Down Under: WOMADelaide, Niche Talent & More

Womadelaide – Womadelaide

The WOMADelaide festival will remain in Adelaide for a further five years, until 2024, following a license extension deal between WOMAD Ltd UK and the South Australian government.

Initially running in 1992 as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts, it became a stand-alone in 1996. The government began financially supporting the event as a major tourism draw in 2003, when audience numbers reached 90,000. A record of 95,000 was set in 2016.

South Australia’s premier and minister for the arts, Jay Weatherill, said the deal further cemented the state’s reputation as the arts and festival capital of Australia.

He pointed out, “Guaranteeing WOMADelaide’s place in South Australia is not only a boost for the arts sector, but also for tourism and the associated industries, as 45 percent of the festival’s audience comes from interstate. This unique festival delivers a A$15.1 million (US$11.56 million) economic Impact annually, and with increased capacity from 2018, the value of WOMAD will continue to grow.”

WOMAD’s founder, musician Peter Gabriel, said, “Over the past 25 years, WOMADelaide has not only evolved into a great Australian event, but also a great WOMAD event. WOMAD festivals have always flourished in beautiful surroundings, and the location in Adelaide next to the Botanic Gardens is still one of my favourites.

“WOMADelaide has its own unique style and consistently brings its loyal audience new delights from all over the world.”

WOMADelaide 2018 will be held March 9-12 in Botanic Park, with Adrian Sherwood, Anoushka Shankar, Dan Sultan, The Avalanches, Kamasi Washington, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Thievery Corporation and Havana Meets Kingston already confirmed.

According to festival director Ian Scobie, the extension of the deal allowed him to secure two epic productions, the French aerial spectacular, Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges and India’s The Manganiyar Seduction.

NIche Talent Agency
– NIche Talent Agency

Australia has a new booking agency Niche Talent Agency, formed by former Harbour Agency agent of eight years Daniel Sant and Niche Productions, the tour and booking company set up in 2004 by James Browning to tap the emerging underground sector.

At Sydney-based Harbour Agency which is part of Michael Gudinski’s empire, Sant developed a roster including rock bands Sticky Fingers and Glades, electronic dance acts SAFIA and Boo Seeka, singer songwriters Kim Churchill and Jack Grace, hardcore outfit Hellions, instrumental art rock purveyors sleepmakeswaves, Berlin based Parcels who recently collaborated with Daft Punk, indie folk trio Little May and ambient soul ensemble MOVEMENT.

These now join Niche’s major live drawcards as platinum certified producer M-Phazes, chart topping hip hop acts Thundamentals, MC Remi and Sampa The Great, Grammy-winning soulsters Hiatus Kaiyote, rock band Winston Surfshirt, EDM duo Slum Sociable and New Zealand seven piece Fat Freddy’s Drop.

Sant says the new company will offer more services and supports for acts to “expand (their) opportunities in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the rest of the world”. He added, “I feel like we see so clearly how the touring industry should evolve”

Niche, he says of his new partner, “is a brand which has such a strong reputation, especially with the overseas hip hop and electronic industries that James works so closely with, and I can’t wait to be a part and contribute to the vision we both share for our artists and the live touring market.”

Browning adds: “I’ve always had a great respect for Daniel, his work ethic, and commitment to his artists. I am really excited to have such esteemed artists join Niche and look forward to working together closely in the expansion of Niche’s agency roster.”

Auckland is now officially a City of Music, joining the United Nations’ cultural arm UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The network was set up in 2004 to exchange ideas to make member cities more innovative in seven fields: music, folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature and media arts.

There are 64 new cities from 44 countries joining the network.

Auckland’s bid for inclusion in the network was spearheaded by the Auckland Council, Recorded Music NZ and APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association).

In 2016, Auckland Council initiated an arts and culture strategic action plan to promote economic growth in the industry. 

Auckland is home to half of NZ’s creative sector with 18,000 residents working in the sector.

Mark Roach at Recorded Music NZ said Auckland’s “position as the music capital of the Pacific” would be strengthened. Other executives were excited that upcoming collaborations with other music cities would give Auckland a greater global profile.

Other music cities joining Auckland in the latest announcement were: Kansas City, U.S.; Chennai, India; Morelia, Mexico; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Amarante, Portugal; Brno, Czech Republic; Daegu Metropolitan City, Republic of Korea; Frutillar, Chile; Norrköping, Sweden; Pesaro, Italy; and Praia, Cabo Verde.

Hordern Pavilion
Hordern Pavilion
– Hordern Pavilion

The future of Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion as a music venue is under a cloud.

Two major sporting teams, the Sydney Swans and the Sydney Roosters, are said to be eyeing it as their new training and administration headquarters.

Built in 1924, the 5,500-capacity Pavilion has long been popular with local and international acts. Its current slate includes Liam Gallagher, The Kooks,

Current operator Playbill has the lease to the building until 2021. Its managing director Michael Nebenzahl told the Sydney Daily Telegraph it would be a “tragedy” if the Pavilion stopped being a music space.

“We’ve got a lease for a fair bit longer on the venue,” he said. “Our main concern with the Hordern is that it doesn’t get turned into something else.”

Booking agent Damon Costin’s 123 Agency expanded its corporate activities with a partnership with entertainment lawyer Lilit Chakman.

Their new venture, Creative Entertainment Agency (CEA), will provide international and local talent for Australian corporate events. It has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles.

Costin and Chakman worked together on Kelly Rowland‘s recent appearances at Supercars Vodafone Gold Coast 600 and Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, Natalie Imbruglia at Melbourne Cup Carnival, Charlize Theron for Capitol Grand and Hilary Swank for Swisse.

Says Costin, “We represent dozens of companies, either directly or through their marketing agencies to connect their brands to the power of entertainment, music, fashion, and sports. We have unparalleled industry connections and can deliver time and cost-effective results for our clients.”