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Bluesfest expands to Melbourne

Australia’s Bluesfest is expanding to Melbourne for 2023.

With the original Byron Bay blues & roots festival running from 6-10 April, the brand is adding an indoor edition at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 8-9 April.

Bluesfest founder and director Peter Noble is teaming up with Melbourne music industry veteran Neil Crocker to stage the multi-stage spin-off. Acts will include Ash Grunwald, Buddy Guy, The Doobie Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Henry Wagons, Kaleo, Kasey Chamber, Keb’ Mo’, Lucinda Williams, Paolo Nutini, Robert Glasper and Steve Earle.

With the opening day of Byron Bay’s 2022 Splendour in the Grass festival being cancelled after being hit by adverse weather, organisers stress the Melbourne complex “will be transformed into a fully weatherproof festival precinct”.

“We’ll be bringing some of the absolute premium international and local artists who perform at Bluesfest”

“We’ll be bringing some of the absolute premium international and local artists who perform at Bluesfest alongside the fantastic Melbourne artists to create an experience for music lovers that is unprecedented in this city,” says Noble.

“Offering patrons the chance to see more than 30 performances over a two day period in an environment that is weatherproofed, accessible and safe, right in the heart of the Melbourne and Docklands area.”

Weekend passes start at A$508.69 (€327.66).

Byron Bay Bluesfest returned in April with headliners such as Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Crowded House and Jimmy Barnes. Its 2021 edition did not take place after initially being postponed due to a public health order a mere 24 hours before doors were due to open to the public. A rescheduled date was later cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

 


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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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Australia’s Beyond the Valley reveals new location

Australia’s Beyond the Valley festival has revealed a new site, official dates and full lineup for its comeback edition.

The Victoria-based event was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and last year was reimagined as a two-day event in Melbourne dubbed Beyond The City.

This December, the four-day camping festival will return but at a new location, Barunah Plains in Hesse, some 125km from Melbourne’s central business district.

The scenic site boasts a natural amphitheatre spanning 100,000 square metres with “sweeping trees, rolling hills, a wool shed, mystic bridges and a winding creek”.

All three of the festival’s signature main stages will return, albeit with various upgrades.

The scenic site boasts a natural amphitheatre spanning 100,000 square metres

In addition, this year’s edition will host its first-ever podcast stage, as well as a secret stage installation called the Schmall Klüb where artists will perform impromptu DJ sets on no fixed schedule.

There will also be a heightened focus on accessibility for the 2022 event. Main stage performances will feature Auslan interpreters and dedicated viewing platforms, while a designated accessible campsite will be positioned closer to the main arena.

Other new features include a Beach Club with swimming pools, a series of interactive art installations, an open mic stage, sessions for yoga, pilates and meditation, and a range of other non-musical programs.

News of the relocation comes as Beyond the Valley announces this year’s lineup, led by Nelly Furtado, Kaytranada and Denzel Curry. Diplo, Bicep, Honey Dijon, Aussies Dom Dolla, HAAi and Flight Facilities are slated to join them.

 


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Oz Grand Prix sued for $8m over Robbie Williams gig

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is being sued for more than $8 million for the last-minute cancellation of a performance by Robbie Williams at the 2020 Formula One event in Melbourne.

Williams was paid $1.94m to headline the first World Tour Melbourne concert event on 14 March, but his show was cancelled as fans queued to enter on 13 March.

World Touring Melbourne (WTM) says it was only informed of the cancellation during a teleconference with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and local touring partner Dainty on that same day.

WTM is now seeking $7.594m for costs it incurred, another $1.128m in lost profits, and interest

The touring agency, part-owned by Hollywood actor Will Smith, is alleging the cancellation was a breach of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s obligations.

It is now seeking $7.594m for costs it incurred, another $1.128m in lost profits, and interest.

A writ filed in the Supreme Court last week lists venue hire, backstage catering of $32,500, production costs such as sound and lighting, publicity and legal fees among other costs. Williams’ talent fee was reported as $1.94m.

The $99 tickets to see the British star perform were refunded to fans.

Miley Cyrus, Pete Murray, Seb Fontaine and The Veronicas were also booked to perform.

 


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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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Live Nation GSA announces Download Festival Germany

Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) is launching a German edition of Download Festival, the UK’s premiere rock event.

Download Germany will take place on 24 June 2022 at the Hockenheimring, a motor racing circuit situated in the Rhine valley near the town of Hockenheim, which Live Nation GSA head Marek Lieberberg has prior experience with.

