Australian News 10/5

Bidding A Billion For RATM

An Australian fan put in a bid of $1 billion for two tickets to Rage Against The Machine’s shows downunder in January, but it was not due to excitement at the band’s return after 11 years.

It was instead an attempt to sabotage scalpers. The band’s two shows – at the 12,400-capacity Sydney Entertainment Centre on January 22 and the 4,890-capacity Melbourne Festival Hall on January 30 – sold out in seconds.

Within minutes, they appeared on the online auction house eBay, with $111 tickets going for five times the face value.

Enraged fans who had queued outside ticket offices for 12 hours retaliated by opening bogus accounts and putting in false bids.

Things calmed down when the tour’s promoter, Lees and West, later announced that Rage Against The Machine will also be one of the headliners of the company’s six-city Big Day Out festival January 18 to February 3, which sells 250,000 tickets.

The billion-dollar bogus bid was taken down by eBay.


Jacobsen’s Announces ATE Board

Sydney-based theatrical entrepreneur and venue manager Michael Jacobsen sure moves in some powerful circles.

Eighteen months ago, when he launched Arena Travel and Entertainment (ATE) with former Sydney’s Capitol Theatre GM Ricky Schutte, he brought in former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke as a board director.

Jacobsen and Schutte have added to the board renowned venue operator Ross Cunningham; Michele Bribosia, a founder of niche ticketing company Showbiz International; and capital markets expert and corporate financier Chad Karpes.

Film, television, telecommunication and advertising specialised lawyer Ian Robertson was brought on as an executive adviser.

The board was put in place as ATE plans to expand abroad. The first 18 months has seen quicker-than-expected growth, Jacobsen said, with big name musicals including "Miss Saigon," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Billy Elliot."

Some entrepreneurs have widened ATE’s services by asking the company to not only market and work the publicity for their shows but also source entertainment for their venues or run aspects of their theatres. Jacobsen told Pollstar that he expects to open ATE offices in the U.S., U.K. and Asia over the next 24 months.

The push into Asia has already begun, with ATE handling the logistics for the Queen musical "We Will Rock You" through Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Thailand, and the U.K. production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in Singapore.

Schutte says that having a former prime minister like Hawke on board has been essential to the company’s growth: "He can literally pick up the phone and call any government and corporate leader for assistance."


Red Tape Cut For NSW Clubs

The New South Wales government has changed entertainment regulations that will make it easier for venues to showcase music.

Under the old rules, a venue had to seek council approval and then spend hefty costs and time to get a planning stamp to cover health and safety concerns.

Now a ground floor with a capacity of less than 300 will have no problem booking bands and comedy acts.

Larger rooms will have a one-page list to tick off, which will be approved of in less than two weeks. John Wardle, industrial organizer in the music section of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said he expects an explosion of new clubs.


A Taste Of Money

Kylie Minogue was the highest-ranked live entertainer to make Business Review Weekly’s annual list of Australia’s 100 wealthiest people under the age of 40.

The London-based singer ranked No. 22 with an estimated fortune of $66 million. At No. 60 and No. 67, respectively, were former Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes ($30 million) and guitarist Daniel Jones ($28 million).

Keith Urban, who has lived in Nashville for the past 10 years, ranked No, 75 with an estimated $25 million. Urban’s actress wife, Nicole Kidman, was No. 2 overall, worth $237 million.


Residents Protest Splendour Move

A large group of residents protested a planned move by the Splendour In The Grass festival to their area in Yelgun, near Byron Bay.

They argued that 20,000 Splendour patrons would put a strain on Yelgun’s roads, shopping and wildlife.

One speaker warned of an increase in drunken driving, loud noise, drugs and sexual violence.

Splendour In The Grass reps elected not to appear. They said in a statement that the fact it was billed a "protest meeting" meant there would not be a proper exchange of "frank and constructive exchange of factual information" and that they’d be happy to talk with anyone "interested in constructive dialogue."


Short Notes

The Hard Rock Cafés in Melbourne and Sydney will close temporarily while they find new homes after their leases run out. The Malaysian investor who owns the building that housed the Sydney HRC for 20 years decided to sell it. The Melbourne HRC has been at the upmarket Windsor Hotel for 12 years. Its owners want to turn the space into a ballroom. A third HRC, on the Gold Coast, is unaffected.

The Go-Betweens will be the first act to be featured in Brisbane’s rock and roll Walk of Fame in Brunswick Street Mall, said its deputy mayor David Hinchcliffe.The Waifs’ first show on their current tour ended with Donna Simpson being hospitalised after falling down some stairs coming off stage. Her head injuries required stitches.

Tourism Victoria entered a three-year cooperative marketing program with the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, worth $130,000 over the three years. The festival takes place November 2-5 and has won the Victorian Tourism Award for regional events three times.

Kim Ransley was named Managing Director of ORiGiN Theatrical effective immediately. Ransley has been General Manager of ORiGiN Theatrical since its inception in 2004. Previously Ransley was General Manager of Warner Chappell Theatrical (Australia).

Dave Evans, the pre-Bon Scott singer of AC/DC, was added to the Bon Scott Celebration Concert CD and DVD launch. He will front the Party Boys after Dave Gleeson of the Screaming Jets had to pull out.

It was a tough decision for Evans, as his album Sinner has just been released in America, where he lives. But he said it was too great an honour to pass up. He leaves the U.S. on October 13 for rehearsals, does the show on Oct 19 and rushes back Stateside for promo duties for his album.

A Melbourne Magistrates Court case involving Emily Craig, a former barmaid at the Evolution nightclub who served a drunken patron a shot of Pine O’Cleen detergent "as a practical joke," was adjourned to February 4.

In the meantime, Ben Lucas, former security officer at the Andergrove Tavern nightclub in Mackay, got angry when plainclothes policemen dealt with three men who started a brawl. Lucas put one of them in a headlock and damaged his T-shirt. He was fined $750 and told to replace the T-shirt.