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Falls Festival organisers halt site move plan

Plans to find a new home in Victoria for Australia’s long-running Falls Festival have fallen through after organisers withdrew from the planning process.

Promoter Secret Sounds had previously announced the travelling festival would move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, local farmers raised concerns over the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms and launched an appeal against the decision, which was due to be heard in February and March. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that organisers have now decided to withdraw from the process.

“A small group of objectors opposed the planning permit approval for Falls Birregurra in Murroon, and applied to VCAT [Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal]  to put a halt to it,” says Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou. “Unfortunately, following initial compulsory mediation, the parties could not achieve a resolution.

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process”

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process. It has taken two years of consultation and planning permit approval processes to get to this point and despite support from the local community and Colac Otway Council, the process has been stalled by the objectors through VCAT.”

Dicrou adds that organisers will re-assess the VCAT approval process next year.

The travelling festival is relocating from regional Victoria for the first time in its 30-year history and is set for Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne from 29-31 December with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X and Chvrches.

Additional legs will also go ahead in Byron Bay (31 December 2022 to 2 January 2023) and Freemantle (7-8 January 2023).

 


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Australia’s Falls Festival forced to relocate

Australia’s Falls Festival is set to relocate from regional Victoria for the first time in its 30-year history.

The event, promoted by Live Nation-owned Secret Sounds, will now take place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X and CHVRCHES performing across two stages.

Secret Sounds had previously announced the event would move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, despite strong community support, an application was made to the Victorian civil and administrative tribunal by a group of locals appealing the decision.

A hearing date for the appeal had been set for February and March – after the event was scheduled to take place on 29–31 December – which prompted the relocation to Melbourne.

“Thanks so much for all the support from stakeholders, artists and all who contribute to Falls, we’re thrilled that the show will go on at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, ringing in the new year in downtown Melbourne,” the festival’s co-producer Jessica Ducrou said.

A hearing date for the appeal had been set for February and March – after the event was scheduled to take place

Among those opposed to the event being held at Birregurra are Colac farmers concerned about the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms.

Some told local media that noise and light from the show could potentially harm their livestock.

“We’ve heard all about the businesses that are going to benefit from this. But my business is farming,” the Gerangamete farmer Chris Roberts told the Surf Coast Times. “What are we going to get out of this festival going forward? I don’t know.”

The Colac Otway mayor, Kate Hanson, said the appeal application was a blow for the area.

“Council is disappointed for community groups and business owners who were looking forward to an increase in spending in the region this year,” Hanson said. “However, we’re pleased that Secret Sounds is still keen to continue to consider our shire for future Falls festival events.”

Ticket holders who are unable to attend the new venue in Melbourne can apply for a refund.

 


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Australia’s Secret Sounds plans new rock festival

Secrets Sounds, the Live Nation-owned promoter behind Australian festivals Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival, has announced a brand new annual rock festival.

Harvest Rock will debut on 19 and 20 November this year at Rymill & King Rodney Parks in Adelaide, South Australia.

Jack White and Kurt Vile will perform at the two-day event for what will be their only Australia shows this year.

They’re joined on the bill by Crowded House, The Black Crowes, Tones & I, Khruangbin, Groove Armada, Courtney Barnett, Sam Fender and Hot Chip.

“The inaugural Harvest Rock will bring both iconic and hot new international artists from around the world to downtown Adelaide, alongside an abundance of incredible talent from our own shores,” says Secret Sounds co-CEO and Harvest Rock producer Jessica Ducrou.

Jack White and Kurt Vile will perform at the two-day event for what will be their only Australia shows this year

“Presenting South Australia’s best in show food and wine offerings including cellar door pop-ups, a mash-up of chefs and musicians on our Feastiville Stage and Little Harvest for the kids, were excited to provide a festival with many different facets. We’re planning a good old-fashioned get-together with great music, food and wine, so come and experience Harvest Rock in all its glory.”

Events South Australia executive director Hitaf Rasheed adds: “The inaugural Harvest Rock in the heart of our city – the country’s only UNESCO City of Music – is going to be something to experience.

“It is fantastic that the festival also highlights our state’s world-class food and beverage, which will attract foodies to sample some of our finest produce in a unique atmosphere. This announcement is another example of events in South Australia returning, bigger and better than ever, with Harvest Rock set to be a staple in festival-goers’ calendars for many years to come.”

The Lumineers, The Avalanches, Genesis Owusu, The Living End, Cat Power, You Am I, Meg Mac, Marlon Williams, Holy Holy, Alex Cameron, Ruby Fields and Alien Stone are also set to perform at Harvest Rock.

Last month, Secret Sounds acquired Kicks Entertainment, a premier Australian event management company that founded Foreshore Festival, Warehouse Festival and flagship festival Spilt Milk.

 


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LN-owned Secret Sounds buys Kicks Entertainment

Secret Sounds, the Live Nation-owned promoter behind Australian festivals Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival, has acquired Kicks Entertainment.

