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TEG stages Australia’s ‘biggest beach party ever’

TEG Live has made history by hosting “the biggest beach party ever staged in Australia”, with a sold-out 30,000-cap hometown show by DJ Fisher.

The Australian promoter, which organised the inaugural Out 2 Lunch Festival on Coolangatta Beach, Gold Coast, says the Queensland-only 4 May event injected more than A$50 million (€31m) into the local economy.

More than 200 local businesses were involved in the planning and delivery of the festival, which created more than 2,000 jobs, while accommodation was sold out across the Gold Coast.

“TEG is delighted with the inaugural Out 2 Lunch Festival, and it was great to see the economic impact that the Festival had on the local community,” says TEG Group CEO Geoff Jones. “This was no easy feat, as the planning and logistics required to deliver the Event were extraordinary, particularly as this was the very first time this many people attended a staged event on Coolangatta Beach.

“We would like to sincerely thank Team Fisher, the City of Gold Coast, the World Surf League, Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce, Coolangatta and Greenmount Surf Life Saving Clubs and the many, many other Partners and Stakeholders who helped TEG bring this epic event to life.”

“Belinda comes to TEG with a proven track record working with global brands across local and international markets”

At Fisher and his wife Chloe’s request, $1 from every ticket sold was donated to the Starlight Foundation. A further $20 donation was required for the Pink Elephants Support Network for those punters attending via guestlist or complimentary tickets. In total, $35,320 was raised for the Starlight Foundation and Pink Elephants Support Network.

In addition, TEG has announced the appointment of Belinda Shaw, who will succeed the long-serving Sandra Rouse as the group’s chief financial officer. Shaw brings more than 25 years of senior experience and was most recently CFO at Boral, Australia’s largest vertically-integrated construction materials company.

“Belinda comes to TEG with a proven track record working with global brands across local and international markets, and her in-depth knowledge and experience will be key to the role as we continue to drive growth,” adds Jones. “I warmly welcome Belinda to TEG and look forward to working alongside her.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Sandra for her enormous contribution over the past 13 years. During that time, Sandra has supported the business through impressive growth, changes in ownership, a pandemic, acquisitions in multiple countries and the list keeps going. I feel privileged to have had Sandra on the team and have the utmost respect for her commitment, leadership, and contributions at TEG.

“Sandra will be moving into a new role in the business where her intimate knowledge of the Operations and landscape will drive a number of important initiatives across strategy, M&A and operations.”

 


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TEG Group names Simon Cahill head of commercial

Australia’s TEG Group has appointed Simon Cahill as head of commercial.

Cahill will be responsible for all of TEG’s commercial activity across the group, working with all the company’s businesses to identify and drive growth opportunities globally. He will operate from TEG’s Sydney office, reporting to TEG’s Group CEO Geoff Jones.

In addition to his new role, Cahill will continue as head of marketing and commercial partnerships for SXSW Sydney.

“Simon has done a tremendous job at SXSW Sydney and his expertise and drive make him a perfect fit for this new role”

“TEG is delighted to welcome Simon Cahill into this vital role as we continue to grow the business and deliver exceptional partnerships through live experiences by connecting brands with consumers and generating ROI,” says Jones.

“Simon has done a tremendous job at SXSW Sydney and his expertise and drive make him a perfect fit for this new role and a great addition to the senior leadership team.”

Cahill adds: “I am excited to further immerse myself across the TEG Group, a powerhouse in the live entertainment game. TEG is currently in an exciting time of growth both locally and globally and I look forward to seizing these opportunities for clients through world-class partnerships. Finally, I would like to thank Geoff Jones for this opportunity and for his ongoing support.”

It was reported earlier this month that TEG’s owner Silver Lake secured a A$1.1 billion (€663.8 million) dividend recapitalisation for the Australian live entertainment giant after attempts to sell the company stalled.

 


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Aussie rules! Australia market report

With a population approaching just 26 million, Australia punches way above its weight in terms of ticket sales for live music tours and events. And bouncing back from the Covid pandemic with a new culturally savvy government, the demand from fans only seems to be increasing. Lars Brandle reports.

Floods, bushfires, Covid-19 – Australia’s live music industry has felt all the forces of nature in recent years, and by most accounts, has made a stellar comeback.

For a population of 25m, Australia’s live industry punches above its weight class, a space where a singer can sell 1m tickets on a single tour (Ed Sheeran’s Divide) and another can play – and fill – 58 arena shows (P!nk’s Funhouse).

It’s not all fun and games. Touring Australia, a country roughly 4,000 km wide – a distance greater than London is from Moscow – the concerts space has its complexities. The soaring cost of travel, haulage, and booking acts; ongoing pressure on inner-city venues from developers; and a shortage of skilled professionals, many of whom left the industry during the pandemic, are just some of the challenges faced by promoters and others in Australia’s live music ecosystem.

But with a new federal government in power, one that’s sympathetic to the music industry, and a bonanza of major tours performing well at the box office, optimism is high.

So business is back, although it’s not what it was.

“Right now is a very exciting time to be an Australian music fan”

For a continent as vast as Australia, some things are surprisingly the same wherever you go. Drive for days and the language, currency, and power-points remain the same. And all across the country, there’s an enormous appetite for live entertainment. Getting a show on the road, however, is never a cinch.

