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Brisbane to gain new 80,000-capacity stadium

Brisbane will gain a new 80,000-capacity stadium ahead of the 2032 Olympics, set to take place in the Queensland capital.

The new AU$2.7 billion venue will replace The Gabba, Brisbane’s 50,000-capacity AFL stadium, which will be demolished after the 2025 Ashes.

The state government says the stadium, which will be part of a rebranded precinct called East Bank, will be able to host up to 50,000 for sporting events and 80,000 for concerts and events, meaning artists like Taylor Swift would no longer be inclined to skip the city from Australian tours.

The new East Bank stadium follows a wave of other developments throughout the country

The design process is expected to begin in 2024 and last until 2026, with early demolition works commencing in 2025 and construction of the new building in 2026. The East Bank precinct is set for a 2030 ready-to-use launch.

The new East Bank stadium follows a wave of other developments throughout the country, including a new 30,000-capacity music venue in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

The event site is a $135 million development by the Cedar Mill Group (CMG) at the old Morisset golf course. The group hopes the venue will rival Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium with its built-for-purpose staging and rigging.

CMG has also set out plans for three more venues in NSW: The Domain in Sydney’s CBD, The Crescent in Parramatta Park, and Thompsons Creek Regional Parkland in Bradfield.

 


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City Focus: Brisbane

Paris, Los Angeles, Brisbane. Holiday destinations, yes. And all three are future Olympic cities.

For those keeping score, Brisbane will host the summer Olympics and Paralympics for the first time in 2032, becoming the third Australian city to host the quadrennial sporting feast, after Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000). The capital of Queensland, the so-called Sunshine State, has an enviable reputation in music and sport. When Brisbane hosts the Games, it’ll showcase the best in both fields.

Brisbane summers can be scorching; and its music scene is hot. Powderfinger, Savage Garden, The Veronicas, Mallrat, Thelma Plum, Ball Park Music, Busby Marou, Katie Noonan, The Chats, Lobby Loyde, The Jungle Giants, Confidence Man, Sheppard, Kate Miller-Heidke, Violent Soho, and Kev Carmody are just some of the stars who’ve emerged from Brisbane.

Keith Urban spent his formative years in Brisbane before moving to Nashville and becoming a superstar of country music.
The Bee Gees’ legendary career in music began when, in the late 1950s, the brothers Gibb landed a regular gig at the Redcliffe Speedway, north of Brisbane. Barry, Maurice, and Robin signed their first record contract on the family’s kitchen table in Redcliffe, not far from a commemorative walkway that recognises the trio’s achievements, Bee Gees Way.

The capital of Queensland, the so-called Sunshine State, has an enviable reputation in music and sport

Critically celebrated indie-rock band The Go-Betweens hail from Brisbane and are remembered with a bridge named in their honour. Punk trailblazers The Saints were formed in Brisbane and are feted with a colourful mural on Upper Roma Street, near the band’s Petrie Terrace shared house where they honed their legendary live performance.

Roma Street, in the Central Business District, will be a major hub when the Olympics come to town. A new 18,000-capacity arena complex – Brisbane Live – will be developed above Roma Street railway station and serviced by underground rail and bus.

Brisbane Live “promises to place Brisbane among the elite cities of the world as an entertainment precinct,” Tim Worton, ASM Global (APAC) group director arenas, tells IQ. “It won’t just be a venue, it will be a destination – one that will be the envy of all cities in our region. It is a seriously exciting project.”

The existing 13,000-capacity Brisbane Entertainment Centre (BEC) in Boondall, north Brisbane, is one of the world’s most successful arenas. When Pink sold out 11 dates at the BEC on her 2009 Funhouse tour, the venue paid thanks by dedicating its Door 6 ladies’ toilets to the Philadelphia pop superstar (she even cut the ribbon on the “Pink Toilets”).

