Elton Shifts 50,000 In Minutes Down Under

Elton John has played 15 Australian tours since his career began in the early 1970s. But there are still regional towns he still hasn’t reached.

Owen Sweeney / OwenSweeneyPhoto.com
– Elton John
Sovereign Center, Reading, Pa.

For the Australian leg of his Once In A Lifetime Tour, he chose to play four cities. They were the 12,200-seat BB Print Stadium in Mackay in North Queensland (Sept. 22), the 23,000-capacity WIN Stadium in Wollongong, New South Wales (Sept. 24), the 7,500-seat Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart where he had not played in 27 years (Sept. 27) and the Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns in North Queensland, which can accommodate 13,500 (Sept. 30).

The strategy worked: 50,000 tickets shifted in eight minutes March 14. A second Hobart show was added later in the day for Sept. 28.

All shows have sold out, according to promoter Michael Chugg Entertainment.

A petition was started by fans for a second Mackay date, while a number of lower-priced, restricted-view tickets went on sale for Cairns.

“This has been a phenomenal result for an artist much loved by all Australians,” Michael Chugg said in a statement. “Elton really wanted to play to audiences where he had rarely travelled and the excitement was huge from the day that the tour was announced. “We are all blown away by the sales results.”

The British superstar’s shows the biggest music events for the two Queensland shows, with at least 5,000 patrons so far estimated to be coming from around Australia and abroad.

As a result, the Queensland government has started to discuss tourism initiatives to keep them longer in the region, which includes the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands, rainforests and the sugar industry.

According to The Cairns Post, Tourism and Events Queensland paid A$600,000 ($463,313) to secure the two shows, while the councils of the two cities chipped in A$300,000 ($231,655) each. The shows were co-announced by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.