“Right now is a very exciting time to be an Australian music fan,” says Geoff Jones, CEO of live entertainment, data, and tech giant TEG. “Since the end of the pandemic, we’ve seen many artists flock to Australia to play for their Aussie fanbases, which has played a major part in boosting the economy.”

Among them, stadium treks by Guns N’ Roses (TEG Dainty), Ed Sheeran (Frontier Touring), Harry Styles and Red Hot Chili Peppers (Live Nation Australia) – all visiting these parts within the space of three months.

And while cost of living and inflation is a big issue that’s impacting Australians, “consumers have been highly resilient and are still keeping money aside to watch their favourite artists perform to crowds of thousands,” Jones adds.

“We’re still seeing buying patterns lean much closer to the festival or show date, and we expect last-minute purchasing to remain part of the landscape,” notes Zac Leigh, CEO and founder of Tixel.

“I think the per-cap spending in Australia is the highest in the world. It’s just so engrained in the culture to see live music and sport”

In the most recent summer (December 2022-March 2023), “Something like 20% of the tickets listed on Tixel were traded for less than 50% of the face value of the ticket and we believe the oversupply was due to things like illness, Covid isolation periods, inability to travel, and the clutter of rescheduled events,” Leigh explains. Now, less than 5% of tickets trade at that level – signs that the market is returning to a demand-supply equilibrium for tickets.

The backlog of shows after two-and-a-half years of Covid disruption and market and border closures resulted in a “huge summer touring season” across concerts and festivals, explains Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia (LPA), the trade body for the live entertainment industry.

The data isn’t yet in; the most recent figures were captured for LPA’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report 2021 – then Australia’s industry was largely mothballed due to Covid. Richardson says the market has since seen “significant activity,” an “exceptional summer,” and the trade body expects that the “upcoming touring schedule later in 2023 going into 2024 will be massive [in the region].”

For its population, Australia “really punches above its weight when it comes to live performance,” Adam Wilkes of AEG Presents Asia Pacific said during a keynote at Singapore’s All That Matters gathering in September 2022. “I think the per-cap spending in Australia is the highest in the world. It’s just so engrained in the culture to see live music and sport.”

Live Nation president Asia-Pacific, Roger Field, states, “Australasia is going great. This will be our biggest year ever and we’re seeing unprecedented attendances at all levels from club to arenas. We have more artists coming to our shores and we’re having our biggest stadium year.”

“It seems that the years of being unable to tour and operate have enabled a number of arena acts to take the leap into stadiums with huge success”

He observes, “It seems that the years of being unable to tour and operate have enabled a number of arena acts to take the leap into stadiums with huge success. This in turn creates the opportunity for more acts to step up to fill those arena dates – and fans are really getting behind these artists and demanding even more.”

Legendary concert promoter Michael Chugg handled the 40-plus-date domestic swing for Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, through Chugg Entertainment and its partners Frontier Touring and AEG Presents.

It’s the “same old problem with rival promoters paying too much for artists,” he tells IQ, “not enough care going into ticket pricing; lack of personnel, security, food and beverage staff, crew; bullshit flight prices.” Add to the list an ongoing lack of support for homegrown music on commercial radio, a situation which, for several weeks in mid-2023, became acute when no Australian-made singles appeared in the ARIA Top 40.

The challenges are many and varied. Booking an itinerary with a relatively small number of venues and many concurrent tours, “it’s a jigsaw puzzle,” Chugg notes. “I don’t think we are truly back on track as an industry. We need new people and some who left [during the health crisis] to come back.”

Snapshot of a billion-dollar business
There’s truth to the stereotype that Aussies like few things more than a night (or day) out with their best mates for a good time. The numbers stack up. According to LPA’s pre-pandemic ticketing data, live entertainment is a billion-dollar-plus business.

Australia’s live sector is a sophisticated one with trade bodies and lobby reps working alongside its industry captains in each field

Australia’s live sector is a sophisticated one with trade bodies and lobby reps working alongside its industry captains in each field. In addition to the LPA, the Australian Festival Association (AFA) was presented to the media in December 2018, with a commitment to making “festivals safer for patrons and reduce friction between festival promoters and regulatory bodies,” and more. AFA holds a position on the executive committee of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), established during the pandemic to help support the return of live entertainment and sport.

Meanwhile, the Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) was launched during the pandemic, to advocate for thousands of Australian-owned small businesses and sole traders that support Australian music in public performance places.

Festival specialists will gather 30-31 August at Sydney’s Luna Park for the 2023 Australian Festival Industry Conference. And for the first time, SXSW expands outside of its decades-long base in the United States with SXSW Sydney, set for October 15-22, 2023. TEG is event producer, and industry veteran Colin Daniels helms SXSW Sydney as managing director.

Australia’s leading promoters include Live Nation Australia; Frontier Touring, part of the Mushroom Group, which is now led by Matt Gudinski following the March 2021 death of his father, the great music entrepreneur Michael Gudinski; Chugg Entertainment; TEG Dainty, and others.