The existing 13,000-capacity Brisbane Entertainment Centre in north Brisbane is one of the world’s most successful arenas

Brisbane has a rich recent history of organising major international events, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the 1988 World Expo, and the 2001 Goodwill Games. Neighbouring city the Gold Coast, home of Amy Shark, hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is part of the mix with the 2032 Olympics.

Fortitude Valley is the beating heart of Brisbane’s live music scene; it’s Australia’s only designated entertainment precinct and the home to a growing Walk of Fame, an initiative of trade body QMusic. Each September, artists and executives from around the globe gather in the Valley for Bigsound – the conference and showcase event.

The city’s range of venues cater to new, local talent through to the biggest acts in the world. The Gabba, which hosted Adele’s concerts in 2017, will be demolished and rebuilt in time to serve as the main, 50,000-capacity venue for the Olympics. The 52,500 Suncorp Stadium hosted Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ed Sheeran earlier in 2023 and will welcome Foo Fighters later in the year.

The outdoor Riverstage, inspired by the floating concerts venue from the 1988 Expo, can hold 9,000 punters. Other popular venues for top-tier local acts and internationals include the Fortitude Music Hall, the Tivoli, the Zoo, the Triffid, the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, and the newly refurbished Princess Theatre.

Brisbane’s top promoters include club and dance music expert Michael Watt and D-J Wendt

Brisbane’s leading scene builder is Paul Piticco, co-founder of Secret Sounds (with Jessica Ducrou), founder of Dew Process, and former manager of Powderfinger. Piticco is also a member of the leadership team behind the Triffid and 3,300-capacity Fortitude Music Hall.

The Comiskey Group, a family-owned company based in Brisbane’s north, operates a string of venues, including Eatons Hill Hotel, a popular live venue with a 2,100-capacity ballroom and Sandstone Point Hotel, a sprawling spot across from Bribie Island, which hosts a range of concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Elsewhere, Woodford Folk Festival founder and director Bill Hauritz recently passed the baton to the event’s general manager, Amanda Jackes, following his 35th year in the job. The most recent event, held over six days from 27 December 2022, the first after a two-year pause due to the pandemic, welcomed more than 120,000 attendees.

Brisbane’s top promoters include club and dance music expert Michael Watt and D-J Wendt, owner of Demand Pty Ltd, a company that specialises in producing and promoting concert tours and theatrical productions in Australia and both sides of the Atlantic for theatre and arena productions.

Brisbane is also home to ASM Global’s Asia Pacific headquarters; Australia’s leading independent ticketing company, Oztix; and Stephen Green’s SGC Media Group, one of Australia’s largest independent music marketing and media firms.

 


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Famed Nippon Budokan arena unveils Olympic overhaul

Modernisation work on Japan’s Nippon Budokan arena – famously the venue for the Beatles’ only Japanese concerts – has concluded, just under a year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.

Known as the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts, the 14,471-capacity indoor arena, located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, is also one of Japan’s best-known large concert venues. In addition to hosting the Fab Four in 1966, the Budokan was the site of Abba’s last-ever show in 1980, and is also a popular venue for live recordings: celebrated albums Made in Japan (Deep Purple), Cheap Trick at Budokan (Cheap Trick), Live in Japan (the Carpenters), Bob Dylan at Budokan (Bob Dylan) and Live at the Budokan (Blur) were all recorded at the arena.

At the 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed to 23 July–8 August 2021 because of Covid-19, the Budokan will host judo and karate events, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Its Olympic capacity will be 11,000.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues being used for the 2020 games

Among the new-for-2020 additions are an earthquake-proof roof, permanent accessible seating with space for wheelchairs, new LED lighting inside and out, and a training hall for athletes.

Images captured by the Asahi Shimbun (via Getty) show the arena’s new roof and decor, as well as a socially distanced completion ceremony held on Wednesday 29 July.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues, many of which (like the Budokan) were built for the 1964 Olympics, being used for the 2020 games, while another 13 – including the new Ariake Arena – are located in the Tokyo Bay area.

