Largest standing festival yet focuses on domestic acts
A new 10,000-capacity event is set to be ‘the largest standing festival in Australia since the beginning of Covid-19’ after authorities permitted the organisers to remove ‘zoned areas’.
Inverted Festival is slated to take place on 1 May at Metricon Stadium (cap. 25,000) on the Gold Coast, Queensland (QLD).
In November 2020, QLD became the first Australian state to lift restrictions for events, allowing 100% capacity in stadiums and venues.
The all-day event will combine live performances from some of Australia’s best punk rock bands, including Skegss, Spiderbait, The Chats, Trophy Eyes, WAAX, Stand Atlantic and Fangz, with BMX, skate and FMX competitions.
In November 2020, QLD became the first Australian state to lift restrictions for events,
After extensive consultation between QLD health department and Metricon Stadium, the event organisers confirmed the festival would not be subject to zoned areas, meaning that festivalgoers can move freely between stages.
Tickets start at A$119 (US$91) and are available via the Ticketek website.
NO MORE ZONES! Go anywhere you want!
Get tickets now: bit.ly/InvertedFestival-Ticketek
Saturday 1st May 2021 – Gold Coast, QLD – Metricon Stadium
#Punk #Rock #Actionsports #MajorEventsGoldCoast
New touring event Fresh Produce has also announced that four of its events – Townsville, Toowoomba, Glenorchy and Bendigo – will go ahead without zoned areas.
Promoter Steve Halpin, of Cattleyard Promotions, says he’s working hard with the relevant state authorities to remove zones for the other four dates.
The eight-date event series – partially funded by the federal government’s AU$75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (Rise) scheme – will kick off in Townsville Queensland on 13 August and conclude on 2 October in Wayville, South Australia.
Tickets start at around A$135 (US$103) and are available through the Fresh Produce website.
The dates and locations for Fresh Produce are:
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Australian festivals cancel early 2021 editions
A swathe of Australian festivals have cancelled their early 2021 editions due to uncertainty about future Covid restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel.
Unify Gathering, a three-day event in Victoria dedicated to punk and hardcore music, is the latest festival to cancel its 2021 edition, which was planned for March.
A statement from the annual boutique camping festival says: “We’d been hoping to have enough clarity to announce the festival today, with the view to have it take place in late March. However, without enough assurances that the event can go ahead in a safe and financially viable way, we don’t want to take any risks.”
Organisers say they plan to keep much of 2021’s previously announced line-up for next year’s edition. The all-Aussie lineup was slated to replicate the bill of Unify’s 2015 debut event, which featured the likes of The Amity Affliction, Northlane, In Hearts Wake, Thy Art Is Murder, Hellions and more.
“Without enough assurances that the event can go ahead in a safe and financially viable way, we don’t want to take any risks”
In place of a live event in 2021, the festival has partnered with hard rock radio network The Faction which will host a hard rock radio takeover, scheduled to take place between 15-17 January.
Next year’s edition would have marked the fifteenth iteration of the event, which typically takes place annually across the March Labour Day long weekend.
In a statement, ‘Aunty Meredith’ says: “The Space-Time Continuum has wibbled, and it has webbled, but it has not wobbled open wide enough to grant safe passage for Golden Plains this Autumn.”
“When favourable atmospheric conditions return, the full, rolled-gold, four-dimensional GP experience will land again. All dancing, all singing from the same songbook, in a close encounter of the Fifteenth kind. One more spin around the sun should do the trick.”
Golden Plains’ 2020 edition featured the likes of Pixies, Hot Chip, Stereolab and Sampa the Great and was one of the final large-scale festivals to take place in Australia before the pandemic took hold.
Back in September, Meredith too announced that it would not be going ahead as planned, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions made it impossible to hold the festival’s 30th-anniversary celebrations in its usual format.
“Until we can put on a festival that lives up to the expectations of our fans, we’re going to postpone. We won’t put on a second-rate event”
Elsewhere, the organisers behind country music festivals CMC Rocks Queensland have announced that the event won’t return until it can book international acts with confidence.
In a joint statement, Potts Entertainment, Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring said the ongoing pandemic and subsequent restrictions mean that the staging of the event is not possible.
“As such, organisers have today announced that the March 2021 festival will not proceed as planned and will instead be postponed to 2022,” they said.
Festival director Michael Chugg said organisers would not stage a subpar festival. “Everyone knows that CMC Rocks QLD is the place they go to see their favourite international and Australian country artists in action and discover new favourites,” he said.
“Until we can put on a festival that lives up to the expectations of our fans, we’re going to postpone. We won’t put on a second-rate event”.
The 2021 event will be postponed, and event organisers will instead focus on 2022.
This year’s event, which was due to take place in March, was cancelled a week out from the event after prime minister Scott Morrison banned “non-essential” gatherings of over 500 people.
The annual three-day camping festival, which has been running since 2013, usually takes place at Willowbank in Ipswich.
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Suncorp Stadium sets record attendance
Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane has set a record for the highest attendance since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.