It’s a constantly evolving and growing space. In 2019, Frontier Touring struck a joint venture with Chugg Entertainment and separately formalised a years-long alliance with AEG Presents, ensuring the company Gudinski built would be the official partner for AEG treks in these parts.

“Our interest in venues of all sizes is partly motivated by having the ability to engage with a variety of artist content”

TEG continues to grow and expand, including a 2020 deal for Van Egmond Group, Garry Van Egmond’s concerts company, which has orchestrated blockbuster tours for Dire Straits, AC/DC, and many others. The following year, in 2021, TEG landed deals that brought the Laneway festival brand and boutique promoter and events company Handsome Tours into its empire, while its ticketing arm, Ticketek, now operates in 11 markets, including the UK.

Frontier Touring remains one of the world’s leading concert promoters, its founder, Michael Gudinski, posthumously recognised by Billboard in April 2021 as its International Power Player. The concerts specialist this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, which the Melbourne-based business will mark with an all-star concert in November.

Live Nation’s domestic arm continues to expand its portfolio of venues and live assets. regional boss Roger Field comments, “Our venue development is a huge priority for us across both Australia and New Zealand – we’ve just celebrated the return of the iconic Festival Hall in Melbourne to a fulltime live music venue after signing a multi-lease and that’s only the beginning. Our interest in venues of all sizes is partly motivated by having the ability to engage with a variety of artist content, even if we’re not promoting it, but also open to new ticket buying markets.”

LN’s suite of venues also includes The Palais Theatre in Melbourne, the Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane, the Hindley Street Music Hall in Adelaide, and Anita’s Theatre, a historic venue in Thirroul, a northern seaside suburb of Wollongong, which in 2022 became the concerts giant’s first entry into regional Australia.

Australia’s concert promoters have, historically, been at loggerheads with each other. The late Gudinski was never short of a word or three for LN or Dainty. However, during the pandemic, the hatchets were buried and once-bitter rivals shared infrastructure on several major events, keeping costs down in the most difficult of times.

On 21 May 2022, when border closures still plagued the touring space, Australia took a left turn

One of the Australian events industry’s many success stories is the rise of Untitled Group. “The challenges posed by the pandemic allowed us to pause, reflect, and focus on the long-term growth of our business,” comments Nicholas Greco – co-founder/managing partner. Greco and his colleagues “took the opportunity to strategise and refine our approach. It was undeniably a difficult time, but it offered us a moment to breathe and strengthen our foundations”.

Untitled organises such events as camping festivals Beyond The Valley and Pitch Music & Arts, both of which, says Greco, have experienced a notable uptake, especially in the post-pandemic era. Independently owned and based in Melbourne, Untitled boasts 65 staff and shifts more than 400,000 tickets each year across its events.

Australia’s outdoor concerts network extends into wineries. A Day On The Green, created by Michael and Anthea Newton from Roundhouse Entertainment, operating as a joint venture with Mushroom Group, in November 2022 celebrated its 500th show with Crowded House’s performance at Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong.

After Covid – a new dawn, new government
On 21 May 2022, when border closures still plagued the touring space, Australia took a left turn.

After the best part of a decade led by the centre-right Liberal political party, a national shift occurred when Anthony Albanese and his Australian Labor Party (ALP), the country’s major centre-left party, swung into power.

“We need serious skills training; we need new venues, big and small; we need a regional circuit”

After a generation, during which time the music industry’s calls for support repeatedly fell on deaf ears with the Liberal leadership, the ALP represented a new dawn for the country’s live music community.

Prime minister Albanese and minister of arts Tony Burke moved swiftly and decisively to reward that belief. In June 2023, the Creative Australia Bill passed through parliament – a document that lays the legal foundation for the national cultural policy presented earlier in January 2023. The bill establishes Music Australia with AU$69.4m in funding which, for the first time in the nation’s history, explains APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston, provides an opportunity “for a whole-of-government, cross-portfolio, strategic and long-term relationship with the breadth of the Australian contemporary music industry.”

Music Australia sits under Creative Australia, formerly the Australia Council for the Arts, or Australia Council, which was due to commence from 1 July and was presented in the government’s 116-page “Revive” document, a years-long roadmap for the music industry, which details new investment totalling $286m over four years.

The government’s initiative and “all that money will make a serious impact,” notes Chugg. “We need serious skills training; we need new venues, big and small; we need a regional circuit. I would like to see more shows in universities and schools, which in the 70s and 80s were amazing breeding grounds.”

The ALP now governs at national level and across every state, with the exception of Tasmania, the last remaining Liberal post. It’s “a government that cares,” he enthuses. “My late mate, MG, would have such a huge smile alongside all the Australian music icons he is hanging out with in heaven.”

Some positive trends have emerged in Australia’s post-Covid touring landscape, including a revival in country music and comedy

What’s hot, what’s not
The elite A-list acts have filled Australian stadiums in the 2022-2023 southern summer. The demand side of the business is “really healthy in terms of artists who have been limited in their ability to travel for several years”, explains Dion Brant, CEO of Frontier Touring. One of those artists is Ed Sheeran. The Englishman’s The Mathematics Tour did over 830,000 tickets and “left excess demand,” explains Brant. Those artists “that care about the audience and produce great shows, combined with pricing that is accessible and strong campaigns, can lead to record-breaking results”.

