Australian News 5/17

The latest concert news from Downunder.


Splendour Sells Out In 5 Hours

The Splendour In The Grass festival sold out its 17,500 event tickets and 2,500 camping tickets five hours after going on sale May 14.

Organisers Secret Service and Village Sounds said it was a record.

Responding to last year’s ticket demand, ticketing agency Oztix upscaled its IT infrastructure and call center to cope, but peak load onto the system far outstripped last years’ demand by more than 100 percent, said Joel Dickson, IT Manager for Oztix.

The festival, held August 4-5 at Belongil Fields in NSW’s Byron Bay, will host Arctic Monkeys, Powderfinger, Kaiser Chiefs, Hilltop Hoods, Bloc Party, Hoodoo Gurus, Lily Allen, Grinspoon, and The Cat Empire.

More artists will be announced in June.

Promoters were pleased that 31 percent of consumers took them up on their "Green Ticket," which, for an extra $3.50, included train fare to and from the site.


Illness Sidelines Morrison

U.K. singer James Morrison’s Australian tour was marred by severe laryngitis.

He canceled his May 8 Melbourne show, soldiered through two Sydney shows but axed Brisbane’s May 13 show and Auckland’s May 15 show after an emergency meeting with a throat specialist.

Morrison told promoter Frontier Touring he is devastated and plans to return soon.


Aussie Live Earth Show

Cugg Entertainment’s Michael Chugg, ARIA awards producer Mark Pope and IMC’s Joe Segreto have teamed for the Australian show of the seven-city series of Live Earth shows in July.

Crowded House, Jack Johnson, Wolfmother, John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins, Eskimo Joe, Sneaky Sound System, Paul Kelly, Ghostwriters, Toni Collette & The Finish, and Blue King Brown will play the Aussie Stadium in Sydney.


Bon Scott Raises $50K For SAL

A concert held in February to raise money for a bronze statue of the late AC/DC singer Bon Scott to be erected in Fremantle in Western Australia raised more than expected.

More than 10,000 went to the Claremont Showground, Perth, to see The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Party Boys, and Screaming Jets, among others.

Concert organisers Buzz Bidstrup and Marcus Ahern donated the surplus $50,000 to Support Act Ltd., which helps musicians and execs in financial and health hardship.


Wannabe Rapper Charged

Aspiring rapper Lace Italiano (real name: Jade Lacey), 24, and his younger brother Dionne were charged with the murder of 23-year old landscape labourer Kevin Palmer.

The two went on the run for two days before turning themselves in. Lacey’s multi-millionaire dad Ken sold his $17 million mansion on Mermaid Beach, Queensland, to finance his son’s rap career.

Lacey’s run-ins with the law included possessing drugs and a gun silencer, driving without a license, giving a false name to police and assaulting his girlfriend’s hairdresser because he wasn’t happy with her $1,600 hairstyle.


Heavy Riffers Head Downunder

Frontier Touring firmed its third Taste of Chaos tour. The Used, Aiden, Escape The Fate, The Bled, and Gallows will play six arena shows October 19-28.

Chugg Entertainment announced three Sparta club shows July 20-22, four theatre dates for HellYeah June 29 to July 3, and three college / theatre shows for British band Bullet For My Valentine September 4-7.

Dinosaur Jr. will return for nine college and theatre shows for Feel Presents July 5-14.

Blue Murder is teaming Unearth, Mindsnare and Walls of Jericho for eight club and school shows July 19-27.


Country Acts Head To Nashville

A contingent of Aussie country acts are heading to Nashville in June to take part in the 2007 CMA Music Festival.

They include: Newcastle-based singer and guitarist Morgan Evans, Adam Harvey, 19-year-old Briana Lee, Travis Collins, who was selected by the Commercial Radio Association of Australia to represent country music at their annual convention, Newcastle-based Troy Kemp, Mark O’Shea, and Beccy Cole.

While in Nashville, several will collaborate with writers and producers to record songs for release in their home territories.

Several U.S.-based Australians – Catherine Britt, Jedd Hughes and Kate Russell – will perform on the festival stages. Expatriate Australian and Nashville resident Mark Moffatt will serve as Music Coordinator for both the Global Artist Party and the AristoMedia Global Acoustic Afternoon.


Short Notes

The Sydney Opera House announced that CEO Norman Gillespie will not be extending his five-year, $280,000-per-year contract. Press reports linked his retirement to the promotion last May of his girlfriend Claire Swaffield from the finance department after three years to her post of chief information officer. The Opera House insists that investigations found that her promotion was above board, with the appointment made by an external recruitment company.

Five music biz execs were hospitalised in the same week: Sydney manager Glen Burns of Idle Threats Entertainment, after a serious car accident; Jimmy Barnes for further tests after he went back on tour too soon after his open-heart surgery in February; 23-year-old Sunshine Coast musician Ryan Toohey after his car crashed into a telephone pole, leaving him with severe head and leg injuries; Shakir, head of SexBeatRecords, for burst appendix; and music journalist and Dili Allstars singer Paul Stewart, to get a liver transplant.

Chart-topping hip-hopping trio Hilltop Hoods drew 7,200 fans when they performed at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre with 31 members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The show was filmed for a CD and DVD, co-manager Dylan Liddy told Pollstar. The venue’s attendance record of 7,500 was set by Cold Chisel in 1998.

Friends of promoter Michael Chugg are planning a huge birthday bash for him in Thailand.