Australia: TEG Group,Bluesfest, Ross Cunningham

Live Nation, AEG Eyeing TEG Group?

Speculation in Australian media has

TEG assets include tour promoter

According to the The Australian Business Review, its parent, Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners, has appointed Goldman Sachs to oversee the sales process by the end of the year. Price tag is A$1 billion ($795.9 million).

Affinity Equity has not responded to these reports. It bought TEG for A$640 million ($509.3 million) from Australian live-to-air TV broadcaster Nine Network in 2015. Under CEO Geoff Jones it doubled the number of assets via acquisitions.

In October 2016, Asian financial media reported that Eventim as well as Chinese conglomerates Wanda Group and Fosun, had shown interest in acquiring TEG. Global suitors would be interested in TEG’s analytics division and Ticketek’s database of 12 million Australian and New Zealand users, and servicing 20,000 events a year with 23 million tickets.

Meanwhile, TEG and Chinese ticketing and live entertainment company YongLe announced Sept. 25 plans for a cloud-based ticketing platform in China. Called Yun-Tek, (“cloud technology”), it goes live 2018.

It’ll allow promoters and venues to self-manage their ticketing operations, produce effective marketing campaigns and use data analytics to guide every step of the ticketing and event management process.

Spilt Milk First To Offer Pill Testing

In a first for an Australian festival, Spilt Music will offer testing of illicit drugs when it stages in Canberra Nov. 25.

Meegan Fitzharris, health minister for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), announced Sept. 22, “We need to find the right balance between letting young people know it’s illegal to take drugs, they can be very harmful, but also being realistic because we’ve seen deaths at festivals, five in 2015 alone, so if that helps to keep people safe, it’s worth doing,”

While other states have resisted calls for pill-testing on the grounds it encouraged drug taking, the ACT has been most open to it. Any of the 20,000 fans at Spilt Music can have their pills tested and thrown away in amnesty bins.

Similar analyses in New Zealand festivals last year showed one in five pills was different to what the patron bought, and one in 10 had added ingredients. In mid-September, the ACT branch of the Greens party tabled a 1,000-signature petition in the Legislative Assembly calling for pill testing at Spilt Milk.

Robert Plant, Lionel Richie, Chic For Bluesfest

The first artist announcement for the 29th Bluesfest Byron Bay, March 29 to April 2, had some major names destined to draw the event’s traditional 100,000-strong crowd.

Top of the list was Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters who, next year is the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s first appearance, will also throw in a couple of Zep classics. Other big names of the 17-artist announcement were Lionel RichieChic ft. Nile RodgersNew Power GenerationJose GonzalezGov’t Mule and Eric Gales, with John Butler Trio and Tash Sultana representing the Australian contingent.

Fast Tracking Young Managers

The Victorian government is piloting a scheme called Fast Track Fellowship that will allow two managers to spend at least two months with an overseas music company of his or her choice.

The pilot is in conjunction with the Association of Artist Managers (AAM) whose executive director, Leanne de Souza, pitched the idea to the government.

“It’s the first time that an artist manager has been given an opportunity to build up their international relationships,” de Souza told Pollstar.  “It’s more than just a networking opportunity, though. It gives managers the chance to work in a company overseas and watch how things operate in the trenches.

“We work in a similar culture but each company has a different perspective. So this is obviously invaluable to know, especially in getting an understanding how different specific genres work. For instance, the EDM scene in Germany would have a different mindset to, say, the heavy metal scene in Brazil.”

The Fellowship also extends in a similar fashion to two executives in an independent label executive, in conjunction with the Association of Independent Record Labels (AIR).

Venue Management Veteran Ross Cunningham Retiring

Longtime venue manager Ross Cunningham is retiring in October. He had stints as executive GM of the Sydney Entertainment Centre and , GM of entertainment at Star City and Jupiter’s Group and most recently, head of programming and production of the .

Cunningham was also board member of Live Performance Australia and chair of the arts and entertainment Helpmann Awards. In 2016 he was awarded the Asia-Pacific Venue professional of the year at the National Conference of Asia-Pacific Venue Managers, and received the outstanding contribution gong at this year’s Helpmanns.