Steve Romer Joins Bluesfest As COO, Peter Noble Becomes Executive Chairman

Australian veteran venue executive Steve Romer is joining one of Australia’s major festivals, Bluesfest in Byron Bay, Nov. 13 as chief operating officer. 

Steve Romer
– Steve Romer

He will oversee the five-day festival that attracts more than 100,000 fans as well as its Bluesfest Touring which this year handled 31 tours, and its 120-hectare Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm site that hosts other events including the indigenous Boomerang festival.

It allows Peter Noble, who co-founded the event in 1990 and took over sole ownership in 2009, to concentrate on booking acts and overlooking acquisitions.

Romer has worked in Australia’s live music, sport and entertainment Industries for 30 years.  He served as chair and CEO of the Venue Management Association (Asia Pacific) and held senior management positions at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney 2000 Olympics Satellite Stadiums, and with amusement park operators Macquarie Leisure Trust (now Ardent Leisure) and Village Roadshow Theme Parks.

Noble told Pollstar, “The festival has grown from 6,000 people in its first event to over 100,000 over five days. The team has grown. There’s a difference between dealing with five or six staffers to our current 17.

“At the same time, the live entertainment industry has gone through radical changes, and you’d be taking a risk, a big risk, if you don’t adapt to these changes. For instance, legacy acts have doubled their fees in five years, so that’s one component you need to address

“Steve has many skills, he increased the profit at the Sydney Entertainment Centre where he was general manager, by 400 percent to 500 percent in five years. Someone like that at the helm prepares you to make changes in the future – whatever they be – with confidence and excitement.”

Romer’s latest tenure at VMA Asia Pacific, as CEO, saw significant growth in membership and membership benefits, a stronger financial position and the development of professional and educational programs, said its president Steve Harper.

Such is the scale of Bluesfest that it injects A$47.4 million ($36.3 million) into to the New South Wales economy and won close to 30 awards from tourism, festival and events sources.  Of seven nominations for Pollstar’s International Festival of the Year, five were consecutive, between 2012 and 2016. 

Peter Noble
– Peter Noble

Already confirmed for the 29th festival March 29 to April 2, are Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Seal, Michael Franti & Spearhead, the New Power Generation, Lionel Richie, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, The John Butler Trio, Jimmy Cliff, Youssou N’Dour, Jackson Browne, The Wailers, Eric Gales,  Gomez, Rag’n’Bone Man, Govt Mule, Jose Gonzalez, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Original Blues Brothers Band, Canned Heat, Walter Trout, André Cymone and The Teskey Brothers.