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Australia hosts first major “post-restrictions” events

Western Australia, home to the city of Perth, has become the first Australian state to host large-scale live events, allowing its biggest sport and entertainment venues to operate at 50% capacity.

The state saw the return of stadium concerts this weekend, 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.

The event, organised by Zaccaria Concerts and VenuesWest, was billed as the first “post-restrictions” concert to be held in the country since lockdown measures came into force in March.

Seated tickets for the event cost AU$60 (€37), with standing tickets priced at AU$81 (€50).

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. Perth’s Optus Stadium admitting 25,000 football fans for a match on Sunday. The stadium is allowed to admit up to 35,000 for concerts and 30,633 for sporting events, with HBF Park given limits of 10,150 for sports and 16,500 for music events.

Western Australia is now in its fourth stage of lockdown easing, permitting all events except large scale, multi-stage music festivals

Phase five of Western Australia’s lockdown lifting, which was to see almost all remaining restriction removed, was recently pushed back from 18 July to 1 August.

Elsewhere in Australia, venues in Melbourne joined those in a number of major cities worldwide to be forced to re-close their doors amid a surge in new coronavirus cases.

The re-imposition of lockdown restrictions across the parts of the state of Victoria – which saw citizens permitted to leave their houses only for work, education, exercise or to buy essential supplies from 8 July – will last for six weeks.

Nightclubs in South Australia similarly faced a second wave of closures after briefly reopening over the first weekend of July. All venues now have to submit a Covid management plan before being allowed to operate.

In New South Wales, home to Sydney, venues are allowed to operate at 25% capacity, with a maximum number of 10,000 people in attendance, as long as social distancing measures are applied. All venue operators must submit a Covid-19 safety plan before organising an event.

Queensland is allowing events of up to 25,000 people (where that is equal to 50% full capacity), as long as there is an approved Covid safe event plan, and enough space for one person every four square metres.

Photo: DaHuzyBru/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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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Australian live community rallies for wildfire relief

The live music community is showing its support for those affected by the Australian bushfires, as a multitude of benefit concerts crop up around the country and major artists pledge money to bushfire relief.

According to Australia’s Rural Fire Service, more than 8 million hectares of land has been burned since the bushfires began in September, with over half of the damage occurring in New South Wales alone.

A number of high-profile artists, as well as members of the wider entertainment world, have donated money to fire services in the country, including a US$1 million pledge by Elton John, A$750,000 (US$514,534) from Metallica, US$500,000 from Pink, A$500,000 (US$342,568) from Kylie Minogue and US$100,000 from Australian DJ Flume.

Many artists are also taking to the stage in order to do their bit for bushfire relief, as a growing number of benefit concerts pop up across Australia. Here, IQ provides a round up some of the biggest charity events…

 


Sound Relief

When: TBA
Where: TBA

First staged in 2009 in aid of the Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods, the Sound Relief benefit is returning to Melbourne and Sydney this year in response to the current wildfire crisis.

“In response to the devastating bushfires currently sweeping across the country, the Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020,” reads a post on the Sound Relief Facebook page.

A collaborative music industry effort, a number of promoters including Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, IMC Music HQ and Secret Sounds will be involved in organising the event.

Artists including Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon performed at the 2009 event. Details about the line-up, locations and date of this year’s benefit will be released in due course.

“The Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020”

Fire Fight Australia

When: Sunday 16 February
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW

As previously reported in IQ, Australasian powerhouse promoters TEG Dainty and TEG Live are hosting a charity concert at the 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium. The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”.

The line-up has yet to be announced for the event, although speculation – to be taken, as ever, with a pinch of salt – are circulating as to whether Queen and Adam Lambert will top the bill, given they are playing a TEG-promoted show at the stadium the day before.

More information about the event will become available here in the coming weeks.

The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”

Out of Bounds

When: Saturday 18 January
Where: Campbelltown Athletics Centre, Sydney, NSW

Leading Australian promoter Frontier Touring, together with fellow Mushroom Group company I Oh You, is offering discounted Fire Relief tickets to the inaugural Out of Bounds festival.

The event, which will take place across two stages at the 8,000-capacity athletics centre, will feature performances from Australian hip-hop artist Illy, local alternative-rock band the Rubens and Brisbane singer and rapper Mallrat.

In response to the bushfire crisis, festival organisers introduced a special ticket offer, with AUD$10 ($7) of a new $69 ($47) ticket going directly to the Red Cross Bushfire Emergency Appeal.

Fire Relief tickets for the festival are available here.