Kicks is a premier Australian event management company which founded Foreshore Festival, Warehouse Festival and flagship festival Spilt Milk. The latter has sold out within minutes every year since its 2016 debut and has since expanded to three locations, Canberra, Ballarat and Gold Coast.

Financial terms of the deal between Secret Sounds and Kick Entertainment have not been disclosed.

“As festival and music fans ourselves, it’s exciting for us to have new partners that share our vision for event experiences that are fan-focused,” say Kicks Entertainment co-owners Jeff Drake and Ryan Sabet. “This partnership will evolve our conversations with artists and provide opportunities to activate venues and festivals that can house them. It will strengthen our ability to produce festival tours that deliver on our vision of ensuring quality over quantity.”

“[This] will strengthen our ability to produce festival tours that deliver on our vision of ensuring quality over quantity”

“Partnering with Secret Sounds and Live Nation is a natural step towards securing the future of new events and cementing those currently in the roster. The majority stake acquisition is also a boost for our loyal, local team. It brings new opportunities to enhance the already exceptional Kicks offerings and provides resources at an important time when fan experience is paramount.”

Secret Sounds co-CEOs Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, add: “We’ve admired Jeff and Ryan’s work for a long time, they are brilliant entrepreneurs and the next generation of Australian promoters.

“We’ve been super impressed with the way they deliver their events and the consistent growth they’ve achieved with Spilt Milk, including the addition of a Gold Coast show which promptly sold out within days. We are very excited about this partnership and we’re looking forward to combining all of our skillsets and knowledge to support Spilt Milk’s further growth in the future.”

Secret Sounds is enjoying a bountiful return to live events, with a sold-out Splendour in the Grass (cap 50,000), the ‘biggest Falls line-up ever’ featuring Lil Nas X and Arctic Monkeys, and a slate of sold-out tours including Gorillaz, The Strokes and Jack Harlow.

Live Nation bought a majority stake in the New South Wales-based company in 2016, acquiring a 51% stake in Splendour and Falls, as well as its touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and agency divisions.

 


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Live Nation teams on new 1,800-cap Australia venue

Live Nation has teamed with Secret Sounds, Five Four Entertainment, and the team behind Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall and The Triffid venues to launch a new live music venue in Adelaide, Australia.

Set to open in August, the 1,800-capacity Hindley Street Music Hall will also include a separate street level nightclub and restaurant, and will act as a hub for domestic and international touring artists.

The AUS$6 million (€3.9m) project is a large-scale redevelopment of the previous HQ nightclub and will create at least 60 jobs.

Secret Sounds co-founder and co-CEO Paul Piticco says the soon to be announced official launch party will be “a celebration of South Australia’s finest musical acts, both past and present as the focal point of the night”.

“South Australia is the State of Art and I have long-admired the value that SA puts on culture and social infrastructure,” says Piticco. “Our plan is to build one of the best music halls right here on Hindley Street, and to also do our bit filling it with the greatest local and international talent.”

Secret Sounds is Australia’s largest festival promoter, organising events such as Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Spin Off Festival and the new Harvest Rock Festival, and works on shows by with acts such as Mark Ronson, London Grammar, The Strokes, Gorillaz and Liam Gallagher.

“The venue will ensure the continued development of the city’s incredible live entertainment scene”

“I’m stoked to be bringing my experience and passion to a city I’ve always truly loved,” says venue director John Collins. “We’ve spent a lot of time on the design of the venue ensuring the relationship between the performer and the audience is the best it can be, and to create an incredibly intimate space where fans feel super close and connected to the artist. I want the Hindley St Music Hall to really contribute to Adelaide’s music culture and become an artist and fan-favourite for years to come.”

Live Nation already runs Australian venues including the Palais Theatre in Melbourne and Spark Arena in Auckland, and will assist the new site in attracting high calibre performers to South Australia.

“Hindley Street Music Hall will be a great new addition to our venues across Australia,” says Live Nation Asia Pacific president Roger Field. “The venue will ensure the continued development of the city’s incredible live entertainment scene and will attract amazing performances for local music fans to enjoy while also creating jobs for the local community.”

Five Four Entertainment, meanwhile, runs various large scale music festivals in South Australia, including Spin Off Festival and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, and opened the 500-cap Lion Arts Factory in 2019.

“As a proud South Australian who has worked in the local music industry for more than 10 years, I am extremely excited to be part of this project,” says Five Four founder Craig Lock. “Having a venue of this size and quality will no doubt increase the calibre of artists willing to play in SA. Music fans should be really excited about this venue cementing Adelaide as part of global touring circuit.”

The venue is preparing to host confirmed artists including Honne and Pub Choir, with a slew of international and domestic acts yet to be announced.

 


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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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A post shared by Summer Sounds Festival (@summersoundsfestivalaus)

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

Secret Sounds, the promoter behind Australian festivals Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival, has revealed details about its new Adelaide-based event, Summer Sounds.

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.

Photo: Jana Beamer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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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.

 


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