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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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Matt Gudinski named new Mushroom Group CEO

Australia’s Mushroom Group has appointed Matt Gudinski as its new CEO, effective immediately.

Gudinski, who most recently held the role of executive director, moves into the position following the sudden passing of his father, Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski, on 2 March.

Gudinski joined Mushroom Group in 2003, aged 17, and named as Michael’s successor ten years later, with the two working side by side at the helm of Mushroom – which, in addition to touring, includes record labels and artist services, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production, talent management, venues, creative services and a brand agency – since then.

“This isn’t a role that I expected to assume yet, but I am determined to honour the great legacy my father left”

Frontier Touring, founded in 1979, seven years after Mushroom Group, remains Australia’s largest tour promoter, having worked with artists including Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Paul McCartney and Foo Fighters. It merged with AEG Presents in 2019.

“This isn’t a role that I expected to assume yet, but I am determined to honour the great legacy my father left,” says Gudinski.

“Mushroom Group is in its strongest position ever, and as we fast approach our 50th year I know that our incredibly talented Mushroom family will help me deliver the vision Dad and I had for the next 50 years of our business.”

 


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Michael Chugg: “We’re all saying let’s look at 2022”

IQ editor Gordon Masson sits down for a Zoom chat with veteran Australian promoter Michael Chugg to discuss his decision to branch out into recorded music, the return of international touring, the domestic situation in Australia and, of course, the long-term impact of Covid…

IQ: What’s been keeping you busy during the last few months?
MC: The label and management side of my business is doing very well. We’re having lots of success with the albums and doing a lot of streaming events – we’ve done about 80 or 90 streaming events with our acts now. Lime Cordiale just had a No.1 album and eight nominations for the ARIA Awards; Sheppard have just played the Aussie Rules grand final in Brisbane last weekend, which was very exciting. I’ve also been helping Gudinski with a lot of his streaming shows, as well as series two of The Sound, which is a rock and music television show that he is involved with and got onto ABC – that starts again next week and I’ve been helping him with that.

We’re about to sign a big deal with a young artist called Mia Rodriguez, who is definitely worth checking out on YouTube. Chugg Entertainment is now part of the Mushroom empire, which I could not have done at a better time really. But Chugg Music is my own thing. I’ve always been involved with Australian music, but I started Chugg Music eight years ago with Sheppard and with Lime Cordiale, and it’s just built from there. My partner in it is Andrew Stone and I’ve got a team of people who work on it. And at least it’s given me something to focus on or I’d be going fucking stir crazy without it.

“Chugg Music has given me something to focus on…I’d be going fucking stir crazy without it”

You opened a Chugg Music office in Bangkok earlier this month. Would that have been possible had you still been full on with promoting concerts this year?
I’ve been dabbling in Asia since around 89 when I did a gig with Bon Jovi. But not having any live touring, I’ve had a lot of time to look at things and then a friend of mine who had been running a music business in Bangkok for BEC-TERO rang me up one day to say he was out of a gig, so I asked him if he could do some work there for me because Sheppard have had a couple of hits up there.

So he started to work on it and then started to see what else we were doing – getting enquiries from Japan about Lime Cordiale stuff, for instance. So after five months we could see there was a business and we decided to open up properly with a Chugg Music office. Gudinski and I have both tried over the years to do things in Asia – we’ve both done quite a few shows up there – we had Laneway [festival] in Singapore for a few years, for instance – and it’s not the easiest market. But there has been a lot of interest recently in the Australian acts, through streaming and things like that, so why not give it a go?

It looks like international touring could be a bit stagnant, to say the least…
Yeah, well ten days ago I got a call from Canberra, from one of the advisors there, and they told us that the borders will not open until 2022. That’s in general – the mainstream – but they’re still trying to do the tennis in January. There won’t be any audiences though.

The Melbourne Cup, on 3 November, our big horse race, won’t have any crowds. But for the tennis in January, they are going to start letting people into the country – and the Indian cricket team is coming in a few weeks’ time. They will be playing cricket and nobody will be there, except maybe in Brisbane and Adelaide, where they’re starting to have limited audiences. There were 30,000 people at the Aussie Rules grand final in Brisbane, but now it’s gone back to 5,000 people for anything else.

