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TEG MJR introduces new hip-hop festival for Oz/NZ

A new touring hip-hop festival spearheaded by TEG MJR is coming to Australia and New Zealand this year.

Light It Up will hit arenas in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland in early September.

American rapper Wiz Khalifa tops the lineup for the event, delivering his first headline shows in Australia since 2015.

Rae Sremmurd, Lola Brooke, Hooligan Hefs, Youngn Lipz and DJ BeastMode are also set to join the six-city tour.

The festival is co-produced with Switch Events, the team behind Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube’s recent sold-out Australian tours

The TEG MJR festival is produced in collaboration with Switch Events, the team behind Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube’s recent sold-out Australian tours.

In other Australian festival news, Falls Festival announced earlier this month that it would not be returning for the 2023/24 season.

This will mark the first time in 28 years – outside of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021 – that the travelling festival will not usher in the new year.

See dates for Light It Up below.
September 02 – Qudos Bank Arena – Sydney, Australia
September 03 – Entertainment Centre – Brisbane, Australia
September 05 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre – Adelaide, Australia
September 06 – RAC Arena – Perth, Australia
September 08 – Rod Laver Arena – Melbourne, Australia
September 10 – Spark Arena – Auckland, New Zealand

 


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Australia’s Falls Festival to forego 2023 edition

Australia’s long-running Falls Festival will not take place this year in order to “allow space to reimagine how the festival will look in the future”.

The travelling festival last took place across New Year’s Eve 2022 with artists including Arctic Monkeys, CHVRCHES, The Wiggles, PinkPantheress, Amyl & The Sniffers and Spacey Jane.

The Victorian leg of the event last year was due to move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, local farmers raised concerns over the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms and launched an appeal against the decision, which wasn’t heard until February/March. Therefore, organisers Secret Sounds were forced to move the event to Sidney Myer Music Bowl in downtown Melbourne.

“We look forward to updating you with our plans when the time is right”

Falls has faced other challenges in the last couple of years, including two postponed festivals due to Covid-19 lockdowns and a 2019 event in Lorne cancelled due to insurmountable bushfire risk.

“The past few years has seen unprecedented change in the live music space, both front of house and behind the scenes,” Secret Sounds co-CEO and Falls producer Jessica Ducrou said in a statement. “While Falls’ reboot in 2022/23 was full of amazing moments and we were thrilled to reconnect with our Falls Fam, our team needs a break, so this year we’ll take time off to enjoy the holiday period and allow some space to re-imagine how Falls will look in the future.”

Ducrou added: “We send huge love and appreciation to all our patrons for their ongoing support and for the great vibes they brought to the 2022/23 events. You really are the heart and soul of Falls and we look forward to updating you with our plans when the time is right. We also want to send our love and thanks to our extended Falls team including staff, contractors, volunteers, sponsors, partners, suppliers, stakeholders and key agencies that we work with each year, for their enduring passion, dedication and support.”

Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds has been organising Falls Festival for 28 years, alongside other events including Splendour in the Grass, Harvest Rock, Spin Off​, ​Spilt Milk​ and ​Heaps Good​.

 


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Australian fests rebound to pre-pandemic levels

Australia’s summer festivals have defied expectations by reporting attendance figures on a par with pre-Covid levels.

Despite many promoters expressing fears that the economic climate – as well as the ongoing effects of flooding in several states – would result in softer ticket sales, major events such as Laneway, Falls, Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) and Woodford Folk pulled in bumper crowds.

According to The Music Network, Laneway’s Brisbane (4 February) and Sydney (5 February) editions attracted a combined 46,000 punters to see acts such as Haim, Phoebe Bridgers, Finneas, Fontaines DC and Fred Again. The travelling festival landed in Adelaide today, with additional legs still to come in Melbourne and Perth this weekend. A 30 January stop in Auckland, New Zealand was cancelled due to “biblical” flooding.

“It was awesome to see new festival goers attending for the first time ever and our regular fans returning to support us and the incredible 2023 line-up,” say Laneway co-founders Danny Rogers and Jerome Borazio.

Secret Sounds’ first Falls Festival in three years drew around 20,000 people to each of its Melbourne, Byron Bay and Fremantle editions with a line-up headed by Arctic Monkeys and Lil Nas X, while TCMF averaged 30,000 fans a day over 10 days.