Lieberberg’s former company Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK) previously held Rock’n’Heim at the same location, in cooperation with Live Nation.

The festival took place annually from 2013 to 2015, welcoming around 40,000 fans across three days for the first two years. In 2015, the event was reduced to a one-day event.

MLK also housed both Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, started by Lieberberg in 1985 and 1993 respectively, the twin festivals that from 2022, will be programmed by eventimpresents and CTS Eventim-owned DreamHaus.

At the time of writing, Download Germany has not announced any artists or released tickets for the 2022 event

At the time of writing, Download Germany has not announced any artists or released tickets for the 2022 event.

Download Germany will be the UK brand’s fourth sister event. Other sites are Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

The UK event, promoted by Festival Republic, this year took place over the 18–20 June weekend as part of the second phase of the UK government’s scientific Events Research Programme (ERP).

Download Pilot welcomed 10,000 metal fans to the hallowed grounds of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire, to enjoy a fully-fledged festival experience with no social distancing, no masks and moshing allowed. The event was the UK’s first major camping festival of its kind since lockdown.

The flagship event is set to return to the UK between 10-12 June 2022 with a line-up that includes Deftones, Korn and Megadeath.

 


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Gudinski’s ‘Music From The Home Front’ returns

Frontier Touring has announced the second edition of Music from the Home Front, a special Anzac Day concert spearheaded by the late Australian industry icon, Michael Gudinski.

The second instalment will take place at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on Saturday 24 April, the eve of the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

The Kid Laroi, Jimmy Barnes, Dean Lewis, Amy Shark, Tina Arena, Vance Joy, Lime Cordiale, Tash Sultana and You Am I are slated to perform.

Music from the Home Front was conceived by Gudinski, the late Barnes and Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group founder, to pay tribute to both the service people who were involved in the Gallipoli campaign (1915–16) of the First World War, as well as those who were “fighting on the Covid-19 front line”.

The inaugural Music from the Home Front was watched by over 1.4 million viewers on Anzac Day 2020.

“Music From The Home Front is a project [Michael Gudinski] was immensely proud of in 2020”

Matt Gudinski, the son of Michael and the newly elected CEO of Mushroom Group, told Billboard: “It’s incredibly fitting that Music From The Home Front, a project he was immensely proud of in 2020, was one of the events he was working on right up until his last day.

“That we can bring to life a broadcast concert version from his hometown of Melbourne, supporting the industry he loved, in a city he long promoted as the leading music capital of Australia, resonates deeply with all of us at Mushroom.”

Michael Gudinski passed away suddenly on 2 March 2021 at the age of 68.

Similar to last year, the concert will be broadcast live on television on Nine/9Now and on YouTube at 7:30 pm AEST. This year’s event is presented in partnership with the Victorian government.

Tickets for the Melbourne concert go on sale this Friday (16 April). For more information visit musicfromthehomefront.com.au and frontiertouring.com/homefront.

 


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Michael Gudinski to receive state funeral

Victoria, the home state of Michael Gudinski, will hold a state funeral for the late promoter, its premier has announced.

Gudinski, the Frontier Touring founder known as the ‘father of the Australian music industry’, passed away suddenly on Monday (1 March). Bruce Springsteen, Kyle Minogue, Live Nation, TEG and his longtime friend and business partner, Michael Chugg, were among those to pay tribute.

Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, told press yesterday Gudinski’s widow, Sue, had agreed to a state funeral for her late husband.

“I think we will be able to come together in an iconic venue and celebrate his life”

“I went and saw Sue last night and offered her and the family a state funeral for an amazing Victorian,” he told local media. Gudinski was born and raised in Caulfield, a suburb of state capital Melbourne.

The funeral, said Andrews, “will be a celebration of his life”, with the details finalised in the coming days.

“It’s got to be Covid-safe, of course,” he added, “but I think we will be able to come together in an iconic venue and celebrate his life and the mark that he made and the legacy he leaves.”

 


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Australia unveils Victoria’s roadmap for reopening

Victoria, the state at the epicentre of Australia’s Covid crisis, has unveiled its “Roadmap for Reopening,” which includes the return of the live entertainment sector.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the capital city, Melbourne, will remain under stage 4 lockdown measures until 28 September with some relaxation from 13 September, including a later curfew of 9 pm, instead of 8 pm.

