a rock and roll dressing room kind of environment. Everyone just comes in and does their thing, works to the performance slot we give them”
This year there is no stand alone Red Carpet Arrivals, instead assembled back into the body of the show.
“It’s back to a four and a half minute piece at the top, which is just James Mathison and James Kerley chatting to the people, getting the excitement, grabbing them on the way in. We turn that round very quickly and edit that into a package that gets put into the top of the show. And we’re away.”
Over the years television has seen a number of music award shows rise and fall including the Countdown Awards and TV Week’s King of Pop. But the ARIAs wouldn’t be the same without a moment of controversy.
“I think it’s not any awards show, be it a Logies or ARIAs or AFI Awards unless someone gets horrendously drunk and slips over or exposes themselves,” laughs Campbell. “Particularly in Australia where we have this whole mentality of dinner at an awards show. I think we feed them alcohol because we’re after something exciting.
“And it’s really quite interesting for us as producers to watch the second half of the show fire up a little bit more, because everyone’s had a little bit to drink.
“But I don’t think we’re expecting any controversy. No logos, no pants pulling down, not at all. Neither of those planned in the past either,” he adds.
While the telecast starts at 7:30pm, the show itself starts at about 5:30 at Acer Arena.
“We’re two hours ahead before it airs on TEN,” he explains. “And that’s not necessarily for an edit, that’s purely an arrangement with ARIA so their invited guests can have dinner at half time. So there’s actually a half time that doesn’t go to air, where the room’s re-set.
“All the guests have dinner and then we come back in the second half. So the second half is pretty much half an hour between us and what’s going to air. In fact one year we were within about 15 seconds of catching up to ourselves.”
So there you have it. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrities misbehaving in the second half of the show.
“I’m hoping that touch wood we’ll be off air by about 10pm. So the view from us is that we just want a nice, tight show, move it along, tell some stories, make people know why they should be proud of our music industry, see who gets the big award and say goodnight.”
ARIA Awards 2008 airs 7:30pm Sunday on TEN.