Some positive trends have emerged in Australia’s post-Covid touring landscape, including a revival in country music and comedy.

Morgan Wallen’s six-date tour for Frontier Touring in March, which included a headline slot at country-focused fest CMC Rocks QLD, was a hit and was reflected when Wallen led both the ARIA singles and albums charts, setting records along the way. Luke Combs returns to Australia and makes his New Zealand debut in August, for a trek promoted by Frontier Touring.

The resurgence of country has been powered by the likes of the late Rob Potts, and later, his son Jeremy, Chugg, and colleague Susan Heymann. As the country business grows, Chugg Music recently teamed up with Select Music and artist manager Dan Biddle of Wheelhouse Agency, to launch a new venture with an eye on growing the country music and Americana genre.

Though no brand has replaced the travelling festival juggernauts that were the Big Day Out and Soundwave, rock continues to roll along. Chris O’Brien is an aficionado of music of the heavier kind and wears multiple hats with Destroy All Lines (general manager of touring), Good Things Festival (promoter), and Knotfest Australia (co-promoter).

The price of putting on a show has escalated “in a way that needs to be properly looked at”

The appetite for rock and metal in Australia “continues to grow at an incredible rate,” O’Brien tells IQ. Between Good Things Festival and Knotfest, every show sold out, shifting just shy of 200,000 tickets. In the past 12 months, Destroy All Lines has sold over 650,000 tickets, he explains, and 2023/24 “is looking like we will get close to 1m tickets with what we have in the pipeline”.

Spiralling costs, less hands at the pump
Promoters and live event organisers are experiencing major skills shortages, particularly in technical, production, and stage management. Even sourcing riggers, drivers, and security is a challenge.

The price of putting on a show has escalated “in a way that needs to be properly looked at”, says Frontier’s Brant. Infrastructure on larger shows, such as stages, flooring, barriers, and chairs, are up by at least 50%. “Freight is through the roof.”

Production and touring costs have skyrocketed by 30-40% compared with pre-Covid levels, experts say.

At the same time, a shaky economy with high inflation and interest rate rises is having an impact on discretionary spending. “It may dampen some events,” notes LPA’s Richardson. “Having said that, we are seeing huge demand [for] shows going on sale for later in the year.”

“Suppliers to the industry need to be careful they are not trying to make up for lost time and squeezing the golden goose too hard”

Those on-sales include a trans-Tasman tour by Foo Fighters, organised by Frontier Touring; while Live Nation is promoting two special Coldplay dates at Perth’s Optus Stadium in November, as well as Blink-182’s arena run next year.
With the explosion in activity for stadium dates comes a heightened sensitivity to the replacement of turf, with rate per square meter said to be amongst the highest in the world.

“The cost to get to and from Australia is the highest it’s ever been,” explains Brant. “Fans want to go to shows and artists want to play to fans, but the suppliers to the industry need to be careful they are not trying to make up for lost time and squeezing the golden goose too hard.”

When the region’s venue operators gathered in May in Melbourne for the 2023 Venues Management Congress, Frontier Touring’s chief marketing and communications officer, Reegan Stark, quipped on stage, “I learned more about grass the last 12 months than I ever thought I needed to know.”

Where concert tours have “done exceptionally well,” notes LPA’s Richardson, “music festivals have had challenges both in terms of weather events disrupting or closing down events and changes in consumer buying behaviour with audiences buying much later than pre-Covid times.”

Peter Noble’s Bluesfest site was flooded ahead of the 2022 event, and, several months later, Splendour In The Grass, also held in Byron Bay, a picturesque beach spot in northern New South Wales, was inundated, leading to the cancelation of day one mainstage performances.

“We’ve all got to realise that this entire industry only works if everyone gets a slice of the cake”

The rotten weather of 2022, the abundance of shows in the early part of this year, and the wobbly state of the economy has put pressure on some festival brands. Noble and his team spent nearly a million dollars on waterproofing at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm in Byron Bay. Attendance dipped from more than 100,000 in 2022, to about 70,000 in 2023, Noble tells IQ.

“We’ve all seen a bit of a drop off in festivals. I hope they all come back,” he says. Fests “have got some challenges”, he continues. “The attendances have been down, the costs are up. We’ve all got to realise that this entire industry only works if everyone gets a slice of the cake. And if you leave crumbs at one end, then you’re starving someone out of business.”

Bluesfest Touring “had a great season”, he notes, pointing to the 20 tours which worked the market, including Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy and the Doobie Brothers, and the launch of Bluefest Melbourne and Perth.

Climate change and the bad weather that comes with it is a blow to consumer confidence in ways that are difficult to predict, promoters say.

The festival and outdoor events industry “faces an existential crisis”, notes Richardson. “Adapting business models is a big topic of discussion right now.”

Another unexpected hurdle to doing business can be seen in the rising costs of renewing insurance for live music venues

Those forces of nature contributed to the travelling Falls Festival cancelling its 2023/24 edition. Led by Live Nation-affiliated concert specialist Secret Sounds, co-founded by Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, Falls announced it would take the time out to “rest, recover, and recalibrate.”