“Huge thanks to our Falls community for their ongoing support and love for the festival”

“Huge thanks to our Falls community for their ongoing support and love for the festival, as well as to everyone that has helped make the return of Falls 2022/2023 such a success,” say festival producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco.

Elsewhere, Woodford Folk Festival enticed an estimated 120,000 festival-goers over six days (20,000 a day), Sydney’s Field Day recorded a 27,000 sellout at The Domain, and Victoria’s Meredith Music aggregated 37,500 over three days (12,500 a day).

In less positive news, Queensland’s Jungle Love Festival has cancelled its 2023 edition, which was scheduled for September, citing financial concerns.

“The ongoing inflation is driving supplier costs up to amounts that aren’t financially feasible for us,” says a social media post by organisers. “And with the cost of living going up, we understand many people are struggling to justify the expense of a multi-day festival. We’re just not seeing the ticket sales we need to be assured that we can pay for the expense of creating a mini-city for three days.

“Having had many setbacks since 2020 that could have defeated us, we’ve decided to lay low until better economic times rather than try to fight this uphill battle. We’ll be back when we have the confidence that we can make it a success and make the balance sheet work. As a small independent not-for-profit event, our margins are thin, and we can not afford the risk of operating at another loss.”

 


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Falls Festival organisers halt site move plan

Plans to find a new home in Victoria for Australia’s long-running Falls Festival have fallen through after organisers withdrew from the planning process.

Promoter Secret Sounds had previously announced the travelling festival would move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, local farmers raised concerns over the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms and launched an appeal against the decision, which was due to be heard in February and March. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that organisers have now decided to withdraw from the process.

“A small group of objectors opposed the planning permit approval for Falls Birregurra in Murroon, and applied to VCAT [Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal]  to put a halt to it,” says Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou. “Unfortunately, following initial compulsory mediation, the parties could not achieve a resolution.

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process”

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process. It has taken two years of consultation and planning permit approval processes to get to this point and despite support from the local community and Colac Otway Council, the process has been stalled by the objectors through VCAT.”

Dicrou adds that organisers will re-assess the VCAT approval process next year.

The travelling festival is relocating from regional Victoria for the first time in its 30-year history and is set for Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne from 29-31 December with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X and Chvrches.

Additional legs will also go ahead in Byron Bay (31 December 2022 to 2 January 2023) and Freemantle (7-8 January 2023).

 


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Australia’s Falls Festival forced to relocate

Australia’s Falls Festival is set to relocate from regional Victoria for the first time in its 30-year history.

The event, promoted by Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds, will now take place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X and CHVRCHES performing across two stages.

Secret Sounds had previously announced the event would move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, despite strong community support, an application was made to the Victorian civil and administrative tribunal by a group of locals appealing the decision.

A hearing date for the appeal had been set for February and March – after the event was scheduled to take place on 29–31 December – which prompted the relocation to Melbourne.

“Thanks so much for all the support from stakeholders, artists and all who contribute to Falls, we’re thrilled that the show will go on at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, ringing in the new year in downtown Melbourne,” the festival’s co-producer Jessica Ducrou said.

A hearing date for the appeal had been set for February and March – after the event was scheduled to take place

Among those opposed to the event being held at Birregurra are Colac farmers concerned about the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms.

Some told local media that noise and light from the show could potentially harm their livestock.

“We’ve heard all about the businesses that are going to benefit from this. But my business is farming,” the Gerangamete farmer Chris Roberts told the Surf Coast Times. “What are we going to get out of this festival going forward? I don’t know.”

The Colac Otway mayor, Kate Hanson, said the appeal application was a blow for the area.

“Council is disappointed for community groups and business owners who were looking forward to an increase in spending in the region this year,” Hanson said. “However, we’re pleased that Secret Sounds is still keen to continue to consider our shire for future Falls festival events.”

Ticket holders who are unable to attend the new venue in Melbourne can apply for a refund.

 


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Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds unveils new event

Secret Sounds, the promoter behind Australian festivals Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival, has revealed details about its new Adelaide-based event, Summer Sounds.

The Live Nation-owned company has teamed up with Adelaide-based promoters Five Four Entertainment and Groove to deliver a concert series featuring more than 20 shows which kicks off in the late December summer season.