“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones and the communities across Australia suffering”

Down to Earth

When: Wednesday 26 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Victoria

Promoted by Handsome Tours in conjunction with Mirror Music Group, Lemon Tree Music, Arts Centre Melbourne and OneMusic Australia, Down to Earth is raising funds for the Australian Red Cross and the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Emergency Service (Wires), as well as other organisations focusing on long term solutions to the bushfire emergency.

Australian acts Angus and Julia Stone, Briggs, Gangs of Youths, Jack River, Ruby Fields and Tash Sultana will perform at the event, which will be held at the 10,000-capacity Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

“Collectively, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, the firies who have put their lives on the line and continue to, and the communities across Australia suffering,” reads a collective statement from artists.

“We hope to give you the greatest thing we can in this time of great need – our voices and our songs.”

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Thursday 10 a.m. (AEDT) January local time, available here.

“We hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their [the charities’] critical work”

Raise ‘Em Up

When: Saturday 25 January
Where: The Tivoli, Brisbane, Queensland

The Tivoli, a 1,600-capacity music venue and theatre in Brisbane, will host artists including Megan Washington, Matt Corby and the Kit String Triangle in an effort to raise AUD$100,000 ($68,568) for bushfire relief.

Dave Sleswick, co-owner and creative director of the venue says all ticket, bar and merchandise profits from the evening will be shared between the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Wires.

“Both Wires and the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal are hugely worthy causes and we hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their critical work,” comments Sleswick.

Tickets go on sale on 9 January at 9 a.m. (AEST), available here.

“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires”

Fire Aid

When: Friday 31 January
Where: Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, Western Australia

Artists from Western Australia are banding together in solidarity with the worse-affected eastern part of the country. John Butler Trio, the Waifs, San Cisco and Stella Donnelly are performing at the 400-capacity Freemantle Arts Centre in Perth to raise money for the NSW Rural Fire Service, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Wires.

“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires,” comments John Butler. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all those that have fallen victim to this national disaster and hopefully gigs like this can make even smallest of meaningful difference.”

Tickets go on sale on Thursday 9 January at 9 a.m. (AWST). Tickets cost AUD$96.90 ($67), with a live recording of the event available for AUD$20 ($14).

“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit”

FireAid2020

When: Friday 24 January
Where: Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse, Bowral, NSW

John Waters, Daryl Braithwaite, Leo Sayer and Megan Washington are among artists performing at a similarly named event in New South Wales, which will be hosted by Australian television presenter and actress Julia Zemiro.

“All of us want to do something; but I realised I had the power of public recognition and that I had a lot of friends in the music and entertainment industry with a lot more of that power than me, and the idea of FireAid2020 ‘The Concert’ was born,” says Waters in a statement.

“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit; about unconditional love for each other; about fire-in-the-belly action. Rock On Australia!”

Tickets for FireAid2020 are available here for AUD$65 ($45).

“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness”

Tones and I Bushfire Benefit Concert

When: Tuesday 28 January
Where: 170 Russell, Melbourne, Victoria

As reported by IQ yesterday, Australian singer Tones and I will be performing a charity concert at the 1,050-capacity 170 Russell in Melbourne, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross, Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Tones and I, real name Toni Watson, will be supported by Adelaide singer Adrian Eagle, with more acts yet to be announced.

“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness,” the singer, who calls recent events in the country “apocalyptic”, writes in an Instagram post. “We are in this together.”

Tickets for the concert, which went on sale yesterday, have now sold out. Fans can make a charity donation here.

Photo: J.E.T. 603/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 


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AC/DC tribute concert to take over ‘Highway to Hell’

Forty years after the death of AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, the band will be celebrated in a moving tribute concert on the Canning Highway, or ‘Highway to Hell’, in Perth, Australia.

The ten-kilometre stretch of road will be closed to accommodate the roving concert on 1 March 2020. AC/DC referenced the infamous road in their 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’, the group’s last to feature Scott, who died in early 1980.

The tribute concert, which is set to take place on the closing day of Perth Arts Festival, will feature eight bands reinterpreting AC/DC songs from the top of moving semi-trailers.

Melbourne punk act Amyl and the Sniffers, indigenous Australian band the Pigram Brothers, Perth singer Abbe May, Japanese rock trio Shonen Knife, Finnish country band Steve n Seagulls and the Perth Symphony Orchestra are among acts confirmed to play the event.

The tribute concert, which is set to take place on the closing day of Perth Arts Festival, will feature eight bands reinterpreting AC/DC songs from the top of moving semi-trailers

Beginning at 5 p.m., the convoy of trucks will travel from historic, former live music venue the Raffles Hotel to the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, a journey made frequently by Scott in his youth.

The concert will also serve as a tribute to AC/DC’s ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ music video, which features the band performing on the back of a moving vehicle.