Another unexpected hurdle to doing business can be seen in the rising costs of renewing insurance for live music venues. The public liability premiums for some venues have risen 15-fold, with one venue reporting a hike from $1,500 to $35,000. Rising costs are “the biggest issue in the live space right now,” explains Stephen Wade, chairman of the ALMBC and CEO of leading agency Select Music.

The so-called insurance cliff has been a “massive issue” for the industry and remains unresolved, although it is being addressed positively, he continues. In one potential solution, the trade body has approached several underwriters on behalf of its members, with the proposition to underwrite venues under an appropriate scheme that is both affordable and provides adequate cover.

Despite the challenges, business is roaring
The domestic live scene “is extremely vibrant and alive; on any Saturday night, we’re booking more than 25 shows at different venues across the country,” explains Darren Aboud, the former Universal Music Australia senior executive who recently joined Select Music Agency as chief operating officer. “Music has roared back post-Covid as people have longed for meaningful real experiences.” He adds, “Quality shows from quality artists will continue to sell.”

Those quality acts include homegrown talent. “Business is 100% on the up as far as we are seeing at our agency,” says Select Music’s Wade, “and we have a new wave of acts that we have been developing over the past 18 months who are all realising their potential and selling huge amounts of tickets.”

“We’re booking stuff into stadiums already into 2025”

As business grows, further investment is coming. Brisbane should benefit from at least AU$7bn in state and federal commitments for infrastructure, including the erection of the 18,000-capacity Brisbane Live venue.

Elsewhere, Cedar Mill Group has a raft of developments on the go, including winery circuit venues designed to integrate seamlessly, and a major project at Lake Macquarie. That planned 30,000-capacity venue on the doorstep of the Central Coast and Hunter region north of Sydney, “will be within reach of over a million people”, explains Paul Lambess, managing director at Cedar Mill Group. It represents the “first time an arena-sized venue in Australia will be built and funded by a private individual rather than a multinational corporation or a government body.”

Cedar Mill’s venues plans “are just as robust as the current touring cycle”, he continues. “The development runway is long and the investment substantial.”

Luke Hede, vice president of touring at Live Nation, says the outlook is excellent. “We’re booking stuff into stadiums already into 2025,” he told the audience during the Promoters Panel at the 2023 VMA Congress in May. “Hopefully, it won’t all be concertinaed like it was this year in the first quarter. But there’s certainly a lot of product coming through. 2019 was our biggest year ever with Live Nation. We’ve already surpassed the ticket sales this year for 2019. So, it’s been a phenomenal start. It looks like it’s going to continue.”

 


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TEG announces formation of TEG Europe

Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG has announced the formation of TEG Europe, consolidating the company’s UK-based operations into a single entity.

Based out of London and Bristol, TEG Europe comprises five different divisions: TEG Live Europe, TEG Venues, Propaganda, Ticketek and Ovation.

TEG Live Europe includes the former TEG MJR touring business, which has worked with artists including Snoop Dogg, Sia, Hans Zimmer, 50 Cent, Tom Jones, and Culture Club.

TEG Venues includes 10 owned, operated, co-promoted, and programmed venues throughout the UK, including Tramshed (cap. 1,000) in Cardiff, XOYO (800) in London and The Mill (1,000) in Birmingham.

Propaganda, the UK’s leading indie rock & roll nightclub brand, includes fifteen weekly events across the country, as well as promoted events in the US, Australia, Brazil and Ibiza.

Ticketek, which has 40+ years’ experience ticketing major international events and partnering with some of the world’s best venues, was introduced into the UK in 2020 and already works with some of the country’s premier venues.

“Today’s news represents a crucial milestone in the expansion of TEG and positions us for further growth across Europe”

And Ovation, TEG’s data science and analytics business, provides sports organisations, venues, promoters, content creators, media and tech partners with analytics, data science, research, personalisation, and advanced digital marketing.

TEG already has a significant presence in the UK and Europe, having acquired Bristol-based promoter and venue operator MJR Group in 2019. According to TEG, the company already promotes more than 2,000 shows annually in the country and on the continent.

TEG CEO Geoff Jones says: “Today’s news represents a crucial milestone in the expansion of TEG’s successful integrated live entertainment model into the vibrant UK market and positions us for further growth across Europe.

“By combining these businesses into a single customer-focused operation, we are well positioned to work with new and existing industry partners in the UK and Europe to help grow their businesses while continuing our own growth in the region.”

Concert promotion, ticketing and technology firm TEG operates out of seven countries worldwide with offices in Australia, New Zealand, south-east Asia and the UK.

The group includes TEG Live, TEG Sport, TEG Experiences, TEG Dainty, SXSW Sydney, TEG MJR, TEG Van Egmond, Laneway Festival, TEG Rockefeller, Handsome Tours, Qudos Bank Arena, Ticketek, Softix, TicketCharge, TicketWorld, Ticketek Singapore and Ovation.

 


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SXSW expands to Australia for 2023

US conference and showcase festival South By Southwest (SXSW) is expanding beyond Austin, Texas to debut in Sydney, Australia from 15-22 October 2023.

A celebration of the tech, film and music industries, SXSW Sydney is a collaboration with promoter TEG, the NSW government and tourism agency Destination NSW.

The week-long event will be the official annual Asia Pacific instalment of SXSW, which first took place in March 1987 in Austin, Texas.

