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Maddah says Soundwave ‘punished for success’

Soundwave founder AJ Maddah has hit back at reports Adelaide taxpayers have been forced to foot the debt accumulated by the now-defunct festival.

It emerged yesterday that Adelaide City Council (ACC) has agreed to permanently write off more than A$75,000 (US$56,00) owed by the metal festival, with News Corp tabloid The Advertiser writing that Soundwave “has ended up costing ratepayers about $75,000”.

That’s a reductive statement, says Maddah, which ignores the enormous contribution made by Soundwave to the Adelaide area between 2008 and 2015 – in spite of massive year-on-year hikes in rent and alleged abuse of backstage passes by local politicians and their families.

Maddah’s full statement, shared with Music Feeds, is below:

For over a decade Soundwave brought events to Adelaide and over that time provided jobs to thousands of South Australians, hiring thousand of hotel rooms, rental cars, close to $1 million in backstage catering supplied locally, paid ridiculous Adelaide City Council charges and incidentally provided entertainment for South Australian youth – the most marginalised and forgotten section of the South Australian population, with the highest rate of boredom, despondency and suicide.

And over that decade Adelaide City Council constantly punished Soundwave for being a successful event. Doubling and quadrupling the rent at Bonython Park and charging us close to ten times what it charged other events that used the park and employing every third-world tactic imaginable to squeeze the event.

In the meanwhile, council staff, including elected officials, abused the festival’s hospitality, demanded backstage access for their kids who never paid to attend and made a nuisance of themselves at every turn. We took all of this, grimaced and persevered despite the Adelaide market only turning a profit once in the history of the event.

Soundwave incurred catastrophic losses in 2015, with Adelaide accounting for a high portion of the loss. We were simply unable to meet the council’s post-event demands. But over its lifetime, Soundwave was a net contributor to ACC and the taxpayer by a very significant margin.

So, Adelaide City Council, what does the car racing and vanity events sponsored and subsidised by the Council cost the Adelaide taxpayer EVERY SINGLE YEAR?

ACC, however, disputes Maddah’s version of events, saying Soundwave “paid normal rates to use the space as per our rates schedule, plus standard remediation costs which are charged to all event organisers who use the park lands and squares to ensure they are returned to their pre-event state.”

Soundwave, a major touring festival which was also held in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, filed for bankruptcy in 2015 with debts of A$28m.


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