The Ariake Arena is one of several large venues being created especially for the Olympics, along with the now-completed 80,000-capacity New National Stadium, 15,000-capacity Oi Hockey Stadium and the 10,000-capacity Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. The 2020 Olympics will take place across 41 venues in total.

 


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The decade in live: 2012

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.

As in the previous 12 months, 2012 saw the live music industry still grappling with the effects of the global economic crisis, with many countries just beginning to clamber out of recession and others heading for dreaded ‘double dips’.

This continuing economic uncertainty naturally bit into the leisure spend of discriminating ticket buyers with a variety of entertainment options – though the world did not, as predicted by some long-dead Mexicans, come to an end.

Elsewhere, the weather gods interfered with yet more festivals, while Hurricane Sandy had a devastating effect on the industry in the New York area. In the UK, meanwhile, the Olympics scored on many levels, but provided far too much competition for many.

 


2012 in numbers

The top 50 worldwide tours grossed a combined US$3 billion in 2012, according to Pollstar, down around 2% from $3.07bn in 2011.

Madonna’s MDNA tour was the clear No1, grossing $296.1 million, ahead of second-placed Bruce Springsteen, whose E Street Band earned $210.2m. Both acts played to more than 2m fans worldwide 2012.

Roger Waters’ The Wall generated $186.4m to come in at No3, and was also the highest-ranking hold-over from the 2011 chart, where he placed No5 with a gross of $103.6 million.

Reflecting the lingering impact of the financial crisis, the total tickets sold by the top 50 tours was 34.9m, which continued the decline from 35.5m the previous year (and well off the pace from 2009, when the top 50 sold 45.3 million, says Pollstar).

 


2012 in brief

January
FKP Scorpio buys a stake in Utrecht-based booking agency and artist management company Friendly Fire.

Touring festival Big Day Out calls time on its New Zealand leg after promoter Ken West admits that falling audience numbers have made the Auckland show unviable.

February

Madonna sparks controversy when she tells Newsweek  magazine fans should “work all year, scrape the money together” for a $300 ticket to her MDNA tour.

March
Private-equity firm CVC Asia Pacific puts its Australian ticketing company, Ticketek, and Sydney’s Allphones Arena up for a sale in a bid to reduce a A$2.7bn (€2.1bn) debt run-up by Nine Entertainment, which owns the assets.

Stuart Galbraith buys out AEG’s 50% stake in Kilimanjaro Live for an undisclosed sum. Both parties say they will continue to work together on events in future. (Kili later cancels the 2012 edition of Sonisphere at Knebworth, which was to have featured Kiss, Faith No More and Marilyn Manson.)

Ebay-owned secondary ticketing service, StubHub, launches operations in the UK and admits it is looking at further expansion across Europe.

Roger Waters's The Wall tour was the third most lucrative of 2012

Roger Waters’s The Wall tour was the third most lucrative of 2012 (© Brennan Schnell/Eastscene.com/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0))

April
Serbian authorities arrest the venue owner and other individuals following a fire at the Contrast nightclub in Novi Sad that leaves six people dead.

Tupac Shakur, who died 15 years previous, is the main talking point at Coachella, as a multimillion-dollar hologram of the rapper appears on stage alongside Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.

May
Viagogo raises eyebrows by shifting its operational base from the UK to Switzerland, amid speculation it wants to resell tickets for the Olympic Games without falling foul of British law.

Investment firm Silver Lake Partners completes a transaction to acquire a 31% stake in William Morris Endeavor.

June
Former AEG Germany CEO Detlef Kornett forms a venue consultancy, Verescon, with DEAG with Peter Schwenkow.

Swedish telecom operator Tele2 pays an undisclosed sum to secure naming rights for Stockholm’s new 40,000-capacity stadium, operated by AEG.

Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield and Dizzee Rascal performed at the London 2012 opening ceremony
Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield and Dizzee Rascal performed at the London 2012 opening ceremony (© Matt Deegan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

July
Live Nation appoints former CAA exec David Zedeck to the role of executive VP and president of global talent and artist development.

