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Six60 to play world’s largest concert since Covid

New Zealand band Six60 are set to play the world’s largest concert since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to 50,000 people next month.

The band will be the first act to play New Zealand’s largest stadium, Eden Park (50,000-capacity) in Auckland, on 24 April as part of their Six60 Saturdays tour.

In February this year, it was announced that the famous sporting stadium could host up to six concerts a year, following a five-day hearing in November in which residents’ concerns about potential noise and disruption were addressed.

Six60 were an active voice in the campaign to bring concerts to Eden Park and frontman Matiu Walters said in a statement: “It’s no secret that Six60 have wanted to play Eden Park for some time now. We always felt that it was important a kiwi band should play the first show at our national stadium.

“We always felt that it was important a kiwi band should play the first show at our national stadium”

“Because of the hard work that New Zealand has done as a community we’re in the privileged position to be able to perform to an audience of this size. It’s a great reward, we’re stoked that it’s become a reality and it’s a real honour to bring our show to the garden of Eden. We can’t wait.”

The Eden Park concert will be the seventh date of Six60 Saturdays, which is the only stadium tour in the world to go ahead during the pandemic so far.

In January, the band delivered the biggest headline show in New Zealand since the pandemic began to an estimated 20,000 people at Waitangi Sports Grounds in Paihia.

The tour has also made stops in Hastings, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton.

 


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Sold-out NZ arena show to be livestreamed

New Zealand star Benee, whose ongoing NZ headline tour is the first major non-socially distanced run since March, will livestream the final night to a global audience.

The tour’s finale, which takes place at Auckland’s 12,000-seat Spark Arena on 17 October, will be streamed on the singer’s website, beneemusic.com, at 9.20pm local time. A full replay will then take place at 9pm BST/10pm CEST (1pm PDT/4pm BST) on 17 October (9am New Zealand time the following day).

Tickets are priced at US$10, and ticketholders will be able to access the stream on demand for 48 hours following the performance.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be able to get back on stage”

‘Supalonely’ singer Benee, who has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen and Late Night With Seth Meyers and recorded 2.2 billion streams globally, began her Live Nation-promoted arena tour of New Zealand last week. It follows a run of sold-out shows in Europe and North America prior to the coronavirus crisis.

“Musicians from all over the place are missing the live connection with their supporters right now, so I feel incredibly lucky to be able to get back on stage,” she says. “I’m so excited that we’re streaming the Auckland show; it means we can bring my fans from all over into the room with us.”

Unlike the rest of the world, there are no social distancing guidelines for live events in New Zealand, which has zero community cases of Covid-19. Non-socially distanced live entertainment (albeit with strictly enforced contact tracing) returned to the Australasian country in June.

 


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The Green Arena: How Spark went completely waste-free

Choose life. Choose a plant (preferably the waste product of agriculture); upcycle it into something we need (food and drink packaging); make our customers happy by serving their needs and delighting them with our attention to detail (quality products, ease of use); make it impossible for customers to stuff it up (take back control – sorry, you Brits!); make sure it gets composted (I said, make sure!); then send it back to the farms (or kiwi fruit orchards).

While deposit-scheme reusable cups and drink-bottle culture is on the rise in greenfield sites, in arenas we operate a different model in which hard objects are simply unacceptable. This has given rise to the proliferation of nasty plastic products, including polystyrene and laminated cartons, at indoor events, as well as the usual PET cups, polystyrene and soft plastic wrapping around foodstuffs.

Anyone remember Wall-E? Prophetic, huh?! The waste mountain is beginning to smother the Earth, and we need to do something. Now.

The good news is, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle actually works. Here at Spark Arena we have been composting EVERYTHING since last August: that’s a million PLA cups, lids and straws, plus countless thousands of bagasse/bamboo/paper food cartons, cutlery, napkins, etc.

Cross-contamination was a huge problem, so rather than try to solve it, we completely removed it. No matter how hard we tried, however beautiful and well-labelled the bins, however persuasive our social media campaigns, the fact is that punters are distracted, unobservant, disinterested and ultimately just there for the gig. Meaning they will always do the mindless thing: either dropping stuff on the floor or in the totally wrong bin. We have stood there and watched them do it: chips in the paper recycling, ice cream in the plastics…

So rather than add more bins, more sorting, we flipped the problem on its head and went with just the one bin. For everything. And with just one final destination: the Earth.

Taking a systems approach rather than a piecemeal one to procurement, catering, cleaning and waste management, we have created a waste-free environment for all concerts at Spark Arena. System design means taking full responsibility for inventory, how it is handled and where it ends up, and it can only be done if the venue is in control and has absolute clarity.

Taking a systems approach … we have created a waste-free environment for all concerts at Spark Arena

Getting it right is called the circular economy, which is an oft-misused phrase. Circular means plant back to plant. Cradle to cradle, not cradle to grave. The system design took into account:

We have to stop kidding ourselves that recycling is good, when it is only very slightly less bad. According to National Geographic, only 9% of plastics globally are actually recycled. The rest ends up in landfill, gets burned or ends up in the ocean. While the figures may be better where you are, the reality is truly appalling. We can’t allow ourselves to be satisfied with a product that calls itself “recyclable”. And don’t even get me started on the disingenuous use of the word “biodegradable”…

Our local compost facility regard us as a trusted supplier, having monitored our compostable waste and found it to be below the contamination threshold they can accept. The resulting compost is top-grade stuff, and in high demand. There is always the chance of contamination, so we do have some landfill bins for rogue items that get into the building, but we have managed to source ice creams and crisps in compostable packets now, too, and we have bulk-bought sweet items and repackage them in-house, so we have barely anything to send to landfill these days.

