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Australia set to gain two major rock festivals

Australia is set to gain two new rock festivals in 2021 and 2022.

Leading Australian promoter Destroy All Lines is bringing a two-day alternative music festival to Victoria this winter.

Knight & Day will take place at Kryal Castle (Australia’s only medieval adventure park) in Ballarat between 30 and 31 December 2021.

According to the festival, attendees will be able to enjoy “a mesmerising maze, medieval performances, dungeons, torture museums, knights towers, secret dragons and a labyrinth,” alongside full-band and acoustic performances, as well as DJ sets.

Parkway Drive, Polaris and Alex Lahey are set to headline the event.

Early Bird pre-sale tickets are available on Tuesday 21 September at 10:00 AEST. Camping is not available. Find out more information here.

“The time was right to introduce a new summer festival, one which will appeal to a wide cross-section of rock fans”

Australian rock fans can also look forward to the inaugural edition of Uncaged, produced by Silverback Touring.

The East Coast touring festival will feature “a diversely curated blend of hard rock, punk [and] metal” acts, exclusively from Australia and New Zealand.

The three-city run will kick off in Brisbane showgrounds on Saturday 22 January 2022 before stopping off at Melbourne’s Coburg Velodrome (Saturday 29 January) and Sydney’s Olympic Park (Saturday 12 February).

Danny Bazzi, head of Silverback Touring, said in a statement today (15 September): “The time was right to introduce a new summer festival, one which will appeal to a wide cross-section of rock fans.”

The first line-up announcement for Uncaged will be made next Wednesday 22 September. Tickets are yet to go on sale. More information can be found here.

 


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Suncorp Stadium sets record attendance

Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane has set a record for the highest attendance since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.

The 52,500-capacity stadium welcomed 49,155 fans to last night’s State of Origin rugby finale between Queensland and New South Wales, eclipsing the 46,000 figure for last month’s Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between New Zealand and Australia at Auckland’s Eden Park.

The open-air stadium was permitted to operate at full capacity after Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk lifted the 75% capacity restriction the day before (17 November).

Palaszczuk also announced that seated and ticketed indoor events like concerts are permitted to increase patron numbers from 50% to 100% and outdoor events can host up to 1,500 people. Social distancing has increased to one person per two square metres.

Suncorp Stadium will also host a date of the first stadium tour announced since the outbreak of Covid-19.

“GNR’s 2021 Australia and New Zealand tour is the light at the end of the bleak tunnel we’ve all negotiated this year”

Guns N’ Roses (GNR) will embark on a stadium tour of Australia and New Zealand in November 2021, stopping off at the Brisbane stadium as well as ANZ Stadium (cap. 83,500) in Syndey, Optus Stadium (60,000) in Perth and more.

Paul Dainty, president and CEO of TEG Dainty, which is promoting the tour says: “As the first stadium tour announcement since the advent of Covid-19 and border closures pressed pause on touring, it’s fair to say our appetite for live music performances by international megastars has peaked and in GNR we trust!

“GNR’s 2021 Australia and New Zealand tour is the light at the end of the bleak tunnel we’ve all negotiated this year. All aboard the Nightrain to Paradise City for what promises to be a heaving celebration of the unbreakable human spirit!”

Australia is also set to host its first arena shows since the shutdown of the concert business in March, organised by TEG, Live Nation and the government of New South Wales (NSW).

The Greatest Southern Nights shows will play to more than 12,000 fans at Qudos Bank Arena (21,000-cap.) over two nights in a seated, ‘Covid-safe’ setting on 28 November and 5 December.

 


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Hotel-based music festival to debut in Australia

Australian company XR Events is launching Remix Hotel, a music festival which will see exclusive DJ sets broadcast live in suites and spaces at Brisbane hotel Ovolo The Valley.

The Covid-safe festival will take place between 9 and 11 October, featuring livestreams from local and international artists including Groove Armada, Marshall Jefferson and Jason Bye.

“Remix Hotel has been a vision ever since our first lockdown back in March,” said organiser Michael Watt.