I can’t see any touring here until 2022. A friend of mine who works for the premier of New South Wales also told me that’s what they’re talking about.

“When it all comes back and we get to a decent level, there should be quite a bit of Australian touring”

While that remains the situation, is this the greatest opportunity you might have to develop domestic talent?
It’s definitely a good time. Domestic talent here develops anyway, but obviously we’re looking to see what we can do with the acts we can work with. However, it’s also harmed the local acts. If we had not gone into lockdown, Lime Cordiale would be playing 10,000-capacity arenas right now. When it all comes back and we get to a decent level, there should be quite a bit of Australian touring.

We could do a tour now and go play to 30%-capped theatres and things like that, or go play small outdoor shows, but you can’t get into any of the fucking places. At the moment, the borders between Queensland and New South Wales, and New South Wales and Victoria, and South Australia and Victoria are all closed, so you can’t do a national tour right now.

A couple of my bands have played small, 5,000–6,000-capacity festivals in Darwin lately, and there are very few restrictions on audiences in Perth, but nobody can get there, so that’s really only an option for local acts, and that’s it.

But there are some positives. So if it keeps going the way that it is, maybe by Christmas all the internal border restrictions might come down and we can start thinking more seriously about shows.

But we have not announced Laneway – we moved the dates to March, but we haven’t announced because we can’t. If we were to put it up now and there was an outbreak of Covid some- where and they closed things again in January, then we’d lose a heap of money.

Do you think the model for live music needs to be revised on the back of Covid?
They’re planning a big outdoor show for 12,000 people in Adelaide for New Year’s Day with local Australian acts – but at the moment they can’t use Melbourne acts – and the Covid restrictions that have been laid down mean everybody has to be seated. The restrictions are not going to break the bank, but obviously all the toilets and the bars and all the social distancing measures are going to cost money.

We could nearly go ahead with CMC Rocks, our big country festival in Queensland in March. We get about 20,000 people and 11,000 or 12,000 of those camp, but as things stand, if you want to have a campsite, people have got to be 15 metres apart, so you’re fucked, you can’t do it.

“The Live Nation global touring concept might become a thing of the past”

Do you think the spirit of cooperation between rival companies will continue after Covid is gone?
Good fucking question. Look, there has always been a bit of an unwritten code down here. Yes, there’s always squabbling, fighting over tours and artists, but it was an agreement that worked. The Live Nation global touring concept might become a thing of the past. Before all that started, if you had an act, nobody else would go and bid against you. That was pretty much how it was down here.

If Michael Coppel had an act, I would not go after it. The only reason I would, is if the act decided they didn’t want to go with him any more. But the Live Nation thing came along where they were buying acts for the world and for a while Gudinski and ourselves managed to hold on to acts, but then, with the likes of Coldplay and another couple of acts, they would just throw another US$20–30m at them, saying that if they want this money, they’ve got to get rid of Chugg or Gudinski or they’re not going to get the world tour.

I don’t think that situation will be quite as severe as it could have been, and I also think a lot of acts who did those sort of deals, in reflection, probably won’t do them again, because you go from having relationships in 40 or 50 countries with people you’ve worked with for 10 or 15 years or whatever, and all of a sudden they are no longer involved. I know that a lot of the acts who went down that route have regretted it.

“In all the conversations we’re having with agents – and the same with Gudinski – we’re all saying let’s look at early 2022”

When do you think we will see the next Chugg-promoted concert?
I’d love to tell you it will be before June next year, but I doubt it will be before January 2022. We’ve had a couple of the big Australian acts ask us if we’d like to do their tours, but as I said earlier, to go ahead and put something on sale right now would be inviting drama.

We had a couple of postponed Elton John shows that we were going to do in January 2021 and they’ve now been rescheduled until January 2023. But in all the conversations we’re having with agents – and the same with Gudinski – we’re all saying let’s look at early 2022.