The Roadmap for Reopening will require all entertainment venues across Victoria to stay closed throughout the first two stages of the plan.

Subject to case numbers, stage 3 will launch on the 26 October, permitting outdoor entertainment venues in Victoria to reopen with capacity restrictions in place.

Then, provided the state has no new cases for 14 days, the last step in the plan will be initiated on 23 November, when indoor and outdoor venues will open with density quotient and patron caps.

Outdoor entertainment venues in Victoria will be permitted to reopen with capacity restrictions in place on 26 October

Public outdoor gatherings will increase to 50 people and large events will be treated on an individual basis based on “requirements and epidemiology” at the time.

The state will then move to, Covid Normal, when there has been no new cases for 28 days (state-wide), no active cases (state-wide) and no outbreaks of concern in others states or territories.

It’s expected that all restrictions will be lifted at this point, which means that all entertainment venues can reopen with “safety measures and record-keeping” in place.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said at a press conference all the dates stipulated in the Roadmap for Reopening are “indicative”.

The state has been the epicentre of the country’s second wave, accounting for 90% of Australia’s 753 deaths, according to BBC News.

Ongoing Coronavirus concerns have caused widespread cancellations during Australia’s festival season, affecting events including St Kilda Festival, Strawberry Fields, Loch Hart Music Festival, Festival X, Meredith Festival, BigSound.

 


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Cancellations sweep Australia’s festival season

A number of Australia’s major music events have been cancelled due to ongoing coronavirus concerns, putting a question mark over the country’s imminent festival season.

Australia’s largest free music festival, St Kilda Festival, is the most recent event to be cancelled amid uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

The Melbourne-based event, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and is one of Australia’s oldest festivals, was scheduled to take place in February 2021.

However, Victoria’s capital city has been in lockdown for over a month and the state remains Australia’s biggest concern with 7,274 active cases. Melbourne is under the strictest measures including a night-curfew which was imposed on 3 August.

“We know this will bring disappointment to those who support the St Kilda Festival year on year and we too feel that sadness,” says a statement on the festival’s Facebook.

“Our thoughts are with those in the arts and events industries who work tirelessly to deliver the events we love and continue to feel the strain and devastation of cancelled events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Elsewhere in the country, New South Wales festival Strawberry Fields has also called off. The Tocumwal event, which was due to take place in late November, has been postponed until next year.

Festival director Tara Medina said she felt it “inappropriate” to consider bringing thousands of people to NSW from primarily Melbourne and Sydney.

“We want to respect the space, health and wellbeing of the Berrigan Shire as well as the time of local emergency services who are already so busy fighting the pandemic day-to-day.

“Ultimately, in the current environment, even the best-laid plans can come unstuck”

“Normally our event is announced, and tickets sold out by this time of year. We really waited until the eleventh hour to see if we could work something out – even with a drastically reduced capacity – but we have to come to terms with the reality that it will not be possible until 2021.”

Earlier this month, Loch Hart Music Festival in Victoria was also cancelled – a decision that festival director Jayden Bath said was “heartwrenching”.

“Given the current state of things in Victoria this is unlikely to come as a shock, however, it is still an extremely difficult decision to make. Ultimately, in the current environment, even the best-laid plans can come unstuck. We can only run a festival that we truly believe in and that pays homage to the culture and community that has been built at Loch Hart 2018 and 2019,” says Bath.

Among the other Australian festivals that have been forced to cancel are: Victoria’s Queenscliff music festival, originally scheduled to take place this November; national dance and hip-hop festival Listen Out, originally due in the early autumn; and Queensland’s Caloundra Music Festival, originally planned for October.

Elsewhere in the country, the western states have been preparing for Phase 5, which could see the removal of the 50 per cent capacity for major venues and the two-square-metre rule, and a number of guidelines have been released in order to prepare the region for its return to live.

Western Australia is now in its fourth stage of lockdown easing, permitting all events except large scale, multi-stage music festivals. Unseated performances are allowed to take place at music venues and concert halls, with gathering limits only determined by the state’s two-square-metre-per-person rule. For the state’s biggest venues, however, a 50% capacity rule currently applies.

The state began its return to live with the first “post-restrictions” stadium concert, which took place in mid-July, with local musicians Crooked Colours, ShockOne, Slumberjack and Tina Says performing to over 2,000 fans as part of the WA Unlocked event at the HBF Stadium in Perth.

 


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