Australian News 8/6

Festivals On The Move

Two of Australia’s biggest music festivals are on the move.

The East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival in Byron Bay will move to nearby Belongil Fields next Easter. The larger space will allow an extra stage and a seated, covered food court. The move is for 2008 only, as the festival has already bought another site.

And this year’s Splendour In The Grass played its last on Belongil Fields, its home for six years. It filed a development application to move to its new site in Yelgun, which can hold 22,500, as opposed to the 17,500 capacity of its former home.

But Splendour faces resistance in getting approval for its new site, with nearby residents expressing concern about the festival’s impact on wildlife and about the behaviour of festivalgoers.


Angels Land In Court

The Angels landed in the New South Wales Supreme Court over the use of the name. Original singer Doc Neeson recently won an injunction to stop the other four original members from touring and recording as The Angels Band.

Neeson was in a horrific car crash in 1999 that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound.

Neeson says in 2003, the five original members agreed not to use the name again.

The matter is due back in court October 3, with both parties reportedly hoping to settle the case before then.


Smoke Bans Lead To Club Boom

Pubs and clubs in New South Wales are experiencing a mini-boom since smoke bans were introduced in July, according to a state government study.

It found that 26 percent of adults in the state were returning to weekly pub visits, compared with 21 percent before the ban.

Non-smokers say they are no longer repulsed by smoke and bad smells. Clubs NSW claims revenue has dropped by about 8 percent but admits it is focusing more on meals as families return.

Clubs in NSW have spent $422 million over 18 months to create outdoor smoking areas.


Daft Punk In Neverland

Modular Tours and Michael Coppel Presents have teamed to bring Daft Punk downunder to play four open-air locations as part of the Never Ever Land tour.

Described by the promoters as "a utopian dreamland, a one day live show and party from the future featuring magical music from a seemingly faraway place," Never Ever Land also features The Presets, Sebastian and Kevinsky, Muscles, and The Bang Gang Deejays.

The tour stops at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, The Esplanade in Perth, The Riverstage in Brisbane and Sydney Showground December 14-22.

In other tours, Chugg Entertainment is bringing Kings Of Leon for their first headline tour downunder, with eight club and festival stops December 30 to January 12.

For "Zappa Plays Zappa," Dweezil Zappa plays the music of his father Frank, with a band of Zappa alumni including guitarist Steve Vai and singer Ray White. It will make four theatre stops November 27 to December 3.

Handsome Tours has G Love returning solo for eight club shows October 4-12. His last visit, in October 2006, was a sellout.

Illusive Entertainment and Frontier Touring have Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli and New Zealand MC Scribe co-headlining five club dates October 7-13. Opening for the pair are experimental hip-hop duo DJ Zeph & Azeem of San Francisco.

The banner name of "Get Served" sees Omarion, Marques Houston and Avant locked in for three arena dates November 7-9.


NZ Gets Hall Of Fame

New Zealand gets its own Music Hall of Fame as a joint initiative by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand and Australian Performing Right Association.

However, this year there are two inaugurations – both associations set up their own hall of fame before they realised they should merge.

The first is this month at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards, with the other at the New Zealand Music Awards in October.


Gudinski Sets Up ‘Super’ Promo Dept

Mushroom Group of Companies chairman Michael Gudinski revamped his publicity with the formation of the 11-person Mushroom Group Promotions.

It merges the PR teams of Frontier Touring Company and his four record companies, under Reegan Stark.

Gudinski said tour promoters are stronger with metropolitan media while labels have a stronger promo reach in regional areas.


Bjorn Again’s ABBA Yabba Do

Internationally renowned ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again played two shows at the

Sydney Opera House late July to celebrate the band’s 18th anniversary, which coincidentally was also the 30th anniversary of ABBA’s Australian tour.

The act extends its celebrations with seven more national dates September 15 to March 8.

Bjorn Again has some high-profile fans. Nirvana threatened to pull out of the Reading Festival unless they were added, Russell Crowe booked them for his wedding in 2003 and ABBA flew them to Sweden for a function.


Short Items

Former MTV presenter Meg Horan took over bookings at Sydney’s Annandale Hotel. She can be reached at [email protected] and 612-9557-2166.

As part of New Zealand’s Safety Week beginning September 3, authorities dropped in at nightclubs through the country to tell owners to turn down the volume to protect staff, and remind them they could face a maximum fine of $250,000.