One of Australia’s most famed music industry figures was famed by one of the country’s most beloved musical cities over the weekend at the 10th Melbourne Awards.

Michael Gudinski, rock promoter and founder of the Mushroom Records empire, was named Melburnian of the Year during the ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall last Saturday night.

The Age reports that Gudinski was presented with his esteemed award along with a number of corporate and community prize winners, recognising his enormous contribution to the local and international music scene.

The 59-year-old’s business empire includes the Mushroom Group, promoters Frontier Touring, and booking agents Harbour Agency/Premier Artists – booking agents.

Gudinski was also applauded for his numerable events and work for charity. Particularly as a key figure in putting together the 2009 Sound Relief concert event, which managed to raise more than $10 million in charity for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires and the Queensland floods.

Assembling the likes of Midnight Oil, Split Enz, Icehouse, Coldplay, You Am I & Kings of Leon for concerts held simultaneously at the Melbourne and Sydney Cricket Grounds.

During his acceptance speech Gudinski called “the whole thing” a “real honour.” The Melbourne-born resident went on to say: ”Melbourne has been fantastic for me and I feel very lucky to have been here. I tell anyone who moves to Melbourne to breathe it in for the first few months and they won’t ever want to leave.”

Gudinski attributed Melbourne’s blossoming music culture to community radio stations like RRR and PBS, which promote local music as well as non-commercial airplay. The Mushroom kingpin also applauded small live music venues, which provided both a pivotal early step in band’s careers; as well as the larger venues that helped nurture their later development.

”We are very lucky to have a whole precinct with venues,” said Gudinski, “- like the MCG and Rod Laver Arena – that can be used for live music. They are so close to the city, we are very fortunate in the way Melbourne was planned and built.”

Gudinski continued by adding that he believes the next step in developing Melbourne’s music scene, and in tandem Australia’s, is to create tax incentives for music investors similar to those recently developed in the Australian film industry.

“I’m not talking about handouts,” stressed the music mogul. ”The film industry has been spoilt in comparison to the music industry, given the financial contribution that music makes,” Gudinski said. ”To make it in the film industry, most have to make it overseas, and many [music] artists, technicians and managers aren’t in a position to do that without support.”

Melbourne lord mayor Robert D0yle also paid tribute to Gudinski after his being awarded Melburnian of the Year, saying “his work has put many Melbourne bands and artists on the musical map, and his great support of the victims of the Black Saturday tragedy through Sound Relief has made him a Melbourne icon.”

Speaking to The Herald Sun on the topic of his recognition, Gudinski said he had no desire to rest on his accolades. “I think there is a responsibility to use some of these accolades to work on a few more dreams,” he said.

He also indicated that he was developing further plans for the future of music in his hometown. Including discussions with fellow music icon, Molly Meldrum, in developing a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

“Melbourne is the music capital of Australia. To keep that title, and we should be proud of it, there needs to be thoughts about a Hall of Fame,” Gudinski remarked about the notion of celebrating the city’s status as a music capital.

“But it needs to be done properly,” he stressed, “and it needs sponsorship. We see highbrow event and the high end of the arts get funding. I think it’s time for that level of sponsorship to be spread to something mainstream like popular music.”

Gudinski also teased plans of putting together a week-long music festival featuring both local and international acts.

“I think there is room, separate to the Melbourne International Arts Festival, for a Melbourne Music Festival,” reasoned Gudinski. “I’ve been developing a number of ideas. It wouldn’t be a festival like Lollapalooza or Coachella, but a week to 10-day event.”

“I love this city,” said the newly awarded Melburnian of the Year “…I love driving past the venues I ran gigs in. I feel I’ve grown with the city. We can’t take this city granted. We all play a role. We’ve got the best of everything available right here.”

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