Summer Sounds reveals Covid-safe ‘party pods’
The organisers behind Australia’s new festival series, Secret Sounds, have revealed the Covid-safe ‘party pods’ that are designed to keep attendees socially distanced during the events.
The festival – which is organised by Secret Sounds, the Live Nation-promoter behind Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival – will kick off tomorrow (8 January) in Adelaide’s Bonython Park and will run until 31 January.
The format of the event will utilise ‘party pods’ which event director Daniel Michael has said are based on the socially distanced viewing platforms in the Virgin Money Unity Arena in the UK, which was built in the summer.
Tickets for Summer Sounds are being sold in groups of four or six and each party will have to stay within their pod for the duration of the concert, apart from going to buy food or go the toilet. Attendees will be allowed to eat, drink and dance within their pod.
Organisers say that the 10,000-square-metre site will accommodate up to 2,000 fans each night
Attendees are given a 15-minute window in which to arrive to avoid queues forming, and will be issued a wristband with their pod number, so every person at the event will be traceable.
Organisers say that the 10,000-square-metre site will accommodate up to 2,000 fans each night.
Summer Sounds was originally set to start on 30 December but was delayed until 8 January because of travel restrictions between New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA), in response to Sydney’s coronavirus outbreaks.
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Due to the postponement of the event, organisers were forced to make amendments to the line-up.
Rapper Allday and pop-punk duo Towns will replace Jack River and Mercy, Merci for the 8 January show, while Tilly Tjala Thomas has been added to the 9 January lineup with Bernard Fanning and Something for Kate.
Fanning, a headline act, has been granted an SA Health exemption to travel from Byron Bay for the festival, as SA currently has a hard border closure with NSW.
Other artists performing through the series include Mallrat, Ruel, Cub Sport, Lime Cordiale, Baker Boy, The Chats, Spacey Jane and Ball Park Music.
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Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds unveils new event
The Live Nation-owned company has teamed up with Adelaide-based promoters Five Four Entertainment and Groove to deliver a concert series featuring more than 20 shows which kicks off in the late December summer season.
Timmy Trumpet, Lime Cordiale, Hot Dub Time Machine, The Jungle Giants, The Veronicas, Ocean Alley, Human Nature, Bernard Fanning, Mallrat, Spiderbait, Hayden James, Ball Park Music, Dune Rats will perform at Bonython Park/Tulya Wodli between 30 December and 30 January.
Each concert will feature party pods, which have been described as ‘an island oasis for a group of 4 or 6 people’ that is ‘decked out with its own esky of pre-ordered drinks and tasty snacks’. The event has been approved by South Australia health officials.
Each concert will feature party pods, which have been described as ‘an island oasis for a group of 4 or 6 people’
The announcement follows the news that Secret Sounds recently received AU$1.5 million from the federal government’s RISE fund to develop a new festival in 2021 ‘that would keep audiences connected while also reaching new audiences across Australia and overseas’.
Live Nation bought a majority stake in the New South Wales-based company in 2016, acquiring a 51% stake in Splendour in the Grass and Falls, as well as its touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and agency divisions.
The 2020 Splendour festival was called off in June and will instead now go ahead next year with headliners, Gorillaz.
Meanwhile, though the December/January Falls Festival events were set to move forward with an all-Australian line-up, they were also called off in August.
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Aus festivals receive share of gov’s $75m Rise fund
The promoters behind Australian festivals including Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival are among the first recipients of the federal government’s AU$75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (Rise) fund.
The fund is part of the government’s $250 m Creative Economy Support Package to help restart activities such as festivals, concerts, tours and events once it is safe to do so.
Music festivals in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria were among the first recipients of the Rise fund, with Byron Bay Bluesfest receiving $1 m for its 2021 event to run between 1–5 April over the Easter long weekend.
The event, which normally draws 100,000 patrons, was cancelled this year when Covid restrictions came into effect, weeks before it was expected to go ahead.
An economic impact report showed that the cancellation of Byron Bay Bluesfest deprived the state of New South Wales of over $200m and 1,150 jobs.
This week, Bluesfest revealed that it has dropped all international names from its bill and is debuting a completely domestic lineup featuring Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley and more. The festival revealed that four months out, 70% of tickets have been sold.