We even have straws. They are not the devil. They go in the compost.

We rolled out this system following my master’s of design in 2016, and my next step will be to use an action research methodology to test its efficacy in different scenarios and locations as part of my future PhD study into sustainability design for music events.

If you want to be part of the study or would like more details, please email me at jclumpas@sparkarena.co.nz.

 


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NZ’s Spark Arena rolls out zero-waste strategy

Auckland’s Spark Arena has switched to 100% compostable serveware for public events, replacing all single-use cups and hot food packaging with compostable plant-based alternatives.

The switch, which forms part of the 12,000-capacity venue’s new ‘zero-waste strategy’, will see all compostable waste, which now includes cups, lids, straws, cutlery, napkins, food containers and food waste, delivered directly to local composting plant Envirofert, where it will be turned into compost.

Spark Arena hosts more than 500,000 eventgoers, using over a million disposable cups, annually, and arena design strategist Judith Clumpas explains that when the lights go up at the end of the show, the mixture of rubbish left over has proved “almost impossible” to sort through.

This cross-contamination of recyclable material, combined with the ongoing recycling crisis in New Zealand, means it “made absolute sense to make a change,” says Clumpas. “If you could see the volume of mess that is left after a concert, you would be truly horrified to realise just how much ends up in landfill.”

“It’s a great start, and I’m looking forward to seeing a positive shift across the events industry in the years ahead”

“Designing a robust new system for waste management at Spark Arena has included sourcing ethical products from reputable local suppliers Innocent Packaging and Ecoware, creating bespoke bins with Method to promote behavioural change and working closely with environmentally focused companies Green Gorilla and Envirofert to ensure products are disposed of in the right way,” she continues.

The only exceptions are snack packets and lolly and ice-cream wrappers, which are not yet compostable, although arena bosses hope they will be by stage two of the zero-waste programme.

“People come to Spark Arena for a good time, and I see it as our responsibility not only to deliver a great experience, but to go further by doing the right thing as a good host”, says Brendan Hines, the arena’s GM.

“It’s a great start, and I’m looking forward to seeing a positive shift across the events industry in the years ahead,” he continues. “I see more changes ahead, but we are taking it one step at a time, and trying to get it right.”

Spark Arena, known as Vector Arena prior to the start of last year, has been operated by Live Nation since August 2015.

 


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Live Nation launches new Oz fest Sydney City Limits

Live Nation has announced the launch of Sydney City Limits Music Festival, a new one-day event taking place in Australia’s most populous city next February.

Headlined by Justice, Beck, Vance Joy and Phoenix, the festival will take over Sydney’s Centennial Park on 24 February and also feature performances by Grace Jones, the Libertines, Tash Sultana, the Avalanches, Gang of Youths, Alex Lahey and Dune Rats. It is promoted by Splendour/Falls Festival promoter Secret Sounds, which Live Nation acquired last December, in partnership with C3 Presents and LN itself.

Returning for a second year, meanwhile, is Auckland City Limits Music Festival, which debuted in New Zealand’s biggest city last March.

“One of the easiest, smoothest, most well-run music festivals Auckland has ever had”

Beck, Justice, Phoenix, Grace Jones, Tash Sultana, the Libertines and the Avalanches will also play Auckland City Limits 2018 (3 March), with George Ezra and Peking Duk among the acts exclusive to Auckland and Vance Joy exclusive to Sydney.

Auckland City Limits is organised by Auckland promoter CRS Presents, also in partnership with C3 Presents and Live Nation. The inaugural event was a critical success, with a review by The New Zealand Herald reading: “Hats off to the organisers of the inaugural Auckland City Limits. It was one of the easiest, smoothest, most well-run music festivals Auckland has ever had.”

Both events are inspired by C3’s Austin City Limits festival in Austin, Texas. Tickets forfestivals go on sale on 1 November, from www.sydneycitylimits.com and www.aucklandcitylimits.com, respectively.

 


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Eden Park seeking new CEO as Ngata departs for Dubai

Guy Ngata, chief executive of New Zealand’s largest stadium, Eden Park (50,000-cap.), is to step down in November to become GM of the new Dubai Arena.

It marks a return to AEG Ogden for New Zealander Ngata (pictured), who joined Eden Park from AEG’s Allphones Arena (now Qudos Bank Arena) in Sydney in September 2015.

Brisbane-based AEG Ogden, which manages venues in the Asia-Pacific region, was appointed operator of the 20,000-capacity Dubai Arena last November. AEG says the new arena will become “go-to” venue for concerts, sports and other live entertainment in the Middle East when it opens next year.

“Guy has been an outstanding chief executive”

“Guy leaves on a high, hard on the heels of the hugely successful DHL New Zealand Lions Series, which highlighted the truly unique live sport experience that only Eden Park can offer,” says Doug McKay, chairman of Eden Park Trust, which manages the stadium.

“Eden Park has benefitted from Guy’s international venue management experience. He has been an outstanding chief executive.”

Eden Park is seeking a new CEO, and will “commence a global search for someone to take the helm and guide the stadium into the future”, adds McKay.

 


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