Australian News 2/22

Bad Vibrations

Jam Music, promoter of the Good Vibrations dance festival, has released a statement denying responsibility for sound problems when the tour hit Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl on February 9.

The sound was turned down progressively through the day. By the time headliner Kanye West went on, some fans who had paid $120 per ticket left early, complaining they could not hear him.

According to Jam Music, the Bowl’s owners hired an independent contractor to police sound levels. The Bowl was told 25 times through the day to turn it down. It complied each time, Jam said.

On the last time, Jam Music was warned the Bowl would pull the plug. As West was in the middle of a tribute to his recently deceased mother, Jam opted to lower the volume.

The promotion company accused the Bowl of a "heavy handed interpretation of the [Environment Protection Authority] rules" and that the sound system used had been the same used in 2006 with no problems.

The Bowl’s music program manager, David Anderson, said the sound limit of 65 decibels had not changed, and suggested that Jam’s gear setup was the problem.


Splendour Grassed

Splendour In The Grass may be planning to move to its new site at the northern Byron Shire parklands area of Wooyung over three days in August.

Organisers promised they will preserve the local ecology by planting thousands of trees and fencing off sensitive areas.

But in a show of people power, 25 resident groups from Northern NSW and Southern Queensland have teamed up together to tell their local council they don’t want the festival there. They argue that 22,500 attending per day, with 2,000 performers and site workers, would cause chaos.


Pubboy Group Collapses With $20M Debt

Mark Alexander-Erber’s Pubboy Group of hotels in New South Wales collapsed with debts of $20 million.

Three companies – real estate agent CB Richard Ellis, the NSW Office of State Revenue, and Westpac Bank – made claims.

The pubs are for sale at $30 million, under the direction of the receiver, PPB’s Jack Bournelis. Alexander-Erber lives the motorbikes-and-hard rock culture, sporting a tattoo reading, "Live Your Life Your Own Way."

He started out running the Iron Duke hotel as a heavy metal venue, and then expanded. The Business Review Weekly magazine’s Young Rich List estimated his fortune at $20 million.


Mental Drummer Wins Case

Former Mental As Anything drummer David Twohill won his action for unfair dismissal in the New South Wales Industrial Commission, but not the $80,000 he asked for.

Mental As Anything Touring Pty Ltd. has to pay him $12,100 in compensation and his legal costs.

During the case, the band accused the drummer of playing "like a chimpanzee on speed" because of his heavy drinking.

After a West Australian tour in September 2004, the band sacked him at the airport and paid him for another two weeks’ worth of work. Justice Francis Marks maintained Twohill should have been given six months’ notice.


Edwardes’ WAMI

Steph Edwardes won the Management category at the West Australian Music association’s WAMi Industry Awards, held in Perth February 16.

Edwardes, who manages the band Sugar Army, is assistant manager at artist management company Fidelity Corp, which looks after Jebediah, Karnivool, Bob Evans, Downsyde and The Silents.

Other winners included George Kailis for best sound engineer and Dave Parkin for producer and engineer. Best label went to Jarrah Records, set up by the John Butler Trio and The Waifs and run by their manager, Phil Stevens.


Short Notes

The Sunsets on Summer festival in regional Bendigo, to be held February 23 at Prince of Wales Showgrounds, was canceled. Promoter Messy Leads Entertainment hoped to bring quality entertainment to the region by booking hip-hop, rock, electronic and dance acts, drawing 20,000-30,000 fans. In the end it hoped for 3,000 to cover costs. It’s not known how much money was lost.

The fourth and final round of acts were announced for Easter weekend’s 19th annual international East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival, adding to the total 125 artists and 200 performances, the most ever presented by Bluesfest.

Among the international names of the 58 new acts announced were Sugarland, OAR, Guy Davis, Raul Midon, Will Connor, Lisa Hunt and Lucy Wainwright Roche from the United States; Hayley Sales, Dan Mangan, Elliott Brood, Bedouin Soundclash and Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans from Canada; Newton Faulkner from the U.K.; GOCOO from Japan; Hollie Smith from New Zealand; Yunasi from Kenya; and Tribali from Malta.

Queensland nightclub security will be subject to more rigorous tests if new laws are passed. As of last year, police reports could see bouncers lose their licenses, while clubs faced harsher penalties for hiring unlicensed security. Now a new Code of Practice will force them to take regular courses on how to maintain order and keep things cool when disputes arise.

Seventeen Australian country acts – including top live drawcards Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Graeme Connors, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer and The Flood – were scheduled to play a fund-raiser on February 28 at Revesby Workers Club, Sydney, for pedal steel and dobro maestro Michel Rose.

Rose, who’s played on almost every major country album made in this country in the past 20 years, fell and fractured his arm just before a show at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. It’s put him out of action for 12 weeks.

Things have frozen between the Country Music Association of Australia and the Australian Country Music Foundation after the CMAA trademarked the words Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.