Fans are advised the arrive at the free-to-attend event at 3 p.m. to secure a spot.

Perth Arts Festival is taking place from 7 February to 1 March 2020 in venues across the city. New Zealand gothic folk singer Aldous Harding and US experimental rock band Yeasayer are among artists playing throughout the festival.

 


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Frontier resurrects touring festival success with RNB Fridays Live

The days of touring festivals dominating the Australian outdoor season may be confined to history but Frontier Touring is enjoying phenomenal success with its RNB Fridays Live series.

The concept just wrapped up its third annual instalment in Australia and the company reports that the 2018 edition went to another level – scaling up to stadiums, selling out nationally and moving 200,000 tickets, making it one of the biggest touring festival brands in the region.

Since its debut in 2016, RNB Fridays Live has become arguably Australia’s most successful concert series. For three consecutive years, Frontier has used the brand to bring some of the biggest names in contemporary RNB to the stage, raising the bar with each line-up.

This year, Frontier gambled by stepping up the production for acts including Usher & Lil Jon, Salt-N-Pepa, Trey Songz, Eve and Taio Cruz

The inaugural events saw Nelly and TLC headline an 11-act show that visited arenas in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, playing to about 68,000 fans in total. Last year, the tour visited the same cities but played seven nights, with back-to-back performances in Sydney and Melbourne, attracting almost 120,000 fans, thanks to appearances by Craig David, NE-YO, Sean Paul, Kelly Rowland, Kelis, En Vogue and others.

But this year, Frontier gambled by stepping up the production for acts including Usher & Lil Jon, Salt-N-Pepa, Trey Songz, Eve, Taio Cruz, Naughty By Nature, Ginuwine, Estelle, Next and others, and sold out Perth’s 20,000-capacity NIB Stadium, Etihad Stadium in Melbourne (45,000-cap), Adelaide Showground (15,000), Brisbane Showgrounds (27,000) and Spotless Stadium in Sydney (40,000), cementing the brand as one of the year’s biggest parties and allowing RNB acts to play to record-sized audiences in the southern hemisphere.

 


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Aus festival fights slippery fence-jumpers

Arcadia – it of giant-mechanical-spider-at-Glastonbury fame – is taking drastic measures to deter fence-jumpers at its debut event in Australia this weekend.

Arcadia Australia promoter The Event Agency has revealed plans to cover fences with a non-drying lubricant ink, which – apart from making the surface slippery – will temporarily stain hands and clothes for up to three weeks, making it easy to identify fence-jumpers. It will also erect a two-storey shipping container along Perth’s Esplanade to “create an impenetrable barrier” to those without tickets.

Commenting on the measures, The Event Agency managing director Nikki Graski says: “Fence-jumpers display aggressive criminal behaviours and are disruptive and inconsiderate to everyone who has bought a ticket. Attitudes towards staff have become disrespectful and dangerous and over time it will also increasingly harm Perth’s reputation as a place to hold major outdoor events, and that will affect the vibrancy of our entertainment scene.

“Fence-jumpers display aggressive criminal behaviours and are disruptive and inconsiderate to everyone who has bought a ticket”

“I would encourage all West Australians to consider what this unsafe behaviour means for the future of events in Western Australia. If it continues, it will deter event promoters and the incredible events in this state will cease.”

Arcadia Australia will take place from 25 to 27 November at Elizabeth Quay. Headliners are Leftfield, Shy FX and Alison Wonderland.

 


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Operator named for new Perth Stadium

The government of Australia has appointed an operator for the 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium ahead of its opening in early 2018.

VenuesLive Management Services (formerly Stadium Australia Operations) – which currently manages the ANZ Stadium (cap. 83,500) in Sydney Olympic Park – has committed to an average of 40 events a year at the new stadium for an initial five-year term, with the option for the Western Australia (WA) state government to grant an additional five-year extension.

WA sports and recreation minister Mia Davies says VenuesLive will “now enter into negotiations to finalise user agreements with football and cricket, while talks would also be progressed with other potential users such as Australian Rugby Union and Football Federation Australia, English Premier League clubs, concert promoters [and] a range of community arts and smaller sport event owners”.

“VenuesLive will now enter into negotiations with potential users, including sports clubs and concert promoters”

The ANZ stadium has hosted shows by Eminem, the Bee Gees, U2, AC/DC and Taylor Swift, who stopped there in November on her record-breaking 1989 world tour.

The Perth Stadium is 40% complete and expected to open on time for the start of the 2018 Australian Football League (AFL) season.

There are no stadia of a comparable size in Western Australia – the Domain Stadium in Subiaco, Perth, is the Perth Stadium’s closest rival with a capacity of 43,500.

 


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