Other NSW recipients include Secret Sounds, the promoters behind Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival (both of which were cancelled this year), which will receive $1.5 m to develop a new festival ‘that would keep audiences connected while also reaching new audiences across Australia and overseas’.
“My message to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector is – we want you back out there doing what you do best”
Reportedly, the new festival will be among the additional events that Secret Sounds has applied to host at the Byron Parklands site.
In the first round, NSW has received $17.8 m which will go to 28 organisations while Victoria has received $20 m for 48 projects.
Successful applicants in Victoria include Melbourne International Arts Festival/Rising ($1.48 m); Melbourne Fringe ($275,000); and Castlemaine State Festival in regional Victoria ($172,900).
The arts sector has expressed impatience with the minister’s office over the time it has taken to announce the recipients. A full list is to be published by the Office for the Arts in mid-December.
“As well as generating jobs and income, the Rise fund means there will be lots of shows that Australians can go and see – and that’s good news for all of us after a tough year,” says minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts, Paul Fletcher.
“And my message to Australia’s artists and performers, to backstage crew, to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector, is – we want you back out there doing what you do best, and Rise is going to really help that happen.”
The federal government has also published a roadmap for “reactivating live performance venues and events” in Australia. The guidelines break up the return to live music into three steps, though it delegates decision making on capacities to state jurisdictions. It projects an ultimate return to standing concerts only in outdoor and “mixed” performance spaces.
Festivals are also projected to make their return after the final step, with restrictions.
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“Regret” as promoters call off Sound Relief 2020
Sound Relief, a concert series co-organised by major Australian promoters in aid of wildfire relief, will not go ahead ahead as planned.
Earlier today, the Sound Relief team, consisting of Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, IMC Music HQ and Secret Sounds, announced that the charity concert series would not happen.
“It is with regret that the organisers of Sound Relief have decided not to proceed with concerts in March as originally planned,” reads a Facebook post.
“Since announcing our intention to undertake Sound Relief 2020 the offer of assistance from international and domestic artists, industry, media and suppliers has been second to none.
“However Sound Relief is a series of concert events that we don’t wish to stage lightly and after careful consideration, we believe proceeding with the concerts in March won’t produce the impactful result that we believe these events can – and should – have.”
“Discussions for any future event are shifting to restoration, recovery and prevention and a view to maximising results to best benefit these areas”
The organisers add that there is “no overnight fix” for the issues the country is facing and state that “discussions for any future event are subsequently shifting to restoration, recovery and prevention and a view to maximising results to best benefit these areas.”
The fires have been raging through southern and eastern Australia since September 2019, burning over ten million hectares of land.
Sound Relief first took place in 2009, organised by Chugg Entertainment, Frontier Touring, and others, to provide relief from Victorian bushfires and flooding in Queensland. The concerts featured performances from the likes of Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon, as well as many local acts.
Fire Fight Australia, a benefit concert organised by TEG Dainty and TEG Live, is taking place on Sunday 16 February, at the ANZ Stadium (83,500-cap.) in Sydney. Queen and Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, 5 Seconds of Summer, Michael Bublé, Hilltop Hoods and Olivia Newton-John are among acts playing the all-day event, which sold over 65,000 tickets in under five hours earlier this month.
A limited number of tickets for Fire Fight Australia are available here.
65k tickets sold in under 5 hours for TEG benefit
All general admission tickets for TEG Dainty and TEG Live’s upcoming bushfire benefit concert have sold out, as the promoters record an “overwhelming demand” for the Queen- and Alice Cooper-fronted event.
According to a statement from organisers, over 65,000 tickets had been sold for Fire Fight Australia, a nine-hour concert raising funds to provide relief from the Australian wildfires, within five hours of release.
The promoters state they are now working together with Sydney’s 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium, where the event is taking place from 1 p.m. on Sunday 16 February, to push sales over the 70,000 mark.
All profits from concert ticket will be donated to rural and regional fire services, the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery programme and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Bushfire Appeal.
