Down Under: Ed Sheeran, Shipwrecked, Tours, Groundwater

Ed Sheeran
John Salangsang / Invision / AP
– Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran makes a stop at KIIS FM Jingle Ball at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Dec. 1.

With weeks before his 18-date stadium run in Australia and New Zealand begins, Ed Sheeran announced his opening acts. 

Missy Higgins joins the twelve Aussie shows March 2 to March 21. “I’m very happy about (it) as I’m a long-time fan of her music,” said Sheeran who specifically asked for the multi-platinum Australian singer songwriter about to release her first album in six years, Solastalgia.

Wellington four-piece

The Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin (March 29, 31, April 1), openers are Six60, a rock band which formed in Dunedin’s University of Otago and went on to debut at #1 with multi-platinum albums and pick up best group and best record accolades at the NZ Music Awards.

Frontier Touring states that the Australasian run broke two records. One is for most amount of stadium shows in a single tour. In addition, “With ticket sales already exceeding 950,000, Ed also broke the long-standing Dire Strait’s 1986 record for the most tickets sold on one tour of Australia and New Zealand.”

Dire Straits tour was through Michael Coppel Presents; Coppel is now president of Live Nation Australasia.

The Shipwrecked music festival north of Auckland (Feb. 3-5) literally found itself on dry land—when it was forced to declare itself alcohol-free. 

Promoter The Greatest Show on Earth failed to get a liquor license in time. An application filed December was turned down when residents objected citing security concerns as the event also had camping facilities.

An appeal was granted Feb. 2 but as there was a 10-day period for residents to respond, organizers withdrew the application. Police had made it clear they would be visiting the site to ensure no patrons sneaked alcohol in.

The conservative rural area has alcohol bans at night in nearby areas.

Shipwrecked was also targeted by environmental activists concerned that the noise would be disruptive to rare endangered birds as the Australasian bittern and fairy tern living in neighboring woodland. 

Site owner Arnim Pierau, told Stuff the event was treated “unfairly” and alcohol sales have been a major revenue source for promoters. He added, “This sort of event doesn’t rely on alcohol.” As for environmental concerns that tried to shut the festival down, he scoffed, “Everywhere, when people can’t get what they want, they pull out a rare lizard.”

Shania Twain
Justin Tang / The Canadian Press via AP
– Shania Twain
Shania Twain is the halftime performer for the Grey Cup CFL football game at Rogers Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Nov. 26.

Two major female hitmakers, Shania Twain and Celine Dion, return Down Under after long breaks.

Live Nation has Twain’s Now Tour bringing her back after almost 20 years. The Now album debuted at #1 on the official ARIA chart, her third chart topper. Her first, “Come On Over” from 1999, spent 19 non-consecutive weeks at the top spot and was certified 18x platinum. Twain does seven shows Nov. 30 to Dec. 14.

Five are arenas, one at a NSW winery and another outdoor at Adelaide’s Botanic Park presented by Space Events.

Dion’s return after a decade takes in four Australian arenas July 27 to Aug. 7, while the Aug. 11 show at Spark Arena in Auckland marks her first visit to New Zealand in twenty years. All dates are booked by Frontier Touring and Concerts West/AEG Presents.

Live Nation has Machine Gun Kelly returning after 2013 for four theatre stops May 2 to 6.

Live Nation also added two dates for Portland MC Aminé’s visit in May, bringing the total to six. The added shows, in Sydney and Melbourne, came after the first sold out “within minutes”.

The rebranded Groundwater Country Music Festival in Queensland included U.S. acts as well as a range of top Australian names in its first round of acts.

The American contingent includes Granger Smith, returning after his set last year packed CMC Rocks Queensland; Joshua Hedley; and newcomer Lillie Mae. They join Australia’s The McClymonts, who scooped the major awards at last month’s Golden Guitar awards; Adam Harvey; O’Shea; veteran Bill Chambers; Troy Kemp; and Casey Barnes.

Groundwater is held July 27-29 across 10 stages in the Broadbeach precinct on the Gold Coast, the sixth biggest city in Australia.  It was set up as the free Broadbeach Country Music Festival by the Broadbeach Alliance of traders to activate tourism during leaner winter months. Its CEO Jan McCormick says, “In only its sixth year, the festival has grown exponentially, with 2017 seeing over 54,000 people descending on Broadbeach to witness some of the most celebrated Australian and international artists.”

Its supported by the Queensland government, via its Tourism and Events Queensland division.

Music Managers Forum NZ has partnered with the local operations of global brokers JLT and AIG Insurance to offer insurance package exclusively for members and their acts.

These cover employers, directors and officers liability from NZ $5 million (U.S. $3.62 million), travel and vehicle insurance, portable equipment such as: musical instruments, PA systems, audio, lighting and sound, DJ / mixing, microphones and cabling, performance gear, photographic / filming. 

The MMF’s offerings can either be for just New Zealand or internationally.