“We’re so proud to be able to have some of the biggest names in clubland contributing to our event. Remix Hotel is a new concept that works within Covid-19 guidelines, it’s an entire weekend lifestyle experience like nothing that’s ever been done before.”

“It’s an entire weekend lifestyle experience like nothing that’s ever been done before”

“We’ve always been a place of wonder, where you can expect the unexpected,“ added Ovolo Group’s group marketing director Stephen Howard.

“Working with XR Events to create this innovative, industry-leading experience shows Ovolo’s love of music and art with complete assurance that our guests are in safe, thoroughly washed hands through our OC/DC initiative (Obsessive Commitment to Deep Cleaning) and Covid-safe planning.”

Each room booked will include two tickets for the event, however, during sets, six people will be allowed in each room under the event’s Covid-19 Safety Plan.

The event can also be experienced from VIP seating areas across four curated entertainment spaces in the hotel. Safety supervisors will be on hand monitoring social distancing.

A number of hotel-based festivals and concert series have popped up around the world since the pandemic began, in countries including Canada, Spain, Sweden.

 


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Australian live community rallies for wildfire relief

The live music community is showing its support for those affected by the Australian bushfires, as a multitude of benefit concerts crop up around the country and major artists pledge money to bushfire relief.

According to Australia’s Rural Fire Service, more than 8 million hectares of land has been burned since the bushfires began in September, with over half of the damage occurring in New South Wales alone.

A number of high-profile artists, as well as members of the wider entertainment world, have donated money to fire services in the country, including a US$1 million pledge by Elton John, A$750,000 (US$514,534) from Metallica, US$500,000 from Pink, A$500,000 (US$342,568) from Kylie Minogue and US$100,000 from Australian DJ Flume.

Many artists are also taking to the stage in order to do their bit for bushfire relief, as a growing number of benefit concerts pop up across Australia. Here, IQ provides a round up some of the biggest charity events…

 


Sound Relief

When: TBA
Where: TBA

First staged in 2009 in aid of the Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods, the Sound Relief benefit is returning to Melbourne and Sydney this year in response to the current wildfire crisis.

“In response to the devastating bushfires currently sweeping across the country, the Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020,” reads a post on the Sound Relief Facebook page.

A collaborative music industry effort, a number of promoters including Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, IMC Music HQ and Secret Sounds will be involved in organising the event.

Artists including Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon performed at the 2009 event. Details about the line-up, locations and date of this year’s benefit will be released in due course.

“The Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020”

Fire Fight Australia

When: Sunday 16 February
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW

As previously reported in IQ, Australasian powerhouse promoters TEG Dainty and TEG Live are hosting a charity concert at the 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium. The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”.

The line-up has yet to be announced for the event, although speculation – to be taken, as ever, with a pinch of salt – are circulating as to whether Queen and Adam Lambert will top the bill, given they are playing a TEG-promoted show at the stadium the day before.

More information about the event will become available here in the coming weeks.

The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”

Out of Bounds

When: Saturday 18 January
Where: Campbelltown Athletics Centre, Sydney, NSW

Leading Australian promoter Frontier Touring, together with fellow Mushroom Group company I Oh You, is offering discounted Fire Relief tickets to the inaugural Out of Bounds festival.

The event, which will take place across two stages at the 8,000-capacity athletics centre, will feature performances from Australian hip-hop artist Illy, local alternative-rock band the Rubens and Brisbane singer and rapper Mallrat.

In response to the bushfire crisis, festival organisers introduced a special ticket offer, with AUD$10 ($7) of a new $69 ($47) ticket going directly to the Red Cross Bushfire Emergency Appeal.

Fire Relief tickets for the festival are available here.

“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones and the communities across Australia suffering”

Down to Earth

When: Wednesday 26 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Victoria

Promoted by Handsome Tours in conjunction with Mirror Music Group, Lemon Tree Music, Arts Centre Melbourne and OneMusic Australia, Down to Earth is raising funds for the Australian Red Cross and the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Emergency Service (Wires), as well as other organisations focusing on long term solutions to the bushfire emergency.