Queen and Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Olivia Newton-John, Peking Duk, John Farnham and Hilltop Hoods are among acts performing at the event
Queen and Adam Lambert, who are performing a sold-out show at the stadium the previous night, will appear alongside Alice Cooper, Olivia Newton-John, Peking Duk, John Farnham and Hilltop Hoods at the event, which is hosted by Australian comedian Celeste Barber, the initiator of a AU$50 million (US$34.5m) Facebook fundraising drive for bushfire relief.
Fire Fight Australia is one of a number of benefit concerts taking place in Australia in aid of bushfire relief. Details of Sound Relief 2020, a concert organised by leading Australian promoters Chugg Entertainment, Frontier Touring, Live Nation Australia, Secret Sounds and IMC Music HQ, will be released soon.
Live Nation’s Australian businesses – Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, Secret Sounds, Ticketmaster Australia and Moshtix – today (13 January) pledged $500,000 to bushfire relief.
A limited number of tickets for the TEG event are still available via the Ticketek website. Tickets are priced at AU$70 ($48), $85 ($59) and $100 ($69). Fans can make an additional donation to bushfire relief here.
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…
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”
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”
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.
Strip searches at SITG may be “unjustifiable”
A public inquiry into police conduct at last year’s Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia has found that 143 strip searches were carried out over the three-day event, including on seven minors.
According to the inquiry, illegal items were found on 12 of the 143 who were strip searched.
The New South Wales Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) opened the four-day inquiry to investigate the potentially unlawful strip search of a 16-year-old girl at the 2018 festival.
Police regulations in NSW state that a parent, guardian or support person must be present whenever an individual under the age of 18 is strip searched.
The inquiry found that the girl was one of six minors to be strip searched at the festival without a parent, guardian, or other supervising adult present.
It was also revealed that staff including shopkeepers and bar workers were also strip searched at the event. None were found with illegal items.
According to the inquiry, illegal items were found on 12 of the 143 who were strip-searched
Under NSW law, police can only carry out field strip searches if the “urgency and seriousness of the situation requires it”.
When questioned at the inquiry, a senior constable who performed 19 such searches at Splendour in the Grass said they could not “think of any” circumstance which would necessitate a strip search at a music festival.
Splendour in the Grass promoter Secret Sounds tells IQ that the team is “learning of these searches along with the general public”. The promoter is unable to comment further as the inquiry is ongoing.
The New South Wales festival celebrated record ticket sales for its 2019 event, which took place from 19 to 21 July at its site in North Byron Bay Parklands with performances from Tame Impala, Childish Gambino and the Lumineers.
Splendour in the Grass and fellow Secret Sounds-promoted festival Falls are part of a coalition of events threatening to leave NSW, after the government reintroduced “unworkable” festival legislation.
Forum Melbourne to be first fully digital venue in Oz
Forum Melbourne (2,000-cap.) will be the first venue in Australia to adopt a fully mobile ticketing service, powered by Ticketmaster.
The partnership between Ticketmaster and Marriner Group will allow the venue operator to utilise the latest tool in Ticketmaster’s portfolio, offering fans an easy and secure ticketing system.
“Digital ticketing is the future and our partnership with Marriner Group is another step in our mission to put mobile first,” says Maria O’Connor, managing director of Ticketmaster Australia and New Zealand.
“Getting the technology live across all shows at the iconic Forum Melbourne is a huge milestone in this journey making fans lives easier,” adds O’Connor. “By replacing paper and print-at-home tickets we can speed up venue access, while also protecting venues against fraud and enhancing security overall.”
The launch of mobile ticketing at Forum Melbourne follows a successful roll out of digital tickets for the Harry Potter And The Cursed Child theatre shows at Marriner Group’s Princess Theatre in Melbourne.
“Getting the technology live across all shows at the iconic Forum Melbourne is a huge milestone in this journey making fans lives easier”
Speaking of the experience at Princess Theatre, Marriner Group director Kayely Marriner comments: “The platform is extremely user-friendly and convenient.”
The first events to go on sale at Forum Melbourne with 100% digital tickets will be shows for Maribou State, James Blake and Tycho, promoted by Secret Sounds.
“Innovating is critical to us here at Secret Sounds,” says co-chief executive. Paul Piticco. “A fully digital ticketing system means less scalping, safe and easy transfer to friends, and a better environmental outcome by not printing or producing tickets. We are in!”