Artists including Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal and Emeli Sandé are each paid £1 for their performances at the Olympics opening ceremony. The show attracts 26.9m viewers in the UK alone, and billions more worldwide.

August
Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot are jailed for two years each, after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

September
AEG drops its claim against Lloyd’s of London on a multimillion-dollar insurance policy, following the death of Michael Jackson.

C3 Presents’ Lollapalooza debuted in Brazil in AprilC3 Presents’ Lollapalooza debuted in Brazil in April (© Henrique Oli/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0))

October
Glastonbury Festival takes just 100 minutes to sell out all 135,000 tickets for next summer’s event, despite not naming a single act on the 2013 bill.

C3 Presents extends an arrangement with Globo Organization’s GEO for more events in Brazil, following a successful Lollapalooza.

November
AEG is awarded the contract to take over shows at London’s prestigious Hyde Park, ending Live Nation’s decade-long relationship with the 80,000-capacity space.

Frank Barsalona, founder of Premier Talent, dies aged 74. Premier was the first agency to work exclusively with rock artists, with clients including the Yardbirds, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2 and Van Halen.

December
The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of bidders are in contention to acquire AEG, despite a reported $10bn asking price.

Irving Azoff unexpectedly resigns as chairman of Live Nation and CEO of its Front Line Management Group, to concentrate on his own artist management company.

 


Whitney Houston

Who we lost

Notable industry deaths in 2012 included South by Southwest creative director Brent Grulke, Lasse Ollsen of Swedish promoter Viva Art Music, Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Armin Rahn, founder of Munich-based Armin Rahn Agency and Management, Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, Perth Arena general manager David Humphreys, R&B legend Etta James, pop powerhouse Whitney Houston, the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb, disco diva Donna Summer, the Monkees’ Davy Jones and legendary agents Armin Rahm and Frank Barsalona.

 


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British acts take centre stage at Rio Olympics

London artists represented the UK’s creative industries at the Olympics in Rio on Sunday, with performances from grime acts Nadia Rose (pictured), Elf kid and Logan Sama, and electronic duo Chase & Status.

Taking place on Sunday, 14 August, a London Soundtrack showcase saw the artists play live to celebrate the city’s culture, organised by the Major of London, Sadiq Khan, and curated by British Underground.

Says Khan: “I hope Elf Kid, Nadia and Logan will inspire others to make the best of what our great city has to offer and encourage the world to invest in London’s thriving cultural and creative industries.

“British Underground have been doing an excellent job exporting British music to important international showcases across the world for the last 15 years and this event in Rio demonstrates very clearly that London is open for business.”

The gig took place at British House – the official residence of Britain during the Rio Olympics.

“British Underground have been doing an excellent job exporting British music to important international showcases across the world for the last 15 years and this event in Rio demonstrates very clearly that London is open for business,” Khan says.

Elsewhere, 23 songs published by Universal Music Publishing Group have featured, or are set to feature, during the opening and closing ceremonies.

On Monday, the famed Jobim/Moraes standard The Girl From Ipanema (Garota De Ipanema) was streamed more than 40,000 times after the song soundtracked model Gisele Bundchen’s opening catwalk on Friday, when UMPG Brazil artist and songwriter Anitta also performed.

Norwegian musician Kygo will play his early 2016 single Carry Me with guest vocalist Julia Michaels during the closing ceremony on 21 August.

The show will start at 8pm BRT at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, and is part of the new Olympic Channel launch, which will be available worldwide via a mobile app and online.

“As one of the hottest music acts in the world, Kygo’s music speaks to new generations of Olympic fans,” says Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel.

“His performance is sure to electrify viewers around the world on Sunday night as we prepare to launch the Olympic Channel.

“Kygo and his music will be an important element of the Olympic Channel where fans will be able to continue their excitement of Rio and the Olympic Games all year long.”