Australian acts Angus and Julia Stone, Briggs, Gangs of Youths, Jack River, Ruby Fields and Tash Sultana will perform at the event, which will be held at the 10,000-capacity Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

“Collectively, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, the firies who have put their lives on the line and continue to, and the communities across Australia suffering,” reads a collective statement from artists.

“We hope to give you the greatest thing we can in this time of great need – our voices and our songs.”

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Thursday 10 a.m. (AEDT) January local time, available here.

“We hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their [the charities’] critical work”

Raise ‘Em Up

When: Saturday 25 January
Where: The Tivoli, Brisbane, Queensland

The Tivoli, a 1,600-capacity music venue and theatre in Brisbane, will host artists including Megan Washington, Matt Corby and the Kit String Triangle in an effort to raise AUD$100,000 ($68,568) for bushfire relief.

Dave Sleswick, co-owner and creative director of the venue says all ticket, bar and merchandise profits from the evening will be shared between the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Wires.

“Both Wires and the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal are hugely worthy causes and we hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their critical work,” comments Sleswick.

Tickets go on sale on 9 January at 9 a.m. (AEST), available here.

“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires”

Fire Aid

When: Friday 31 January
Where: Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, Western Australia

Artists from Western Australia are banding together in solidarity with the worse-affected eastern part of the country. John Butler Trio, the Waifs, San Cisco and Stella Donnelly are performing at the 400-capacity Freemantle Arts Centre in Perth to raise money for the NSW Rural Fire Service, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Wires.

“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires,” comments John Butler. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all those that have fallen victim to this national disaster and hopefully gigs like this can make even smallest of meaningful difference.”

Tickets go on sale on Thursday 9 January at 9 a.m. (AWST). Tickets cost AUD$96.90 ($67), with a live recording of the event available for AUD$20 ($14).

“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit”

FireAid2020

When: Friday 24 January
Where: Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse, Bowral, NSW

John Waters, Daryl Braithwaite, Leo Sayer and Megan Washington are among artists performing at a similarly named event in New South Wales, which will be hosted by Australian television presenter and actress Julia Zemiro.

“All of us want to do something; but I realised I had the power of public recognition and that I had a lot of friends in the music and entertainment industry with a lot more of that power than me, and the idea of FireAid2020 ‘The Concert’ was born,” says Waters in a statement.

“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit; about unconditional love for each other; about fire-in-the-belly action. Rock On Australia!”

Tickets for FireAid2020 are available here for AUD$65 ($45).

“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness”

Tones and I Bushfire Benefit Concert

When: Tuesday 28 January
Where: 170 Russell, Melbourne, Victoria

As reported by IQ yesterday, Australian singer Tones and I will be performing a charity concert at the 1,050-capacity 170 Russell in Melbourne, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross, Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Tones and I, real name Toni Watson, will be supported by Adelaide singer Adrian Eagle, with more acts yet to be announced.

“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness,” the singer, who calls recent events in the country “apocalyptic”, writes in an Instagram post. “We are in this together.”

Tickets for the concert, which went on sale yesterday, have now sold out. Fans can make a charity donation here.

Photo: J.E.T. 603/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 


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Mark Gibbons joins Brisbane’s Fortitude as head booker

The Fortitude Music Hall is Brisbane’s newest and biggest entertainment precinct, set to open its doors later this year. The latest addition to the Fortitude team is Sydney-based booker Mark Gibbons, who joins as head of bookings. Gibbons will also oversee bookings at well-established Brisbane venue, the Triffid (800-cap.).

The Live Nation-backed, 3,300-capacity Fortitude Music Hall is the fruit of a project by former Powderfinger bassist John ‘JC’ Collins and co-founder of Australian promoter Secret Sounds, Paul Piticco. The team hopes the venue will attract top-quality acts to Australia’s third city, with the help of Gibbons as head booker.

Gibbons adds to the team’s already experienced line-up. The booker joins from Century Venues in Sydney where he gained six years’ experience booking some of the most iconic venues in the New South Wales capital (Enmore, Metro, Factory Theatre).

“I’m excited about working with Mark, his energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team”

“With the rapid growth and changes that Brisbane is undergoing, there’s a clear need in the city for a 3,000-plus-capacity venue,” says Gibbons. “As soon as JC shared his vision with me I was excited to be part of it.”

