Making Events Safer, More Inclusive
The Australian music industry has banded together to launch the largest campaign yet to combat the rising number of sexual assaults and harassment of women the LGBT community, and for people to take accountability for their actions. Almost 180 national artists, tour promoters, festival and venue operators, managers, associations, ticket agencies, labels, publicists and music media signed on for the Your Choice campaign launched in Melbourne July 14.
On the zero-tolerance list were promoters including Live Nation, Secret Service, which runs the Splendour in the Grass and Falls festivals, as well as operators of the UNIFY: A Heavy Music Gathering, Laneway, Groovin’ The Moo, A Day On The Green, Bluesfest and Woodford Folk; and owners of 33 venues.
The Your Choice website (your-choice.net.au) includes a House Rules list on acceptable behaviour and serves as a forum where industry workers and patrons can share anecdotal experiences and strategies.
The campaign’s logo will be utilised at music events.
“We take great pride in providing safe and inclusive environments for all to enjoy, said Rhett McLaren, co-director The Hills Are Alive festival. The idea, he emphasised is to be “pro-active, rather than reactive” in solving the issue.
Some venues have in the past 12 months begun to train staff and security on proper responses to complaints, increased interior lighting and started to hire female security, Sally Mather the music & marketing coordinator of major Melbourne venues The Corner Hotel and The Northcote Social Club said its anti-assault initiatives “have definitely seen a change in behaviour (in patrons). They are more likely to report any incidents before they escalate.”
Helen Marcou, a member of the Victorian government’s Sexual Assault Task Force, reveals that an education pilot will be tried out in eight venues after A$250,000 ($195,650) in funding. Paul Piticco, of Splendour in the Grass and the Falls festivals, said the issue is not confined to music events.
“It is a mass gathering issue,” he said, one that can eventually be stretched out to include non-music events.
He told music fans: “You are our eyes and ears. We can’t have a security guard on every patron. (You) need to be able to own that moment and speak up.” He also warned that unless the music community solved the problem, harsh government regulations could follow similar to lockouts in various cities to address alcohol-fuelled assaults in entertainment precincts.
ARIA Awards Change Channels
This year’s ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) awards, the flagship event of the Australian music industry, has switched back to the free to air Nine Network to live broadcast the event Nov. 28 in Sydney.
Now in its 31st year, the ceremony was originally broadcast on Nine in 1992, before going to the Ten Network 2002-2008 and again 2010-2016.
Last year’s awards were up 31 percent in viewership, the biggest in six years, winning the timeslot in all demos as well as the top trending event on social media.
However, ARIA made the move as Ten has gone into voluntary administration owing secured creditors A$129 million ($100.9 million) and with accumulated losses of A$1.3 billion ($1.01 billion).
2017 has been a strong year for Australian acts, from established names like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Kasey Chambers, Bliss n Eso, Jessica Mauboy and Dune Rats to newcomers such as Amy Shark and Starley.
UNIFIED Rebrands, Focuses On Greater Global Success
The Melbourne-headquartered artist management, recorded music, touring & events and merchandise company rebranded July 17 as UNIFIED Music Group to combine its various divisions and refocus on its Australian offerings and expand its global presence.
Launched in 2011 by Jaddan Comerford with eight employees, it has become one of Australia’s biggest indie powerhouses with an international staff of 35. It quickly set up an office in Sydney, and then in London 2.5 years ago, and Los Angeles in February.
Comerford himself runs the L.A. office with a four-person team.
Comerford told Pollstar, “We’re now in the 24-hour business, and to me Los Angeles is the centre of the universe.”
Unified’s management clients include chart-topping singer-songwriters Vance Joy, Amy Shark and Tash Sultana, hard rock bands Violent Soho, In Hearts Wake, Northlane and The Amity Affliction, DJ and producer Nina Las Vegas, and multi-platinum hip hop performer Illy.
“This company exists only to build artist careers,” Comerford emphasised. Most have made their presence known in the northern hemisphere.
Joy who opened for Taylor Swift’s last North American run, sold 1 million copies of his debut album Stateside and does 12 North American stops July 28 to Oct. 13. Shark’s recent debut 15 club shows through the U.S. were 80 percent sold out.
Sultana, whose 12-date debut U.S. visit in February sold out, returns after European shows for an extended North American stay in the fall.
Northlane’s new album generated 9.3 million streams in three months, 6 million of those from outside Australia.
The act is doing North and South American shows until Aug. 3, and heads for 30 shows in the UK and Europe Sept. 29 to Nov. 5.
The Amity Affliction’s current European tour wraps Aug. 26 at the UK’s Reading festival. UNIFIED’s Touring and Events runs the UNIFY: A Heavy Music Gathering, an event that sold out in each of its three years.
UNIFIED Merchandise Services, which owns 24Hundred and The Vinyl Store, also fulfils orders for Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Warner Music Australia and STL Tones.
Sigur Ros Releases T-shirt For Marriage Equality
Randall Michelson – Sigur Ros
Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.
Sigur Ros released a special edition T-shirt advocating marriage equality and inclusion to be sold during the band’s three Australian shows as well as online at sigur-ros.co.uk and bandtshirts.com.au.
With a hand-drawn crest designed by English illustrator Andrew Rae, all proceeds go to Australian Marriage Equality.
The Icelandic band was motivated to act when advised that its sold-out Melbourne show July 27 was at
Court, the tennis champ-turned-pastor, caused outrage recently with anti-gay marriage comments.
The band stated, “We know Margaret Court’s opinions are not shared by the majority of Australians. We want to add our voice to the call for marriage equality in Australia – right here on Margaret Court Arena itself. Australia should be a country that celebrates positivity and inclusion, as well as achievement on the sporting field.”
Sigur Ros plays the Splendour in the Grass festival July 23 and Sydney’s