“SXSW Sydney will establish a new SXSW touchpoint, enabling the international and cross-sector connections that deliver the most innovative products and content”

“We couldn’t be more excited and honoured to work with TEG and the New South Wales Government via Destination NSW on an event that brings to Australia the professional opportunities and unexpected discoveries that make SXSW unique,” says Roland Swenson, CEO and co-founder of SXSW. “The purpose of SXSW is to help creative people achieve their goals, and Sydney is the ideal city to serve as a home for the cross-collaboration that exists within the many industries we bring together.”

“SXSW is an event without equal internationally that has launched the careers of so many creative professionals,” adds Geoff Jones, TEG group CEO and event producer for SXSW Sydney. “Through showcasing the creator industries of the Asia Pacific to the world, SXSW Sydney will establish a new SXSW touchpoint, enabling the international and cross-sector connections that deliver the most innovative products and content.

“I would like to welcome Colin Daniels as the managing director of SXSW Sydney and thank the NSW Government, Destination NSW, and the team at SXSW for their foresight and support.”

 


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Ticketek integrates mobile tickets with Covid apps

Ticketek has simplified entry for Australian live events by integrating mobile tickets with Covid check-in and vaccination status apps.

In what the TEG-owned firm is hailing as a global first for the live entertainment industry, the digital technology will enable fans to check in to venues directly from their mobile ticket and verify their vaccination status in just a few taps on their phone.

Ticketek has partnered with the Victorian government on the innovative scheme, which will be available to fans at Ticketek venues in the state from this week.

“Ticketek is proud to support the Victorian government in helping Victoria reopen using our Australian-built, world-first technology, which will allow fans to return faster and safer to venues to watch their favourite artists and sporting events,” says Geoff Jones, CEO of Ticketek’s parent company TEG. “We are thrilled to help Victorians enjoy the magic of live sport and entertainment again.”

We have transformed the ticket from just a means to gain access to venues into a rich communication platform

Concert-goers will be able to check in directly from their mobile ticket through a deep-link into the Service Victoria App, then verify their check-in and vaccination status at bag check by switching between the government app and their mobile ticket in a single tap.

Cameron Hoy, MD of Ticketek, adds: “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and our team has consistently led the world in digital ticketing technology. We have transformed the ticket from just a means to gain access to venues into a rich communication platform to promote Covid-safe measures and enable other engagement opportunities for our partners. We are excited to be partnering with the Andrews Labor Government in their efforts to make the return of crowds as safe as possible.”

The digital ticketing check-in solution will be rolled out across Ticketek venues in other Australian states in the coming weeks.

 


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TEG MJR and Snoop Dogg sign exclusive touring deal

TEG MJR, the UK-based promotion division of Asia-Pacific live powerhouse TEG, has secured an exclusive five-year deal with hip-hop heavyweight, Snoop Dogg.

Under the multi-million-dollar deal, TEG MJR will promote all of Snoop Dogg’s tours globally outside of North America, beginning with dates for Snoop’s 2022 world tour.

The European leg of the tour kicks off on 20 February 2022 and includes rescheduled sold-out shows at London’s 02 Arena (cap. 21,000), Dublin’s 3 Arena (cap. 13,000) and Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome Arena (cap. 17,000).

TEG MJR CEO Richard Buck penned the agreement with Snoop’s international agents Julian O’Brien and MPI’s Minneapolis-based partner Nabil Ghebre, who have been working closely together with Bobby D (Aaka Robert Dreislen), who is at the helm of Snoop Dogg’s operations in Los Angeles.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG, says: “Snoop Dogg is a hip hop pioneer and one of its greatest live performers. He has won an astonishing number of awards and nominations and we are thrilled to be able to bring the man and his music live to fans the world over for the next five years.”

“We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership”

Richard Buck, CEO of TEG MJR, says: “Snoop is one of the most respected and prolific hip hop artists on the planet. We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership.”

Bobby D, Snoop Dogg’s manager and co-owner of Uncle Snoop’s Army, says: “We are excited about this five-year international partnership with TEG and to continuously come overseas to connect with our fans around the world.”

Uncle Snoop’s Army is a multi-million-dollar LA-based music and entertainment company representing hip-hop artists.

The first dates on Snoop Dogg’s world tour (including rescheduled dates for the UK, Ireland and Amsterdam) are:

20 Feb 2022 – Telenor Arena, Oslo, NO
21 Feb 2022 – Bella Center Kongreshal, Copenhagen, DK
23 Feb 2022 – Koepi Arena , Oberhausen, DE
24 Feb 2022 – Sportpaleis Arena , Antwerp, NL
25 Feb 2022 – Max Schmeling Halle , Berlin, DE
27 Feb 2022 – Accor Arena, Paris, FR
28 Feb 2022 – Ziggo Dome Arena, Amsterdam NL
02 Mar 2022 – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow UK
03 Mar 2022 – Resorts World Arena, Birmingham UK
05 Mar 2022 – AO Arena, Manchester UK
07 Mar 2022 – First Direct Arena, Leeds UK
08 Mar 2022 – 02 Arena, London UK
09 Mar 2022 – 3 Arena, Dublin IE
11 Mar 2022 – INEC Arena, Kerry IE
12 Mar 2022 – SSE Arena, Belfast UK

 


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Greatest Southern Nights an “incredibly powerful statement”

On 28 November and 5 December, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena will welcome thousands of fans for The Greatest Southern Nights, the first indoor arena shows in Australia since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.