One of our big current affair shows on TV did a thing about the companies that supply the coffee machines and barista set-ups for the big shows and conferences: country-wide they were doing about 150 a week and sometimes as many as 100 a day. And they reported they had done four in the past nine months.

People who build exhibitions have not built a single one in nine months. Factories that live on the conference and theatre shows have been idle – there’s no work and everybody is fucked. It’s terrible, but I’ve got to say how great Michael Gudinski has been – everybody is still on the payroll and everyone is still getting paid.

 


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Frontier announces Anzac Day Covid-19 concert

Frontier Touring has announced Music from the Home Front, a special Anzac Day concert featuring some of Australia and New Zealand’s biggest musical stars performing live from their homes.

Taking place this Saturday night (25 April) at 7.30pm in Australia and 9.30pm in New Zealand, Music from the Home Front will be broadcast live on television, on Nine/9Now and Three/ThreeNow, respectively. Performers include Jimmy Barnes, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Ben Lee, Delta Gooodrem, Vance Joy and the Rubens.

The event was conceived by Barnes and Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski, who explains: “Music From The Home Front is about uniting Australian and New Zealanders through the power of music in a time that we all need a bit of hope and happiness.”

Originally a day to commemorate the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac)’s involvement in the Gallipoli campaign (1915–16) of the First World War, Anzac Day now serves as a national day of remembrance in both countries, honouring all Australian and NZ servicemen and women past and present.

“Music From The Home Front is about uniting Australian and New Zealanders through the power of music”

Unlike other coronavirus relief concerts such as One World: Together at Home, Frontier says Music from the Home Front is “not a charity fundraiser”, rather “an opportunity for our nations to be united by music and celebrate the things that bring us together”.

“On an Anzac Day like no other, the Australian and New Zealand music community will join together to pay its respects and celebrate the mateship between two great neighbouring nations,” reads a statement from organisers. “While recognising and acknowledging the Anzac message, we also turn our attention to those that are currently fighting on the Covid-19 front line and say, ‘Thank you’.”

Nine’s head of content production and development, Adrian Swift, comments: “Music from the Home Front is a salute from Australia and New Zealand’s music communities to everyone serving our nations under lockdown. From the military this Anzac Day to all those on the frontline fighting Covid-19 and those working to keep food delivered, shelves stacked and streets cleaned.”

A full provisional line-up is pictured below, with more names set to be announced in the coming days:

Music from the Home Front line-up

 


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The decade in live: 2010

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Over the coming weeks, IQ will be bringing you a complete, chronological review of each year in the live business, from the beginning of the decade right up to the present day.

Kicking things off, we take a look at 2010 – the year that marked both the end of the first decade of the 21st century and the start of a new chapter.

At the start of this decade, the world was slowly recovering from the global financial crisis, with a continued shortage of disposable income for fans leading to the underperformance or cancellation of a number of concerts, tours and festivals, particularly in the United States.

The appearance of an unbudging volcanic ash cloud above Iceland also briefly took its toll on the live business, causing the closure of international airspace and the disruption of several high-profile tours.

The year also saw some several major mergers and acquisition, including arguably the deal of the decade, as Live Nation and Ticketmaster completed their merger.

 


2010 in numbers

According to Pollstar figures, the top 50 global tours of 2010 grossed a combined US$2.9 billion, down 12% from the year before.

The top five highest grossing tours of the year were Bon Jovi’s Circle ($201.1 million), AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour ($177m), U2’s 360° ($160.9m), Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour ($133.6m) and Metallica’s World Magnetic Tour ($110.1m).

Over the year, a total of 38.3m tickets were sold to 2,650 shows, 7m fewer than in 2009, which also saw 8%, or around 200, more concerts.  The average ticket price did rise in 2010, however, by 4% ($2.90) from the previous year.

 


Who we lost

In 2010, the music industry lost some legends, including Mark Linkhous of Sparklehorse, 47; former Sex Pistols manager and musician Malcolm McLaren, 64; heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, 67; veteran agent Barbara Skydel of William Morris Entertainment, 70; Dave Kirby, founder of booking agency the Kirby Organization, 56.