Timmy Trumpet, Lime Cordiale, Hot Dub Time Machine, The Jungle Giants, The Veronicas, Ocean Alley, Human Nature, Bernard Fanning, Mallrat, Spiderbait, Hayden James, Ball Park Music, Dune Rats will perform at Bonython Park/Tulya Wodli between 30 December and 30 January.

Each concert will feature party pods, which have been described as ‘an island oasis for a group of 4 or 6 people’ that is ‘decked out with its own esky of pre-ordered drinks and tasty snacks’. The event has been approved by South Australia health officials.

Each concert will feature party pods, which have been described as ‘an island oasis for a group of 4 or 6 people’

The announcement follows the news that Secret Sounds recently received AU$1.5 million from the federal government’s RISE fund to develop a new festival in 2021 ‘that would keep audiences connected while also reaching new audiences across Australia and overseas’.

Live Nation bought a majority stake in the New South Wales-based company in 2016, acquiring a 51% stake in Splendour in the Grass and Falls, as well as its touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and agency divisions.

The 2020 Splendour festival was called off in June and will instead now go ahead next year with headliners, Gorillaz.

Meanwhile, though the December/January Falls Festival events were set to move forward with an all-Australian line-up, they were also called off in August.

 


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Live music hit by Australian bushfires

A Day On the Green festival in Victoria is the latest live music event to fall foul of the bushfires raging through Australia.

Australian rock bands Cold Chisel, Birds of Tokyo and Magic Dirt were scheduled to perform today (7 January) at A Day On the Green at the All Saints Estate in Rutherglen, in the south east of Australia.

Michael Newton, co-director of A Day On the Green organiser Roundhouse Entertainment, says the promoter is “extremely disappointed” to cancel the event.

“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality on the site and in surrounding areas now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show,” comments Newton.

The cancellation A Day On the Green, which has hosted the likes of Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Morrison and Florence and the Machine since launching in 2001, follows that of the Lorne leg of Falls Festival in December. The festival was set to feature artists including Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Lewis Capaldi, Peking Duk, John Farnham and Disclosure.

“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show”

Multiple benefit concerts have cropped up in the wake of festival cancellations in order to raise money for bushfire relief.

Yesterday, Australian promoter TEG announced Fire Fight Australia, which will take place at Sydney’s 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium on 16 February.

Singer Tones and I today revealed she will play a charity show at Melbourne’s 1,050-capacity 170 Russell on Tuesday 28 January, supported by Adrian Eagle. All proceeds from the event will be donated to rural fire services and the Australian Red Cross.

Tones and I also appeared at a benefit concert hosted by electronic duo Peking Duk in December, which raised AUD $50,000 (US$34,365) for firefighters tackling the blazes.

US singer Halsey and British rapper Yungblud are among other artists to have hosted impromptu charity shows in Melbourne in place of their Fall Festival appearances.

A Day On the Green ticketholders will receive a full refund via Ticketmaster in due course.

 


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Parklands bids to retain Falls and Splendour

North Byron Parklands – the 650-acre greenfield site which has since 2013 been home to one of Australia’s leading music festivals, Secret Sounds’ Splendour in the Grass – is hoping to be granted permission for a permanent 50,000-cap. festival venue, despite opposition from some councillors and local residents.

Parklands, which is also home to the Byron Bay leg of Falls Festival, submitted its A$42 million (US$33.4m) proposal before Christmas, which, if approved, would allow the site to host Splendour and Falls permanently, along with limited one-day concerts and smaller cultural and community events for up to 20 further days.

The application follows the end of a five-year trial period, which started in 2012, that required a series of trial events to be monitored and reviewed to test the site’s suitability.

“We feel we have done an outstanding job in managing our environmental impact, which has been reflected through a range of improvements covering traffic, noise and community amenity during the trial,” comments Parklands general manager Mat Morris. “We now hope to be able to operate on a permanent basis so that we can invest in improvements to the site which will further enhance this world-class cultural venue.”

However, the tender process has been criticised by local authorities, which lack jurisdiction over the site, as anti-democratic, with responsibility for approving the proposal falling to New South Wales (NSW)’s Department of Planning and Environment.

