Australian News 6/7

Melbourne Lockout

Plans to trial a three-month, 2 a.m. lockout in Melbourne starting June 2 are in disarray.

The idea of stopping new patrons from entering a club after 2 a.m. has been successful in other Australian cities, according to authorities. Statistics indicate that most drunken anti-social behaviour erupts around that time, when groups of males wander from club to club.

But much to the anger of the authorities, 53 of the city’s 400 bars and clubs took the issue to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on May 30, asking that the lockout be delayed until ample time was given to issue a legal challenge.

The VCAT granted the request, and ruled that the clubs could ignore the lockout as long as they doubled their security forces and did not actively promote their exempt status.

James Young, owner of the Cherry Rock bar, told Pollstar the lockout was a "band aid" solution to a situation that clearly requires more cops on the beat.

Martha Tsamis of Chasers nightclub threatened to initiate Supreme Court action on the grounds that the method restricts trade.

A crowd of 5,000 marched on the streets of Parliament May 30 demanding an end to the lockout, saying it would destroy Melbourne’s nightlife culture.


Falls Site For Sale

The 1,570-hectare (3,878 acres) farmland that hosts Falls Festival Tasmania each December is up for sale for A$10 million (US$6.6 million).

But the condition of sale is that the site continues to host the festival for at least the next seven years.

Owner James Dunbabin’s family has held the Marion Place location for six generations and is retiring from farming.

Timbaland, Priest Make It To Oz

After guesting with Justin Timberlake last year, Timbaland will make his first run of solo dates downunder with three arena shows for Showtime Touring July 12-19.

Despite strong sales in the past 30 years downunder, it has taken until now for Judas Priest to venture to these shores.

The reunited original lineup signed with Dainty Consolidated Entertainment for five arena shows September 10-16. Priest will be joined by Sepultura brothers Max and Iggor’s Calvera Conspiracy.

The Kooks will also do their first live shows downunder – three club dates for Chugg Entertainment August 26-30.

Feel Presents has teamed Devo with fellow wacky art-rockers Regurgitator for four theatre shows July 31 to August 6.

Stockholm metal band Dismember will return after three years for six shows July 15-20.

Blue Murder is bringing Escape The Fate back for eight club stops July 18-26.

Paul Weller’s August visit for Michael Coppel Presents is exploding: third shows were added for Sydney and Melbourne.


Chambers Leads Aussie Tours

After a regional run by country music queen Kasey Chambers and her singer/songwriter husband,w Shane Nicholson, Frontier Touring and Premier Artists added five metropolitan dates August 13-17.

In another country music team-up, pinup boys Adam Harvey and James Blundell are on a 10-date run that wraps up June 19.

Robert Forster of Go-Betweens fame lined up seven theatre dates August 6-30 behind his acclaimed The Evangelist album.

Never ones to do anything half-heartedly, electro-pop act Van She will take to the road for 10 clubland shows July 4-26 with a circus of DJs and live acts.


Short Notes

Texas metal band Drowning Pool postponed its Australian tour after singer Ryan McCombs was ordered off the road by doctors after suffering from strained vocal cords.

The band was supposed to start the tour May 30 in Adelaide with Puddle of Mudd, wrapping up in Brisbane June 4.

Rumours are that Bruce Springsteen will be treading the boards here mid-2009. Slipknot and Def Leppard are also negotiating to tour here.

It’s getting harder for smokers. Darwin is the latest city that might insist its nightclubs go smoke-free. Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association is urging the Australian government to stop funding any film, music or arts body that stages projects that feature or glamorise smoking.

New South Wales pub and club operators spend a considerable amount of time lamenting on how smoking bans have slashed their profits. But figures released June 1 by the Bureau of Statistics showed that their turnover reached $742 million in April – 15 percent more than a year ago.

In Business Review Weekly magazine’s "Rich 200" list, Sydney nightclub czar Justin Hemmes’ fortune was estimated at $87 million while singer Kylie Minogue’s was marked at $80 million. High on the list was the Alberts family, with $229 million. Their recording and publishing empire discovered acts including AC/DC, The Easybeats, Rose Tattoo and The Angels.

Melbourne management company Loud & Clear started a T-shirt campaign to try and get singer/songwriter Mark Seymour booked for next year’s Port Fairy Folk Festival. The company is in good terms with festival director Jamie McKew, who books their other acts but not Seymour, the former leader of multi-platinum band Hunters & Collectors. Seymour plays festivals in Australia and Canada.

In Queensland, Grant McLennan and Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens are held in such reverence that the government named both a bridge and a fellowship after the late McLennan. The state’s peak music association QMusic has made Forster its patron.