Australian News 2/21

Wheatley For Fuse Keynote

Manager Glenn Wheatley will make a keynote speech at Fuse Festival in Adelaide, which runs March 4-6.

Wheatley is sought after for such music biz events thanks to his past strategies in launching singers John Farnham and Delta Goodrem and his role in the arrival of FM radio in Australia.

Since his release from detention for tax fraud last year, Wheatley is managing The Rushcutters (featuring his son Tim on bass) and Juke Kartel. He is also a director of online Stripe Radio.


Harper, Butler Guest Program Bluesfest

Ben Harper and Aussie bluesman John Butler readily admit that the Bluesfest in Byron Bay helped break them downunder. So they were eager to repay Bluesfest co-founder Peter Noble by programming the two different nights they headlined.

For his April 11 set, Harper chose 20-year-old L.A.-based Aussie expatriate Grace Woodroofe, Venice Beach’s Tom Freund (whose albums Harper produced), as well as African world blues band Tinariwen and soul-folk reggae wunderkind AYO.

Butler chose for his night on April 12 premier troubadour Paul Kelly, roots bands Blue King Brown and State Radio, Darwin-based Saltwater Band featuring Geoffrey Gurrumul, State Radio, blues performers Jeff Lang and Nicky Bomba, and Papua New Guinea-born electro-dance act Ngaiire.

Laneway Festival Investigated

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating claims that ticket buyers were ripped off by St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Melbourne in early February.

Access to one of five stages in city laneways was closed early, with promoters citing an 11th-hour issue that reduced their capacity. Promoters also cited troublemakers in the crowd for the early closure.

People who paid $100 entry couldn’t see acts they wanted. A virulent protest campaign on Facebook followed.


Short Notes

The credit crunch bites down hard, with the news that Creamfields and Coastfest festivals will not return this year. Sweeney Sports market research found that 17 percent of sponsors involved in arts and entertainment plan not to continue or start new deals in the next few years.

March’s V Fest added The Kills, Madness, The Human League, Razorlight, Howling Bells and Jackson Jackson to its bill.

The Wiggles and New Zealand tourism business Ngai Tahu Tourism are seeing red over the trademark “big red.” Both use it as part of their merchandising. Both say they’ll amicably solve the dispute, which began when the children’s act applied to the Intellectual Property Office in New Zealand for trademark rights to the “big red” phrase.

R&B singer Guy Sebastian was robbed of $150 by two knife-wielding thugs while coming out of a fast food eaterie at 3 a.m. Sebastian was in the middle of working on his fifth album, which he is recording with John Mayer’s band and will be his first U.S. release.