The 52,500-capacity stadium welcomed 49,155 fans to last night’s State of Origin rugby finale between Queensland and New South Wales, eclipsing the 46,000 figure for last month’s Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between New Zealand and Australia at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The open-air stadium was permitted to operate at full capacity after Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk lifted the 75% capacity restriction the day before (17 November).
Palaszczuk also announced that seated and ticketed indoor events like concerts are permitted to increase patron numbers from 50% to 100% and outdoor events can host up to 1,500 people. Social distancing has increased to one person per two square metres.
Suncorp Stadium will also host a date of the first stadium tour announced since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“GNR’s 2021 Australia and New Zealand tour is the light at the end of the bleak tunnel we’ve all negotiated this year”
Guns N’ Roses (GNR) will embark on a stadium tour of Australia and New Zealand in November 2021, stopping off at the Brisbane stadium as well as ANZ Stadium (cap. 83,500) in Syndey, Optus Stadium (60,000) in Perth and more.
Paul Dainty, president and CEO of TEG Dainty, which is promoting the tour says: “As the first stadium tour announcement since the advent of Covid-19 and border closures pressed pause on touring, it’s fair to say our appetite for live music performances by international megastars has peaked and in GNR we trust!
“GNR’s 2021 Australia and New Zealand tour is the light at the end of the bleak tunnel we’ve all negotiated this year. All aboard the Nightrain to Paradise City for what promises to be a heaving celebration of the unbreakable human spirit!”
Australia is also set to host its first arena shows since the shutdown of the concert business in March, organised by TEG, Live Nation and the government of New South Wales (NSW).
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 on 28 November and 5 December.
Queensland to go 100% capacity in venues and stadiums
The Australian state of Queensland will welcome a huge rollback of restrictions from tomorrow, permitting a near-full return to live.
From 4 pm tomorrow (17 November), seated and ticketed indoor events like concerts can increase patron numbers from 50% to 100% and social distancing will increase to one person per two square metres.
Outdoor events can have up to 1,500 people attend with a Covid Safe Event Checklist, while open-air stadiums can increase seated capacity from 75% to 100% with a Covid Safe Plan. Outdoor dancing will be permitted.
“Queenslanders have worked hard to stop the spread of the virus, which means we can enjoy more of our Queensland way of life and keep [the state’s] economic recovery plan moving forward,” says Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“We can enjoy more of our Queensland way of life and keep [the state’s] economic recovery plan moving forward”
The news comes as other states relax regulations, including New South Wales (NSW) which is set to host Australia’s first arena shows since the shutdown of the concert business in March.
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.
The NSW government is also set to permit 5,000-capacity country fairs from January 2021, the second-largest attendance permitted at outdoor events since social distancing restrictions were imposed. The Australian Festival Association is now calling for the new capacity increase to be extended to other types of events too.
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.
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.
Australian states take differing stance on live’s return
Live music may return in varying degrees across Australia this week, as the country’s six states advance with differing reopening plans.
In Western Australia, home to the city of Perth, indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted from Saturday (6 June), as the state embarks on phase three of its reopening plan, which makes specific mention to the reopening of concert venues.
Large venues “with multiple, divided spaces” may host up to 300 people, provided no more than 100 gather in each space and there is two square metres per person.
Although “excited” by the easing of restrictions, Mike Harris, CEO of local music body West Australian Music, calls on the state government to rescind the requirement for seating at live music venues, which “does not reflect or represent the places where most music is played, making compliance with this restriction logistically and financially challenging for many”.
South Australia, which includes the city of Adelaide, this week began allowing a maximum of 80 people to gather at a venue, with any separate room or area containing a maximum of 20 people, subject to a one-person-per-four-square-metres rule.
Under the state government’s “future steps for consideration” is the allowing of larger gatherings and reopening of stadiums and larger entertainment venues.
Live music may return in varying degrees across Australia this week, as the country’s six states advance with differing reopening plans
The government in New South Wales, which has been criticised for its lack of support for the cultural sector and information around its reopening, recently dedicated $50m (€30.7m) to arts and cultural organisations, with expected beneficiaires including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney Theatre Company.
Pubs, clubs, small bars and restaurants in NSW were permitted to open for up to 50 customers this week, although all other indoor entertainment venues are to remain closed for now.
This has not stopped music returning to the state’s biggest city, Sydney, where the Bondi Beach Public Bar is relaunching its Friday and Saturday night DJ sets this weekend.
In the neighbouring state of Victoria, where AU$4m (€2.4m) was recently earmarked for the live music sector as part of a $150m (€88.2m) experience economy aid package, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums are to open with up to 50 seated patrons from 21 June.
Queensland, home to Brisbane, is this week allowing up to 20 people in concert venues, theatres, arenas and stadiums, with this number set to increase to 100 from 10 July.
Australia’s island state of Tasmania is also reintroducing gatherings of up to 20 people in theatres and concert venues this week. From 13 July, 50 people will be allowed at indoor venus and up to 100 at outdoor shows. The state will also “consider” the reopening of night clubs from this date.
