Australia: Twickets, Sia, King’s Arms

Twickets Opens Australian Office, Eyes Expansion

A successful £1.2 million ($1.54 million) crowd-funding campaign by UK-based face-value ticket resale service Twickets is funding a global rollout.

After its launch in Australia May 26, the fan-to-fan platform will turn its attention to the United States and mainland Europe later in 2017.

Danny Hannaford, former head of ticketing at UK promoter Global Live, set up the Australian office in Melbourne.

He arrived in March for discussions with venues, festivals, promoters, agents and ticketing agencies.

“The scalping issue is a high-profile one in Australia at the moment,” he told Pollstar. “We’ve had a really positive response here because they can see we’ve come as a friend of the music industry. We don’t allow ticket exchanges to be above face value, and we monitor transactions closely. Any account with high volume activity gets suspended.” 

The first major deals were with

The Sheeran tour is particularly timely, reigniting the issue of exorbitant markups that followed superstar shows – in 2017 alone these included AdeleBruce Springsteen & The E-Street BandMidnight Oil and Guns N’ Roses – and calls for the federal and state governments to bring in more effective consumer laws.

Sheeran’s A-reserve seating tickets costing A$166.34 ($125.30) are turning up on reseller sites for A$463.50 ($344.97).

On May 23 when a total of 710,000 tickets were snapped up around the two countries, a pop-up message on ticket marketplace Viagogo revealed that nearly 90,000 people were “viewing Ed Sheeran tickets” on its site.

Sheeran, who had already aligned himself with Twickets for his UK tours, has used his website and social media to direct Australian fans to specially created landing page to sign up for email alerts once tickets become available.

Frontier COO Dion Brant said: “The last excuse used by scalping sites to justify their existence is that they ‘provide a service to legitimate fans stuck with unwanted tickets.’ We know this is really a cover for misleading and dishonest profiteering at the expense of fans and artists.

“Partnering with Twickets to provide a service where real fans can sell unwanted tickets in a transparent and fair way removes all legitimacy from other resale sites.”

Hannaford is to begin discussions with the sports and theatre sectors. In the UK, Twickets has since its February 2015 launch also been used by Adele, One DirectionQueen + Adam LambertPixiesChristine and The QueensMumford & Sons and The 1975, as well as a number of festivals

Homophobic Comment Prompts Calls For Venue Name Change

There have been calls for the  in Melbourne to be renamed after Court, a retired tennis champion who was once ranked No. 1 in the world, said she would boycott the country’s Qantas airline because of its CEO Alan Joyce’s public support for same-sex marriage.

Now a senior pastor at Perth’s Victory Life Church, the 74-year-old said in a letter published in The West Australian newspaper that marriage was a union between a man and woman “as stated in The Bible” and that Qantas’ stance “leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”

Among those calling for a name change were Ryan Adams, who played the venue May 26 the day after former tennis star Martina Navratilova, and Frontier Touring chief Michael Gudinski, who told Rupert Murdoch’s site that Court’s comments were “an embarrassment.”

Gudinski added that if there was a name change, “It should be named after a person. We’ve got enough venues named after corporations or brands.”

The 7,500-capacity concert and sports venue has on its slate for the rest of this year J. ColeBody CountLittle MixLCD SoundsystemAlice CooperGrinspoonPlaceboAlison Moyet and the Elvis Presley The Wonder Of You orchestral show.

Sia Returns For Stadiums

Sia with Maddie Ziegler
Scott Legato /
– Sia with Maddie Ziegler
The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Mich.

Australian-born Sia returns to play her home country after five years, as part of her Nostalgic For The Present Tour. Chugg Entertainment, whose founder and chairman Michael Chugg began negotiating the tour after catching the singer-songwriter’s highly acclaimed theatrical set at Coachella 2016, has her at the 30,050-capacity AAMI Park in Melbourne Nov. 30 and the 45,000-capacity Allianz Stadium in Sydney Dec. 2.

There is also a New Zealand show at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, which has a concert capacity of 30,000, on Dec. 5. Generally solo female acts do not risk stadiums Down Under.

The exceptions have been Taylor Swift in 2013 and 2015, and Madonna in 1993. But Chugg Entertainment is experimenting with a first-time all-female bill for Sia, with Britain’s Charli XCX, Danish singer-songwriter  and rising Australian Amy Shark, who is playing 13 North American stops May 31 to June 20.

Born Sia Furler in Adelaide to musician parents, the singer-songwriter was last year the most-streamed act on Spotify in Australia, with her albums and singles certified multi-platinum. 

NZ Loses Two Longtime Venues

One of Auckland’s best-known live music venues, the King’s Arms Tavern, appears to be going dark.

Located in Newtown near the city’s central business district, playing there was a rite of passage for NZ acts around the country over the last 20 years.

The then-unknown White Stripes played there in 2000 before the duo’s U.S. breakthrough.

Last year when 80-year-old owner Maureen Gordon sold the family-run 19th century pub for NZ$7.4 million ($5.23 million) to developers due to rising council rates and her own health, over 6,000 music fans signed a petition to ensure that it would remain a music venue.

It was expected the venue would continue showcasing live acts until 2018. But a tweet by Auckland councillor Vernon Tava claimed that a consent had been lodged to demolish the building and put up a six-level, 104-room apartment and commercial complex.

Meantime, The Barrytown Hall, which has showcased acts for 40 years, closed mid-May after a single noise complaint from a neighbour who moved into the area recently.

After initially considering legal action, the hall’s committee thought it too expensive and is reapplying to local council to resume performances, including getting a report from a noise expert. If successful, it won’t be until at least August before the bands return.

A number of music venues supporting new acts have been lost. On Dec. 23, Wellington’s Bodega closed after 25 years.

Kings Arms Tavern
Kings Arms
– Kings Arms Tavern

Wellington – which launched the careers of international acts as Flight of the ConchordsThe Black SeedsTrinity RootsFat Freddy’s Drop and  – lost the Mighty Mighty and Puppies in 2014.