Great Southern Nights sells more than 75,000 tickets
More than 75,000 tickets were sold for Great Southern Nights, a government-backed concert series which brought more than 1,000 Covid-safe gigs to venues across New South Wales (NSW) during November.
The series, presented along with the Australian recording industry association (Aria), was organised with the aim to reinvigorate NSW’s live music scene.
Artists including Tones and I, the Presets, Thelma Plum, Jimmy Barnes, the Veronicas and Tash Sultana performed throughout the month.
The shows are supported by NSW’s tourism agency, Destination NSW. The state’s minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, says: “NSW has led Australia, and even the world, in getting live entertainment back on stages, from Great Southern Nights’ 1,100 gigs across NSW to musical theatre reopening in Sydney.
“We have demonstrated that live music is crucial to NSW’s social, cultural and economic well-being and can be enjoyed while following the health advice, which supports NSW’s approach to further easing restrictions in recent weeks.”
“We have demonstrated that live music is crucial to NSW’s social, cultural and economic well-being”
ARIA CEO Dan Rosen added, “It is extremely heartening to see the impact that the Great Southern Nights initiative had on all areas of the live music industry in NSW – from artists and venues to sound and lighting crew.
“This program helped kick-start the live music industry, by getting thousands of artists and music industry professionals back to work and ensuring music fans could experience our great Australian artists in a live environment once again.”
The concert series concluded with two shows at Qudos Bank Arena (cap. 21,000), organised by TEG, Live Nation and the NSW government.
The shows, dubbed Greatest Southern Nights, invited more than 12,000 fans over two nights in a seated, ‘Covid-safe’ setting.
Ocean Alley headlined the first gig, on 28 November, joined by Jack River, Ruby Fields and Jack Botts, with Bernard Fanning and Matt Corby, supported by Merci, Mercy, played the second on 5 December.
TEG CEO Geoff Jones recently spoke to IQ about what it was like organising the first indoor arena shows in Australia since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
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.”
Australia’s NSW to allow 5,000-cap country fairs
The government in Australian state New South Wales (NSW) will allow country fairs to host up to 5,000 people from January 2021, the second-largest attendance permitted at outdoor events since social distancing restrictions were imposed.
The Bowral Show, scheduled for 9 January at the Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse, will be the first event to welcome an audience of that size since the NRL grand final in October, which accommodated 40,000 seated fans at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (cap. 83,500).
Deputy premier John Barilaro, who is also the minister for regional NSW, announced the rollback of restrictions recently in a bid to boost the economies of regional areas hit by the pandemic.
Safety measures will include social distancing at venues, controlled access at entry points throughout the show to minimise crowding, a limit to the number of attendees depending on venue size and the one person per four-square-metre rule.
The 5,000-capacity allowance has not yet been extended to other types of events such as festivals.
“The industry has a framework to deliver Covid-safe events using the Live Entertainment Industry Forum Guidelines, the same guidelines created with other leading promoters and arenas that has seen the recent return of crowds to sporting events,” says Australian Festival Association spokeswoman Julia Robinson.
“There is a long way to go for a sector worth $2.7 billion that employs nearly 10,000 full-time-equivalent workers”
“The easing of restrictions in regional areas is an important step for an industry that was switched off in March, however there is a long way to go for a sector worth AUS$2.7 billion that employs nearly 10,000 full-time-equivalent workers nationally.”
This week NSW and Sydney are enjoying a return to live with the month-long festival, Great Southern Nights.
The event, which is an NSW government initiative, will take place throughout November, Australia’s Music Month, in an attempt to “stimulate the revival of the live music and entertainment sectors and, in turn, the visitor economy in the recovery phase of Covid-19″.
The festival will host 1,000 Covid-secure gigs featuring artists including Jimmy Barnes, Amy Shark, Tash Sultana, Tones & I, AB Original, Vera Blue, Hoodoo Gurus Ruel, Lime Cordiale, Alex The Astronaut, Missy Higgins and Matt Corby.
Live music has also returned in part to regional Victoria, albeit under stringent restrictions.
Indoor venues remain closed but the state is permitting live music in outdoor spaces under several conditions; gig-goers must remain seated and are limited to tables of ten, which must be at least 1.5 metres apart from any other table. Band members are required to wear a mask, singers excluded, and must stand at least two metres from each other and five from the audience.