Collins, who is the director of smaller Brisbane venue the Triffid, echoes the sentiment. “I’m excited about working with Mark, his expertise in booking multiple venues will be a massive asset for both the Triffid and the Fortitude Music Hall.”

“His energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team.”

The Fortitude Music Hall will showcase state-of-the-art production, while paying homage to the iconic Brisbane venue Festival Hall, which occupied the same space in Fortitude Valley from 1959 to 2003.

 


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Frontier resurrects touring festival success with RNB Fridays Live

The days of touring festivals dominating the Australian outdoor season may be confined to history but Frontier Touring is enjoying phenomenal success with its RNB Fridays Live series.

The concept just wrapped up its third annual instalment in Australia and the company reports that the 2018 edition went to another level – scaling up to stadiums, selling out nationally and moving 200,000 tickets, making it one of the biggest touring festival brands in the region.

Since its debut in 2016, RNB Fridays Live has become arguably Australia’s most successful concert series. For three consecutive years, Frontier has used the brand to bring some of the biggest names in contemporary RNB to the stage, raising the bar with each line-up.

This year, Frontier gambled by stepping up the production for acts including Usher & Lil Jon, Salt-N-Pepa, Trey Songz, Eve and Taio Cruz

The inaugural events saw Nelly and TLC headline an 11-act show that visited arenas in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, playing to about 68,000 fans in total. Last year, the tour visited the same cities but played seven nights, with back-to-back performances in Sydney and Melbourne, attracting almost 120,000 fans, thanks to appearances by Craig David, NE-YO, Sean Paul, Kelly Rowland, Kelis, En Vogue and others.

But this year, Frontier gambled by stepping up the production for acts including Usher & Lil Jon, Salt-N-Pepa, Trey Songz, Eve, Taio Cruz, Naughty By Nature, Ginuwine, Estelle, Next and others, and sold out Perth’s 20,000-capacity NIB Stadium, Etihad Stadium in Melbourne (45,000-cap), Adelaide Showground (15,000), Brisbane Showgrounds (27,000) and Spotless Stadium in Sydney (40,000), cementing the brand as one of the year’s biggest parties and allowing RNB acts to play to record-sized audiences in the southern hemisphere.

 


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Brisbane’s Fortitude to ‘fill void left by Festival Hall’

A new 3,300-capacity, Art Deco-inspired music venue is taking shape in Australia’s third city, Brisbane.

The Fortitude Music Hall is backed by key Australian music industry players, including John ‘JC’ Collins, former member of Powderfinger and owner of Brisbane venue the Triffid, Paul Piticco, co-founder of promoter Secret Sounds, and Live Nation, since 2016 Secret Sounds’ majority owner.

The new development, located at Brunswick Street Mall in Brisbane’s music mecca, Fortitude Valley, will also include a mixed retail and special events space. It fills the gap left by the famed Festival Hall venue, which closed in 2003, with architect Andrew Gutteridge of Arkhefield paying tribute to it and other historic venues with the Fortitude’s Deco-inspired front façade.

“It’s always been our dream and mission to build a venue that fills the void left by Festival Hall, and we are proud of the vision we’ve created for the Fortitude Music Hall,” says Collins. “The masterplan is well and truly rolling out for a venue and space that will enhance the area and one that the community will enjoy and benefit from for many years to come. We are doing this for Brisbane.”

“It’s always been our dream and mission to build a venue that fills the void left by Festival Hall”

Commenting on the involvement of Live Nation, which is a principal partner on the project, he adds: “Live Nation own and operate some of the best live music venues in Australia and all over the world. From the Palais Theatre in Melbourne to the House of Blues venues across the United States and venues such as the iconic Brixton Academy in London, Live Nation’s experience is unparallelled.

“We felt incredibly inspired by the Philadelphia Fillmore, and not just due to its similar dimensions and size to the building we have here in Brunswick Street, but the way it honours the historic traditions for music halls and local musical heritage, which is our aim too.”

Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia, comments: “The Fortitude Music Hall is set to be an industry leading venue not just in Brisbane, but in Australia. The 3,300-person capacity will fill a gap in the market and will ensure that Brisbane and the [Fortitude] Valley continue to attract the highest calibre of performers, while giving local audiences even more live experiences to enjoy.”

 


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Hefty fine for man who flew drone over Sheeran show

A man has been fined A$1,050 (US$805) for flying a drone over Ed Sheeran’s show in Brisbane on 21 March.

Sheeran’s record-breaking ÷ world tour touched down in Australia on 1 March, visiting Brisbane’s 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium on the 20th and 21st.

According to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which issued the fine for the “hazardous operation of a drone”, the unmanned aircraft was flown at night, in a populous area, within 30 metres of people and beyond line of sight – all prohibited under Australian drone safety regulations.

Queensland police identified the Brisbane-based man flying the drone and provided CASA with evidence of the flight, according to the aviation authority.

Will Robley of Quantum Aviation spoke at ILMC in March about the anti-drone technology used by the company to prevent use of the aircraft at events, against a background of drones now being used to carry weapons or even being used as weapons themselves. “Your event security should consider the threat from above,” he warned.

 


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Australian man arrested over Ed Sheeran ticket fraud

A 33-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fraud after allegedly taking money for non-existent tickets to this week’s Ed Sheeran show in Brisbane.

In a move welcomed by AEG Ogden, operator of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (52,500-cap.), Queensland police has charged the man with two counts of fraud after he was discovered to have allegedly “contacted interested concertgoers on a non-authorised online ticket platform and offered to sell them tickets”. The victims, all women aged between 40 and 55, paid the man via bank transfer but never received the tickets.

“This is another clear example of buyer beware,” says Queensland police’s Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence. “I urge entertainment ticket buyers and all buyers of online products to keep control of their purchase.

“Only use the official authorised sellers and their platforms. Do not move away from those platforms to buy tickets or items, particularly if asked to. It is most likely you are being scammed.”

“This is another clear example of buyer beware”

AEG Ogden’s chief operating officer, Rod Pilbeam, comments: “More than 100,000 tickets have been sold for next week’s concerts. However, if they were not purchased through the authorised agent, Ticketek, there could be cause for concern.”

Pilbeam says ticket touting is a “multi-million dollar industry that has attracted major criminal groups and tempted major companies to participate in the easy profits that flow from this deceit”, adding that “patrons should buy their tickets only from the authorised ticket outlet”, which for Suncorp Stadium is TEG’s Ticketek.

Sheeran’s ÷ world tour has broken records down under, selling more than 1m tickets for 18 dates across Australia and New Zealand. He will play Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 March.

 


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Qld greenlights another new AEG entertainment district

The state government of Queensland, Australia, has approved plans for a A$2bn (US$1.5m) arena-centred entertainment district in the city of Brisbane.

Brisbane Live – a joint venture between the government-backed Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA) and AEG’s Australasian/Asian operation, AEG Ogden – will be centred on a 17,000-capacity arena and also include outdoor amphitheaters, cinemas, restaurants, bars and hotels. The new complex will be built over the Roma Street railway line, in the heart of Brisbane’s central business district.

The development, which will be largely privately funded, mirrors similar AEG developments at The O2 in London, LA Live in Los Angeles, Mercedes Platz in Berlin and the recently announced Nashville Yards in Tennessee.

“We have been working closely with Harvey Lister to make sure we create the best entertainment … precinct in Australia”

The project has won bipartisan political support, with the governing Labor party and opposition Liberal National Party (LNP) both endorsing Brisbane Live, which is tied into the larger Cross River Rail underground railway development. State deputy premier Jackie Trad says she hopes to “create the best entertainment and integrated transport precinct in Australia”.

Harvey Lister, chairman of AEG Ogden, tells local paper the Courier Mail he welcomes public support for the project. “It’s very encouraging that the government appears to have recognised the potential for Brisbane Live to be an activator that could eventually see the whole Roma Street precinct become an exciting part of the state’s capital city,” he comments.

AEG Ogden also operates the 14,500-cap. Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which opened in 1986.

 


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