 


2010 in brief

January
The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company. At the time, the behemoth owned 140 venues worldwide, promoted 22,000 concerts and sold 140 million tickets a year and managed the careers of over 200 artists.

February
Beyonce Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards shows, more than any other woman in a single night in the 52-year history of the awards.

All Good Entertainment files a $300m suit against Michael Jackson’s estate, AEG Live and others, claiming it had a contract with him and his family for a reunion concert.

March
Live Nation, FKP Scorpio and Exit festival all announce that they are testing cashless payment systems at festivals in the summer.

Michael Jackson’s estate signs a record-breaking $200m deal with Sony Music Entertainment for ten projects over seven years.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Beyonce won six awards at the 2010 Grammys © idrewuk/Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0) (cropped)

April
Live Nation announces the launch of an Australian office in Melbourne, just weeks after it sets up in Germany.

Ash from an Icelandic volcano closes airspace in Europe destroying many tour plans and promotional campaigns.

May
CTS Eventim purchases the remaining 49.8% of shares it didn’t already own in Italian ticket company TicketOne for €20.6m ($25.5m).

Manchester Evening News Arena is bought by Development Securities for £62m ($90m) and venue manager SMG Europe announces a 25-year deal with the new owner.

June
Stevie Wonder wraps up Glastonbury Festival with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as the 177,000-capacity event celebrates its 40th anniversary with blazing sunshine and a sell-out crowd.

Partners at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) acknowledge that the agency is in discussions with a private equity firm to buy a share of the company worth up to $250m.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

A scorching Glastonbury 2010 © MojoBaron/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) (resized)

July
Ticket giant CTS Eventim buys See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group for €145m ($180) and secures exclusive ticketing rights to all Stage Entertainment Germany shows.

Twenty one die and over 500 are injured at the Love Parade festival in Duisberg, Germany, when panic breaks out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event.

August
Veteran agent Brett Murrihy of Premier Harbour Agency launches a new company, Artist Voice, with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

Deutsche Entertainment AG forms Gold Entertainment after purchasing two thirds of promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, to focus on the “grey gold” market.

September
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launches a retrospective probe into CTS Eventim’s €145m purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group.

A survey of 414 ticketing sites by regulators across Europe finds that 247 are breaking consumer laws and will be investigated further by authorities.

Live Biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Bon Jovi’s Circle tour was the highest grossing of 2010 © Miyagawa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

October
CAA announces a strategic partnership with investment firm TPG Capital, which takes a 35% non-controlling stake in the agency.

November
Take That sell 1.35m tickets for its 2011 stadium tour featuring Robbie Williams, with demand crashing ticket websites and phone lines.

Live Nation buys France’s second largest ticketing company, Ticketnet, for an undisclosed sum.

December
David Campbell, chief executive of the O2 in London, departs the world’s top arena to work for Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management.

Live Nation sells the 1,800-capacity Stockholm Circus to a syndicate that includes executives Thomas Johansson and Carl Pernow.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlightsTake That perform as part of their 2011 Progress Live tour © vagueonthehow/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

 


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Mushroom Group restructures following AEG partnership

Australia’s Mushroom Group has announced major structure and personnel changes in response to what it calls “unprecedented growth across its live and label businesses” in recent months.

Following a series of major partnership announcements in 2019 with AEG Presents, Chugg Entertainment and CMC Rocks, and amid continued growth in the live touring sector, Mushroom – the parent group of Frontier Touring – will create a dedicated live marketing and communications division, set to launch on 4 November.

The new unit, headed up by Reegan Stark, marks the “full integration of the Frontier and Chugg teams”, and will be responsible for all marketing, PR and digital for Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, CMC Rocks and other live partnerships, as well as PR and digital communications for boutique urban promoter Illusive Presents.

Stark, who has over 17 years’ experience at Mushroom, 12 directing Mushroom Promotions and 20 years of live touring experience, will be promoted into the role of chief marketing and communications officer, overseeing the communications, marketing and digital divisions of Mushroom’s live businesses. The newly created position reports directly to CEO Michael Gudinski and COO Dion Brant.