As part of its digital ticketing service, Ticketmaster recently launched SafeTix in the United States. SafeTix issues tickets with encrypted, automatically refreshing barcodes, preventing duplication and allowing organisers to identify each attendee at their event.
Biggest sell-out ever for Splendour in the Grass
The 19th edition of Australia’s Splendour in the Grass Music and Arts Festival today celebrated its largest on sale to date, selling out a record 42,500 tickets in six hours through ticketing partner Moshtix.
Splendour, promoted by Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds, sold 7,500 more tickets than last year, after announcing an increased capacity for its permanent site in North Byron Bay Parklands, New South Wales. The festival also introduced an installment payment option for this year’s event.
Parklands, home to fellow Secret Sounds-run festival Falls, applied for permission to become a permanent 50,000-capacity festival venue in January, receiving approval in March. The site is now the permanent home for Splendour and Falls.
“We’re stoked to announce that we’ve sold a record amount of tickets this year after months of planning and hard work by our wonderful team,” say event producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco.
“We’re so grateful to see the continued passion and loyalty for Splendour in the Grass. We’re looking forward to sharing our forever home at the North Byron Parklands with more fans than ever before in 2019.”
The line-up for this year’s festival includes headline acts Chance the Rapper, Tame Impala and Childish Gambino, who are joined by Foals, Catfish and the Bottlemen, James Blake and the Lumineers.
“We’re so grateful to see the continued passion and loyalty for Splendour in the Grass”
Ducrou and Piticco also thank Splendour’s long-time ticketing partner Moshtix for “delivering a seamless on sale”.
“The continuity they [Moshtix] offer our fans makes things easier for everyone involved,” comment the event producers, urging those who missed out on tickets to utilise the Moshtix resale facility.
“For many years now, the [resale] platform has allowed us to minimise the potential for scalping and ensure that our true fans are treated fairly and given the best opportunity to secure tickets,” add Ducrou and Piticco.
Moshtix managing director Harley Evans says the company is “proud” to be able to provide an authorised mechanism for ticket resale that “does the right thing by the fans.”
“This is Moshtix’s 10th year working on Splendour in the Grass,” says Evans. “It’s been a great privilege working with Jess, Paul and their amazing team knowing they always put the fans’ interests at the forefront of everything they do.”
The International Ticketing Yearbook 2018 lists Moshtix as one of several significant independent ticketing companies operating in Australia. Ticketmaster acquired the ticketing provider in February 2019.
Fans that missed out on Splendour in the Grass tickets can sign up to the resale waiting list here.
Mark Gibbons joins Brisbane’s Fortitude as head booker
The Fortitude Music Hall is Brisbane’s newest and biggest entertainment precinct, set to open its doors later this year. The latest addition to the Fortitude team is Sydney-based booker Mark Gibbons, who joins as head of bookings. Gibbons will also oversee bookings at well-established Brisbane venue, the Triffid (800-cap.).
The Live Nation-backed, 3,300-capacity Fortitude Music Hall is the fruit of a project by former Powderfinger bassist John ‘JC’ Collins and co-founder of Australian promoter Secret Sounds, Paul Piticco. The team hopes the venue will attract top-quality acts to Australia’s third city, with the help of Gibbons as head booker.
Gibbons adds to the team’s already experienced line-up. The booker joins from Century Venues in Sydney where he gained six years’ experience booking some of the most iconic venues in the New South Wales capital (Enmore, Metro, Factory Theatre).
“I’m excited about working with Mark, his energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team”
“With the rapid growth and changes that Brisbane is undergoing, there’s a clear need in the city for a 3,000-plus-capacity venue,” says Gibbons. “As soon as JC shared his vision with me I was excited to be part of it.”
Collins, who is the director of smaller Brisbane venue the Triffid, echoes the sentiment. “I’m excited about working with Mark, his expertise in booking multiple venues will be a massive asset for both the Triffid and the Fortitude Music Hall.”
“His energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team.”
The Fortitude Music Hall will showcase state-of-the-art production, while paying homage to the iconic Brisbane venue Festival Hall, which occupied the same space in Fortitude Valley from 1959 to 2003.