“Hundreds of jobs and more than $100 million in economic benefits would leave the region”

“Because the NSW government is currently the consent authority for events held on the North Byron Parklands site, Byron Shire Council has limited input to what occurs aside from compliance issues, including traffic management and noise to minimise disruption to residents,” a Byron Shire Council spokeswoman tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper also quotes Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson as saying he “strenuously oppose[s] the circumvention of local government decision-making”.

Local resident Denise Nessel adds that the festivals further stress the infrastructure of an area “already overrun by tourists”. “Many of us who live near the site are not pleased with the ever-larger numbers of festival goers who use our roads, camp on our streets and beaches and swarm into nearby towns in great numbers, and we are not looking forward to twice as many festival days, as are proposed, and still more in future,” she says.

If the proposal is rejected, Morris suggests Falls and Splendour will be forced to relocate from NSW, north to neighbouring Queensland. “Hundreds of jobs and more than $100 million in economic benefits will leave a region with high youth unemployment and a range of businesses dependant on these events,” he says.

Secret Sounds has since December 2016 been majority owned by Live Nation, with Splendour and Falls becoming its first Australian festivals.

 


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‘No evidence’ of failings in Falls crush, finds Vic govt

WorkSafe Victoria, an agency of the state government of Victoria, Australia, has dropped its investigation into the organisers of Falls Festival, finding there is “insufficient evidence” to pursue a prosecution over the crowd crush last December.

The incident, which left 76 people injured (initially reported as 80), 19 of them seriously, occurred after a performance by DMA’s on Friday 30 December when large crowds attempted to exit the Grand Theatre in Lorne through a small exit, recently narrowed further by the construction of a new bar.

In an interview with The Guardian in January, victim Tim Hunt described the stampede as being “like a riptide”, speaking of his horror at people’s screams and “bones snapping from [the] pressure”. Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou said the festival was “completely devastated” by the incident and promised to launched its own investigation into the causes.

In addition to a private class-action lawsuit on behalf of injured festivalgoers, organiser Ash Sounds – a division of promoter Secret Sounds – faced an inquiry by WorkSafe Victoria, which was investigating possible offences under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

“All the conditions … such as crowd control, crowd size, and positioning and size of exits, had been met

Announcing the results of the investigation yesterday, WorkSafe says it has determined there is “insufficient evidence” to pursue a prosecution, finding that “all the conditions imposed by various bodies in relation to the event, such as crowd control, crowd size, and positioning and size of exits, had been met” by Ash Sounds.

WorkSafe visited the festival site shortly after the incident and requested changes to its lay-out to prevent future crowd surges, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

“As a result, WorkSafe found there was insufficient evidence to establish any offence under the 2004 OHS Act and no further action will be taken,” concludes WorkSafe’s statement.

The class-action suit, meanwhile, which seeks unspecified damages from Secret Sounds, is still ongoing.

Live Nation acquired a 51% stake in Secret Sounds last December.

 


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Crush victims sue Falls Festival promoter

Sixty-five people involved in a crush at December’s Falls Festival in Lorne, Australia, are suing promoters for alleged negligence.

The incident, which left more than 80 people injured, occurred after a performance by DMA’s on Friday 30 December when large crowds attempted to exit the Grand Theatre venue through a small exit, recently narrowed further by the construction of a new bar.

In an interview with The Guardian in January, victim Tim Hunt described the stampede as being “like a riptide”, speaking of his horror at people’s screams and “bones snapping from [the] pressure”. Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou said the festival was “completely devastated” by the incident and promised to launched its own investigation into the causes.

“The allegation is that if proper care and attention had been taken to configuring the area where the acts were taking place … this stampede would not have occurred”

Now, as the Herald Sun reports, law firm Maddens is seeking compensation from promoter Secret Sounds – potentially in the millions of dollars – on behalf of a group of festivalgoers caught in the crush.

“The allegation is that if proper care and attention had been taken to configuring the area where the acts were taking place, and the scheduling of the successive acts, this stampede would not have occurred, that this was entirely avoidable,” Maddens lawyer Brendan Pendergast told Triple J radio. “That’s the basis of this action: predominantly in negligence of the organisers.”

The case mirrors an ongoing lawsuit by victims against Lopavent, the promoter of the tragic Love Parade 2010 – although the crush at that festival led to 21 deaths.

Live Nation acquired a 51% stake in Secret Sounds last December.

 


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