Simultaneously, Mushroom’s labels will launch in-house promotions, marketing and social media teams to drive the success of its local and international recorded-music roster.

Mushroom Promotions, meanwhile – formerly responsible for all publicity and promotions across both the touring and label divisions of Mushroom Group – will be separated, with staff moved into either the touring or label teams.

Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski says: “Mushroom has seen significant growth in recent years across both the live and label businesses, and this restructure is an incredibly exciting stage in our evolution.

“This restructure is an incredibly exciting stage in our evolution”

“Our overriding principle at Mushroom is to be leaders and not followers, and I believe these changes will allow us to consolidate both sides of our business. I’m also very pleased to be promoting so many great staff from within and can’t wait to see them develop even further in their areas. Watch this space – there is more to come!”

A full list of staff changes in the live touring marketing and communications division is as follows:

Frontier, Australia’s last major independent promoter, announced plans to merge with AEG Presents in April, in a move that will bring the touring landscape down under in line with the corporate-dominated Europe and North American markets.

 


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Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment join forces

Exactly 20 years after parting ways, Australian promoters Michael Gudinski and Michael Chugg have announced a new joint venture between their respective companies, Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment.

Effective from 1 April, Chugg Entertainment and Frontier will co-promote all Chugg tours, with Frontier also joining Chugg Entertainment and Potts Entertainment as a partner in the successful CMC Rocks country music festival. CMC Rocks 2019 was held in Ipswich, Queensland, in mid-March, with a sell-out daily attendance of 24,000.

Gudinski and Chugg co-founded Frontier in 1979, and have remained friends since Chugg went independent in 1999. By joining forces with Frontier Touring (part of Gudinski’s Mushroom Group), the pair will “present a powerful, united and strategic promoting front that offers artists a first-class, professional and considered touring experience”, according to a joint statement.

While Chugg Entertainment gains “a world-class level of resources and opportunities that will allow a greater platform for business growth and development”, Frontier is keen to tap into Chugg’s specialised touring expertise, particularly its presence in country music.

Susan Heymann will continue as managing director of Chugg Entertainment, reporting to Gudinski and Chugg on all Frontier/Chugg Entertainment tours. Staff from the live division of Chugg Entertainment will additionally integrate with the Frontier team for Chugg/Frontier co-promotions.

“I’m excited to see what the Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring teams can accomplish together”

Says Gudinski: “Michael and I have been in and out of business together for almost half a century and we’ve both seen a lot change in that time. There’s no doubt that live touring in Australasia is undergoing its biggest transition ever, and we’re both equally passionate about ensuring we continue to set the bar for touring down under.

“Chuggi and Susan have built a great team that punches above their weight and I’m excited about what the Chugg and Frontier teams can achieve together.”

“Chugg Entertainment has had an incredible run of late, and it’s the perfect time for us to take this step to strengthen our place in the market and keep growing while the industry changes and evolves,” comments Chugg. “Michael and I share so much history and so many stories, it feels right for us to move forward into the future with Frontier Touring. We both love to wind it up and fight the good fight – we’re going to be louder and prouder together.”

“Frontier Touring has established itself as one of the most powerful promoters in the world and has a proven track record of delivering successful tours, time and again,” adds Heymann.

“With all that knowledge and experience, as well as the other music businesses in the Mushroom Group to lean on and collaborate with, I’m excited to see what the Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring teams can accomplish together.”

 


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Plaque for Frontier ahead of Royal Blood Aus/NZ tour

Australian promoter Frontier Touring was presented with a gold record by Royal Blood following the band’s sold-out Sydney show last Thursday.

Frontier tour director Michael Harrison accepted the gold disc of Royal Blood’s self-titled 2014 debut – which hit no3 in the Australian albums chart – on behalf of the company. The British duo played a one-off show at Metro Theatre (1,500-cap.) on 20 July, ahead of their headline slot at Splendour in the Grass on Saturday.

Frontier, part of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group, is promoting the band’s Australia/New Zealand arena tour next April and May.

Frontier in May became the first Australian promoter to partner with face-value ticket resale site Twickets, while recently launched an Australian operation.

 


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