Here, Geoff Jones, CEO of co-promoter TEG, explains how the concerts came together, how fans will be kept safe, how it feels to co-promote shows with rival Live Nation, and why these “circuit-breaker” concerts aren’t about the money…


 

Q: These two concerts will be the first big indoor arena shows in Australia, and there has only been a handful of arena shows globally since Covid-19 struck. What was the genesis of these shows?
GJ: When Covid-19 shut down the live industry globally, we convened the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) in Australia and spent several months working together to devise a set of very helpful guidelines to assist the return of live entertainment in a structured and methodical way. While these guidelines were developed for the entire live industry, increasingly we saw that major live sporting events and codes were getting the lion’s share of focus and support from governments, which is somewhat understandable given they mobilised so quickly to protect seasons in mid-flight or international broadcast rights. It seemed to me that the live music sector was at risk of being left behind and I wanted to do something about it.

So, in late April, I called my colleague, Tim McGregor, the managing director of TEG Live, and asked him to work on a plan to restart concerts based on the developing COVID Safe requirements of Australia’s public health authorities and the safety guidelines created by LEIF in consultation with those authorities. Initially, we explored (and continue to explore) a number of outdoor concert options as there was a lot of commentary and advice that events in these settings were likely to return sooner. But the LEIF experience made it very clear to me that the live music industry really needs its indoor venues to return to full mode capacity as soon as practicable in order to be financially viable.

TEG owns the biggest indoor arena in Australia, Qudos Bank Arena, and Tim and I thought it would be an incredibly powerful statement to somehow deliver some large-scale concerts in that venue before the end of the year. But we wanted to do it in a collegiate way with the industry, so I reached out to Live Nation Asia Pacific president, Roger Field, and invited them to join us in this venture. And so it all began to take shape.

“In the current pandemic context, and with all the work done together with LEIF, a collaboration with Live Nation just made sense”

I understand you all worked together on the Live Entertainment Industry Forum guidelines but did you actually expect to co-promote shows together with Live Nation?
In the current pandemic context and with all the work done together with LEIF, a collaboration just made sense to put the LEIF guidelines into practice and collectively shine a light on live music by working together to produce The Greatest Southern Nights. We’re supporting the artists, the production suppliers and crew, the event staff and many others, including, most importantly, the music fans who have been deprived of arena concerts since March. It’s the sort of industry leadership that we are proud to be a part of.

The New South Wales Government has shown strong support for the live music industry through its Great Southern Nights programme with the Australia Record Industry Association (ARIA). So presumably they were keen on the idea?
The New South Wales government, in particular minister for jobs, investment and tourism Stuart Ayres and Destination New South Wales CEO Steve Cox, and ARIA have shown incredible leadership and support for live music and, indeed, when I presented this concept to them, it was warmly received and we got to work immediately. I really have to applaud all three bodies and hope other governments roll out similar support to get live music moving in their markets.

How do the two “Greatest” Southern Nights arena concerts connect with the 1,000 smaller concerts being run under the “Great” Southern Nights moniker?
The 1,000 gigs for the Great Southern Nights is a superb concept, delivering shows of all shapes and sizes across New South Wales. It will hopefully create a lot of momentum for the industry and joy for fans as they get to see some of their favourite domestic artists in some intimate settings, in a Covid-safe format. So we just thought The Greatest Southern Nights was an excellent complement to the programme, but, of course, upscaled to the biggest capacity indoor arena in the country – Qudos Bank Arena – again with Covid-safe measures in place.

What are the Covid-safe measures that will be in place at The Greatest Southern Nights?
The safety of fans, artists and staff is always our top priority and we will work closely with and comply with the evolving requirements of the public health authorities in respect of the Greatest Southern Nights events. First and foremost, Qudos Bank Arena is a 21,000-capacity venue but will be capped at a fully seated capacity of around 6,200 for these concerts. This will allow for effective implementation of social distancing measures across all parts of the venue, including by way of chequerboard seating in the auditorium. There will also be an extensive cleaning regime and hygiene measures, a fully cashless operation and Ticketek’s fully mobile ticketing platform will assist with efficient ingress and contact tracing if necessary. Again, we will work closely with the public health authorities to implement these and other arrangements deemed necessary at the time to operate on a Covid-safe basis.

“These concerts are not designed to show how live music can recommence on a financially sustainable basis”

You have locked in some great acts for these concerts…
Yes, we had really overwhelming interest from artists wishing to be a part of these historic shows. We’re thrilled that Ocean Alley, Jack River, Ruby Fields and Jack Botts will play at the 28 November show and we have Bernard Fanning, Matt Corby and Merci, Mercy at the 5 December show. We’re so rapt with these two huge consecutive Saturday nights of live music to close out what has been a very, very tough year for our industry and we want them to provide some hope for a much better year in 2021.

