Australia, NZ: Major Turnouts For CMC Rocks, WOMAD NZ, Hearing On NSW Music And Arts Economy

Record-Breaking Turnouts For CMC Rocks, WOMAD NZ

Both CMC Rocks Queensland and WOMAD New Zealand, both held March 16-18, announced strong turnouts.


W.O.M.A.D. New Zealand – W.O.M.A.D. New Zealand

In its 11th year as the CMC Rocks franchise (it moved to Queensland in 2014 following promises of government and tourism support) reached its largest crowd, with 20,000 attending Ipswich Speedway. This figure was up from 15,000 last year, after promoters Chugg Entertainment and Rob Potts Entertainment Edge applied for a larger capacity.

Among the U.S. acts who performed were headliner Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, who threw in a couple of Australian covers including Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” and Men At Work’s “Overkill”, Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne, Randy Houser, Luke Combs, and Dan + Shay.

Chugg said, “As a promoter, to be able to say I just went through a three-day festival without a single drama, without any stress, and with a three-day grin on my face sounds like total rubbish. But hey, it’s true!”

WOMAD 2018, staged at the 55-acre Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth was one of the biggest sellers in its 14 years in NZ. The Saturday sold out with a record crowd of 12,5000, while Sunday drew 10,000, one of the highest for the final day in many years. 

Parliamentary Hearing On NSW Music And Arts Economy

After a four-month inquiry into the state of New South Wales’ music and arts economy, which received close to 400 public and industry submissions, the parliamentary inquiry held its first hearing March 26 in Sydney.

The day-long session featured 30 bureaucrats, live music executives and artists. Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus blamed restrictive liquor laws and planning rules, and the tendency to view music venues in a negative light rather than as places of cultural expression and community spirit.

The Lansdowne 15 – made up of venues, festivals, traders, college radio and dance record labels and the Keep Sydney Open lobby group – pointed out the need to provide tax concessions, grants, training and employment schemes. Other submissions touched on everything from axing the unpopular Sydney lockout laws to music tourism initiatives.

NSW’s live music industry contributes A$3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion to the economy and employs 23,000.

Michael Chugg Named Ambassador For Record Store Day

Promoter Michael Chugg, founder and chair of Sydney-based Chugg Entertainment, is an ambassador of Record Store Day 2018, alongside singer-songwriters Dan Sultan and Amber Lawrence. 180 stores take part April 21.

At a media call at Sydney indie store Red Eye Records, Chugg said, “Record stores have been a big part of my life all the way through… it’s very exciting to me that they still exist.” He said of vinyl’s resurgence, “It’s no longer uncool to like your dad’s favourite band. Young people might hear the music their dad, mum or sister are listening to, and they can head into their local store and start discovering new music.” 

Etihad Stadium Honors Ed Sheeran 

Ed Sheeran
John Davisson
– Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran makes a stop at 99.7 Now! Poptopia at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., Dec. 2.

Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium will honour Ed Sheeran with an installation of his autographed artwork on the ground level.

Work will begin in the next few weeks, with chief executive Michael Green saying the venue was “honoured” to host the superstar who sold a record-breaking 1 million Australian and New Zealand tickets through Frontier Touring.

Over four consecutive nights March 9-12, Sheeran played to over 250,000 concertgoers, the largest total of a crowd in the venue’s 18-year history. The British singer-songwriter also eclipsed the 180,000 that AC/DC had over three nights in 2010. Adele, who drew approximately 150,000 across two nights in 2017, still holds the record for most attendees for an individual show. 

Kesha Reschedules For October

Kesha who postponed her late southern summer trip after an on-stage foot injury in Dubai, has rescheduled.

Select Touring and Blue Murder now have her at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne (October 7), Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (8), Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane (9) and ICC, Sydney Theatre, Sydney (11). The original Perth and Auckland dates are scrapped. 

NZ Mourns The Loss Of Two Artists

The New Zealand music community mourned the passing of two of its own.

Outlaw country singer Peter Caulton died of a heart attack March 13 just after his 71st birthday. His career extended to 26 countries, including Australia where he had his own college radio show and the United States where he recorded an album in 1996 for Austin, Texas-based BSW Records.

Pat Minchin, one of the last of the versatile showbiz legends, passed March 21 aged 91. At 15, she was discovered at a singing quest in 1952 and during the war days worked through the day, taught tap dancing in the evening, and sang for the troops through the night. She expanded to music theatre and became NZ’s first female recording artist. She was married to saxophonist and arranger Neil Randrup.