Australian News 8/9

Big Day Out, Pink, Helpmanns, the Wiggles, club and hotel licensing fees, NZ Ice Cube ban, Darwin club lockouts, Christina Aguilera, …


Big Day Out, Pink Win At Helpmanns

Big Day Out took home the award for best contemporary music festival at the Helpmann Awards August 6. It was up against East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, WOMADelaide, and St. Jeromes Laneway Festival.

The Helpmann Awards, named after the late dancer and actor Sir Robert Helpmann, is similar to the Oliviers in London and the Tonys in New York. It covers theatre, ballet, dance, classical, and opera, among others. There were four contemporary music categories.

Pink’s "I’m Not Dead" tour, brought downunder by Michael Coppel Presents, won for best international contemporary concert. She was up against Robbie Williams’ "Close Encounters," Chick Corea and Gary Burton with the Sydney Symphony and Lou Reed’s presentation of "Berlin" at the Sydney Festival.


Wiggles Sued

Australian merchandising company Gaffney International Licensing is suing the Wiggles for unpaid commissions.

Fred Gaffney, who says he was the band’s "exclusive agent" in Australia and New Zealand between 2004 and January 2007, claims he is entitled to a portion of the income from licensing deals his company struck for the band, including with toys, cosmetics, cookies, kidswear and airport luggage manufacturers.

According to the writ filed in the Victorian Supreme Court, Gaffney is entitled to 30 percent commission on all Australian and New Zealand deals of more than $1.25 million and 15 percent of those from North America, according to The Age.

Gaffney claims the deal was for the company to continue earning commissions as long as the license deals were in place, even if the Wiggles did not pick up its option in January when the deal was set to be renewed. The case is listed for January 17.


Music Venues Launch Court Action

The hotel and nightclub industries launched a Federal Court appeal to the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia’s win to raise its licensing fee.

Last month, the Copyright Tribunal allowed the PPCA, which represents record labels and recording artists, to raise the fees in nightclubs from 7 cents per person to $1.05, and to $3.07 at dance parties.

The sector says the fees will send it broke. The PPCA scoffs at such suggestions, arguing that a club that charges $10 entry, $5 a drink and $2 for coat service should not be complaining about paying more for its main attraction.


Call For NZ Ban On Ice Cube

New Zealand mayoral candidate Len Brown has called for the cancellation of an Ice Cube show set for August 22 in Auckland.

Brown said it would inspire more violence in a community beset with youth gangs, saying, "We don’t need a gangsta rapper working against the future interests of our young."

Brown called on the venue’s owners Telstra-Pacific to axe the show and "show commitment to the community they serve."

Promoter Camille Anderson dismissed Brown’s call as an electioneering gimmick. At press time it appeared the show was still on.


3 a.m. Lockouts For Darwin?

The Licensing Commission is looking into imposing a 3 a.m. lockout for Darwin’s eight nightclubs.

Police say most violence happens when drunken men move from club to club. Under new proposals, clubs could stay open until 5:30 a.m. but stop new patrons from coming in two hours before.

After that they only serve soft drinks and water and play chill music.


Aguilera Axes NZ Shows

After canceling her last two Australian shows in Melbourne, flu-stricken (and four-month pregnant) Christina Aguilera hoped to do the two final dates on her "Back To Basics" world tour in New Zealand.

But the two shows at Auckland’s Vector Arena were canceled – the first only two hours before showtime.

"She just couldn’t get out of bed," promoter Brent Eccles explained.

Dancers were rehearsing onstage and fans who traveled from other cities were at the gates when news came through. About 18,000 tickets were sold in NZ.


Tickettek Sale

Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. completed the sale of Ticketek and the management rights to Acer Arena to PBL Media for $210 million.

PBL Media is 25 percent owned by PBL and 75 percent by private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific.


New Rules For Bouncers

New South Wales introduced new regulations governing security guards and bouncers, effective September 1.

Those convicted of violence, drugs or firearms offenses, participating in criminal gangs, stalking and intimidation, riot or terrorism will be denied licenses.

Those entering the industry will be on probation. For the first 12 months employers must document their work routines and complete a performance review.


Gillespie Leaves Opera House

Sydney Opera House chief executive Norman Gillespie has left his position a month before his five-year contract expired.

Controversy surfaced over his relations with staff and his personal relationship with a member of the executive team, Claire Swaffield.

Gillespie was previously deputy chief executive of Optus.


Kylie Parties Like It’s 1987

Kylie Minogue’s 20th anniversary bash to celebrate signing her record deal and teaming with manager Terry Blamey was held August 3 at the posh Fulham Palace in London.

Only 100 made the guest list. Among them were Michael Gudinski, Warner A&R chief Michael Parisi, Natalie Imbruglia, sister Dannii Minogue, Jason Donovan, her first record producer Pete Waterman and Brit TV personality June Sarpong.

Minogue turned up in a white gown and danced with the others to ’80s club hits. The bar bill came to $12,500.


Short Notes

After touring here this year for Big Day Out, Brit band Muse returns for Lees and West in November with their largest Aussie tour yet. They do five arenas stops November 10-21.

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara return for Scorpion Entertainment and Custom-Made Touring for four theatre shows December 10-15.

Veteran festival production and site manager Nathaniel Holmes joined Jam Music as Events Promoter.

Among names at the August 14 Urban Music Awards, at Sydney’s Luna Park are U.S. artists The Game, Naughty by Nature and Thara.

Korean pop star Rain is scheduled to visit here in October.

Sydney live music venue Bar Broadway is up for sale, with its entertainment license touted as a selling point.

Red Bull Energy drinks is suing Penrith nightclub The Blue’s owner Tony Short, claiming he is using rival Rhino’s products when customers ask for Red Bull.