Does this mean we will see more shows at Qudos Bank Arena in this reduced-capacity format?
Possibly – but, I can assure you, these concerts do not make a lot of financial sense and that’s not why we are doing it. Firstly, we will be operating with a reduced capacity, which obviously means lower ticket sales. At the same time, we need to use the entire venue, which entails a full deployment of ushers, security and other staff, in addition to all the Covid-safe measures I have mentioned. All of those things cost money. So we have reduced revenue and greater expenses to operate these shows.

Without the generous support from the New South Wales government and without Qudos Bank Arena being provided on a rent-free basis, these concerts would make even less financial sense (although we are going to explore this very carefully to see what might be feasible as we have some solid ideas).

The bottom line is that these concerts are not designed to show how live music can recommence on a financially sustainable basis. They are intended to act as a circuit-breaker to interrupt the near-paralysis that the large concerts industry has been experiencing since Covid arrived; to demonstrate how large indoor concerts can be operated safely and professionally in a Covid world.

Our hope is that The Greatest Southern Nights will generate some important momentum to help lift live music up onto the pedestal alongside sport, where it absolutely should be.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Australia to host first arena concerts since March

TEG, Live Nation and the government of New South Wales (NSW) have announced plans for The Greatest Southern Nights, Australia’s first arena shows since the shutdown of the concert business in March.

Taking place as part of Great Summer Nights, the state-backed 1,000-show concert series running in NSW throughout this month, 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.

Ocean Alley will headline the first gig, on Saturday 28 November, joined by Jack River, Ruby Fields and Jack Botts, with Bernard Fanning and Matt Corby, supported by Merci, Mercy, playing the second on Saturday 5 December. For each, co-promoters TEG Live and Live Nation will welcome more than 6,000 fans to the Sydney venue.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG and a key figure in the pan-industry Live Entertainment Industry Fund (LEIF), comments: “These shows are vital for our industry because they will show that we can stage big live concerts safely and that Australians cannot wait to get out and share great live entertainment experiences with their friends and family.

“We have seen the successful and safe return of large crowds to major live sport, and it is time for live music to make a return at scale at a world-class venue, Qudos Bank Arena, which we will operate in a reduced, Covid-safe capacity for these shows.”

Tickets for the Ocean Alley show cost A$91.60 (€56), while the Bernard Fanning-Matt Corby date is priced at $99.90 (€60). The shows go on sale at 10am local time Monday and Tuesday, respectively, via TEG’s Ticketek platform.

“After eight long months of zero arena shows, these concerts will see great musicians bring thousands of fans back together”

“After eight long months of zero arena shows, these concerts will see great musicians bring thousands of fans back together,” comments Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific, who also serves on the LEIF executive committee. “Not only will these two wonderful nights of entertainment deliver significant employment but they are sure to inject a vital economic boost to our industry and the economy.”

The shows are supported by New South Wales’s tourism agency, Destination NSW. The state’s minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, says: “NSW has led Australia in reigniting the live music industry through Great Southern Nights, and now we are excited to announce these landmark concerts that will be the hottest tickets in the country.

“The NSW government is proud to be getting artists, roadies, venues, hospitality staff and tourism businesses back to work and we hope this heralds the safe return of major indoor arena events.”

Arena shows have already returned to neighbouring New Zealand, where Live Nation recently promoted a headline tour by local star Benee. At press time, Australia had just 12 new cases of coronavirus today (6 November), while NZ had one.

“I’m so happy to be part of the reopening of the live music scene in NSW,” adds Bernard Fanning. “It’s a great opportunity to get people safely together again, but just as importantly to give the music industry workers whose lives have been so upended by Covid a chance to get back to doing what they do best.”

 


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Australia’s LEIF releases Covid-safe guidelines

The Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), which represents Australia’s largest live entertainment and sport businesses, has released a new set of ‘Covid-safe’ guidelines for the safe restart of live events.

The new recommendations by LEIF – formed in June this year by Australia’s biggest concert and sports promoters, venue managers and industry associations – have been drawn up by industry experts from more over 50 organisations, in consultation with government and health agencies.

They include measures on cleaning and sanitisation, crowd management, physical distancing plans, health monitoring and contact tracing.

LEIF chair James Sutherland comments: “LEIF is committed to ensuring the passionate people of the industry have the safest, staged and most considered route back to full employment, which in turn, will deliver significant positive economic outcomes for the community through events, which are integral features of healthy and connected communities.

“These guidelines have been developed by LEIF to provide guidance, support and a point of reference”

“These guidelines have been developed by LEIF to provide guidance, support and a point of reference to live entertainment venues, event promoters and service providers to reactivate live events in a Covid-safe way.”

The guidelines, which can be found on the LEIF website, have been released in advance of the Event Summit, which takes place in Sydney on 14 October. At the conference, Sutherland and LEIF members Geoff Jones (CEO of TEG) and Roger Field (president of Live Nation Asia-Paicifc) will present a study assessing the economic contribution of the live entertainment industry in Australia, developed in cooperation with Ernst & Young.

The launch of the LEIF guidelines follows the release in August of a similar set of ‘Covid-safe’ measures developed by trade body Live Performance Australia.

At press time, some live events (particularly sports) had restarted in Australia, albeit with social distancing and with different restrictions by state.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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