Australian man arrested over Ed Sheeran ticket fraud
A 33-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fraud after allegedly taking money for non-existent tickets to this week’s Ed Sheeran show in Brisbane.
In a move welcomed by AEG Ogden, operator of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (52,500-cap.), Queensland police has charged the man with two counts of fraud after he was discovered to have allegedly “contacted interested concertgoers on a non-authorised online ticket platform and offered to sell them tickets”. The victims, all women aged between 40 and 55, paid the man via bank transfer but never received the tickets.
“This is another clear example of buyer beware,” says Queensland police’s Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence. “I urge entertainment ticket buyers and all buyers of online products to keep control of their purchase.
“Only use the official authorised sellers and their platforms. Do not move away from those platforms to buy tickets or items, particularly if asked to. It is most likely you are being scammed.”
“This is another clear example of buyer beware”
AEG Ogden’s chief operating officer, Rod Pilbeam, comments: “More than 100,000 tickets have been sold for next week’s concerts. However, if they were not purchased through the authorised agent, Ticketek, there could be cause for concern.”
Pilbeam says ticket touting is a “multi-million dollar industry that has attracted major criminal groups and tempted major companies to participate in the easy profits that flow from this deceit”, adding that “patrons should buy their tickets only from the authorised ticket outlet”, which for Suncorp Stadium is TEG’s Ticketek.
Sheeran’s ÷ world tour has broken records down under, selling more than 1m tickets for 18 dates across Australia and New Zealand. He will play Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 March.
AEG, Dainty to launch Hangout spin-off in Australia
The city council of Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia, has given the go-ahead for a new two-day festival, SandTunes, for December 2018.
The festival, produced by AEG and local promoters TEG Dainty and Cross Promotions, will be held on Coolangatta Beach, in the suburb of Coolangatta, on 1 and 2 December. It is an offshoot of Hangout Music Fest, AEG/Goldenvoice’s popular three-day event in Alabama, which was this year headlined by Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper and Twenty One Pilots.
The Gold Coast Bulletin reports SandTunes will be a one-off ‘destination’ event with two stages and a capacity of 35,000.
“This event could go anywhere – there would be venues around Australia lining up to take it”
Two councillors, Gail O’Neill and Pauline Young, voted against the proposal, with O’Neill telling a council meeting “love[s] festivals” but that the event “belongs somewhere else, not on Coolangatta Beach”.
Councillor Bob LaCastra, countering, said SandTunes would help plug a hole left in Gold Coast’s finances by the cancellations of Big Day Out and Summafieldayze festivals. “This event could go anywhere – there would be venues around Australia lining up to take it,” he said.
According to minutes from a 22 August council meeting, the city is willing to contribute up to A$200,000 (US$160,000) towards the cost of staging the festival.
Oz festivalgoer busted – after writing his name on drugs
A man was arrested at an Australian music festival after police identified him as the owner of a bag of MDMA – because he’d written his name and phone number on it.
The 21-year-old man, from Dalby, Queensland, was detained at Maroochydore Music and Visual Arts Festival on 26 August after police sniffer dogs discovered a ziplocked bag containing the party drug on his person.
The hapless festivalgoer forfeited any plausible deniability as to the ownership of the drugs when, according to Queensland Police Service senior constable Ben Cole, officers made the “surprising” discovery that the bag had “[Name]’s MDMA, if found call [number]” scrawled on it marker pen. “One can never be too careful,” jokes Cole.
The man will appear in Maroochydore magistrates’ court on 29 September on drug possession charges.
“One can never be too careful”
More than 6,300 people attended the one-day festival, which was headlined by local heroes Alison Wonderland, Bernard Fanning, the Presets and Gang of Youths.
Police made 52 drug-related arrests at the festival, although Maroochydore police’s Matt Robertson said attendees were, on the whole, well behaved. “Unfortunately however, several individuals were spoken to relating to drug matters,” said Senior Sergeant Robertson.
A recent study analysing more than 25,000 records from PillReports.net found Australia’s ecstasy is among the least pure in the world, with pills containing on average just 16% MDMA.
‘Touring is expensive’: Aus promoter goes under
Fledgling Australian concert promoter Southern Stars Touring has become insolvent, liquidator David Clout & Associates has confirmed.
Southern Stars, founded in Brisbane in November 2016 to tour international rock acts in regional Australia, appointed David Clout’s Patricia Tolty as liquidator on Monday 12 June, according to a notice filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
The business ran into trouble after stormy weather forced the partial cancellation of a Beach Boys–Temptations double-header in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, on 11 February.
“They needed more ticket sales. They only did about six shows”
According to the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, Southern Stars, led by promoter and director Steve Scherri, owes local businesses around A$700,000 (US$532,000) owing to a combination of the postponed show and lower-than-expected ticket sales for the tour.
Wayne Sims, who operates hire company Riverina Audio and Light, is owed $1,375. He tells the paper: “They needed more ticket sales. They only did about six shows.
“It’s a shame, but this stuff happens. Touring is an expensive business.”