Australian News 10/18

Staging Connections Moves Further Into Asia

Australian events company Staging Connections Group spent $9.6 million (US$8.6 million) to acquire several joint venture businesses in Asia.

It has taken over the remaining 49 percent of ETG Staging Connections in China and Hong Kong.

It also bought the remaining 30 percent interest of Techmex Staging Connections in Singapore and Malaysia, and bought 100 percent of Techmex Event Production in China.

SCG CEO Michael Gardner said of the move, "Increasing our stake in these vibrant and dynamic businesses provides Staging Connections Group with new opportunities for growth."

The company also entered into an agreement to acquire Australian design agency Point of View Design for $3.75 million (US$3.39 million).

POV is an international creative design consultancy specialising in audio-visual infrastructure design and architectural lighting design for the hospitality sector.

SCG expects business to deliver annualised revenue of $2 million (US$1.8 million) with strong profit margins.


‘Raggamuffin’ Unveiled Downunder

Andrew McManus Presents is behind "Raggamuffin," a new six-hour event showcasing reggae music, with a touch of funk, dub, hip-hop and soul.

Acts on the bill so far are UB40, The Wailers, Maxi Priest and New Zealand band Katchafire, with the tour stopping at five cities February 5-15.

That reggae icon Bob Marley’s birthday falls on February 6 will provide a greater reason for celebrations, McManus said.

He said the idea for the event came from touring UB40 three times through Australia and New Zealand.

McManus also confirmed three Hilary Duff arena dates January 31 to February 3.

Chugg Entertainment locked in four arena dates for Santana (February 21 to March 2) and a one-off theatre show in Melbourne on October 29 by Iceland’s Sigur Rós to perform a short acoustic set before the screening of the Australian premiere of their movie "Heima."

Chugg teamed with Bluesfest co-promoter Peter Noble for first visits here by Brandi Carlile (three club dates, November 12-15) and Sinead O’Connor (three theatre dates March 18-25), and with Rob Potts’ Entertainment Edge for the first trip here by Brooks & Dunn for three arena shows February 29 to March 10.

Frontier Touring announced a one-off date at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on October 30 by Black Eyed Peas for a promotion for Pepsi-Cola.


Big Sound Works

Dedicated efforts by the organisers of the three-day Big Sound conference in Brisbane in mid-October to invite U.S. and Asian promoters and label / media executives paid off.

Brisbane act Flamingo Crash was invited to tour China with the 123 Agency in January 2008 and has strong interest from Jason Magus to play at The Beijing Pop festival and also tour for the Rock for China Agency.

Radio programmer Nic Harcourt spun tracks on his influential KCRW program "Morning Becomes Eclectic" by five acts he saw perform while he was downunder – Intercooler (which is touring the U.S.), The Boat People, The Andi and George Band, wind&brackets, and Tjupurru.

Rich Man’s Hoax was invited to perform at the Woodford Folk Festival and the Dreaming festival, Gold Coast rock outfit Bowser set up a Queensland regional tour, and dance act Endorphin signed a South East Asian licensing deal with Singapore-based G-Pop Records.


Short Notes

Big Day Out continues to draw them in, with the Sydney date’s 45,000 tickets selling out in 10 minutes. Ticketmaster sold its 20,000-ticket allocation in less than five minutes, setting a new benchmark for the agency for any event in the country.

The Gold Coast Parklands show shifted 48,000, with the festival Web site selling out in 21 minutes and Ticketek in 13 minutes. In Melbourne, 43,000 tix went in less than a day.

Club brand Onelove Music Group and dance festival stalwarts Hardware Corp/Totemi have joined forces. Their first event together is Stereosonic 2007 at The Royal Melbourne Showgrounds on December 1, covering electro, house, indie dance, electronica, Detroit funk, and more.

Good Charlotte bassist Paul Thomas suffered an ankle and foot injury during the band’s first show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in October, produced by Michael Coppel Presents. He did the rest of the tour sitting down on stage.

Independent music distributor Amphead Music launched its own independent booking agency under Dave Sayer, who recently parted ways as booking agent at Premier Artists.Sophie Vallis took over from Frazer Bourke as Booking Manager at Big Top Luna Park Sydney.

Operator Please, Gotye and Kate Miller-Heidke join Powderfinger, Silverchair, John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins and Sneaky Sound System as performers at the October 27 ARIA Awards at Sydney’s Acer Stadium. Delta Goodrem, Darren Hayes and Ben Lee were added to the list of presenters.Nigel Melder joined Destroy All Lines as tour promoter.

AC/DC bought back the rights to the Web site Until now fans entering the domain were directed to a bisexual porn site.

The New South Wales government is moving to ban "smoking tents" placed at festivals including Big Day Out and Splendour in The Grass.

The anti-smoking lobby says these tents are designed to attract customers with its DJs and dancefloors – and promotion models who sell cigarettes. The changes in law will also stop festivals from selling cigarettes on their sites.