Australia: Peter Noble, Eminem, R. Kelly
Bluesfest’s Director Calls For Campaign Against New Licensing
Peter Noble, director of Bluesfest Byron Bay, published an open letter Feb. 8 urging the live music sector to campaign against plans by the New South Wales (NSW) government to introduce stringent new laws for music festivals. In response to a series of overdose deaths, the government outlined initiatives as a new liquor license to be approved each year by a panel including police and health reps, and more paramedics on site. More are to be announced before the new legislation on March 1.
Noble’s letter also swiped at the state premier and other politicians. “Why do you seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industry?” He warned the legislation would “decimate our industry” with the loss of “hundred, if not thousands of jobs” and millions of dollars in tourism dollars spent in regional areas “through an incredibly draconian …poorly thought out legislation.”
In the post-overdoses landscape, police action in the Supreme Court over its application led Rabbits Eat Lettuce to move to Queensland where it stages April 18-21 and avoids A$100,000 (US$70, 967) worth of legal fees. September’s Psyfari cancelled February 7 saying: “We are unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when festivals are the new scapegoat of a failed government and their failed war on drugs.” Mountain Sounds (Feb. 15-16) which dropped 21 acts early February after “increased pressure around safety, licensing and security” cancelled February 10 after more demands were made by authorities. “This is yet another example of the government’s war on festivals,” its promoters said.
R. Kelly Tour Announcement Pulled Following Public Backlash
A February 6 post on R. Kelly’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages of a poster announcing plans to tour Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka – without dates but attached to a promoter called Flamingo Dreamz– was withdrawn a few days later following adverse public reaction. Women’s groups and politicians in Australia and New Zealand demanded he be refused entry.
Australia’s home affairs department would not comment on individual cases but previously denied visas to Chris Brown and boxer Floyd Mayweather over similar allegations of violence against women. The shadow minister for immigration and border protection, Shayne Neumann, said he would be “seriously concerned” if Kelly was allowed into the country. Immigration NZ has not received an application for a visa by R Kelly, but performers from visa waiver countries such as the United States do not have to apply in advance.
Eminem’s Rapture 2 Adds More Acts
Eminem’s sold out Rapture 2 shows have added more names to the bill. They are Australia’s biggest selling hip hop act Hilltop Hoods, along with Detroit’s Royce da 5’9” and Shady Records signing Boogie. TEG Dainty has Eminem at QSAC, Brisbane (February 20). ANZ Stadium, Sydney (22), MCG, Melbourne (24), Optus Stadium, Perth (27) and Wellington Stadium, Wellington (March 2).
Allianz Stadium Demolition Delayed By Grassroots Group
The A$730 million ($518 million) demolition and rebuild of Sydney’s 45,000-capacity Allianz Stadium was delayed when grassroots community group Local Democracy Matters won the right to a last minute hearing in the New South Wales (NSW) Land and Environment Court February 20. The group called the NSW government’s move over the 31-year old venue “a terrible waste of money” and will argue that the stadium plan had insufficient public consultation, failed to pass required design excellence provisions and ignored contaminated soil on the site. It wants the court to declare the demolition order invalid, and reverse the minor work by developer Lendlease before the scheduled complete demolition end of February.
Kate Miller-Heidke To Represent Australia At Eurovision
Eclectic singer-songwriter and theatrical performer Kate Miller-Heidke will represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Competition held this year in Tel Aviv, Israel, in May. Previously, Australian entrants were decided on by free-to-air multicultural broadcaster SBS and the show’s local production company.
This year the Australia Decides initiative saw ten acts chosen by a jury and public vote, to perform February 10 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre to a live audience and televised nationally. Kate Miller-Heidke’s operatic performance of her song “Zero Gravity”, inspired by her post-natal depression two years ago, saw her in a 3.3 metre high dress while an acrobat from Melbourne performance arts trope Strange Fruit swung on a pole behind her. In second place were electro-soul duo Electric Fields, rock band Sheppard and drag queen Courtney Act.
Universal Music Sues Aussie Politician Over Twisted Sister Song
Australian media reported Universal Music Group has launched legal action against Australian politician and multi-millionaire businessman Clive Palmer. It contends that his United Australia Party’s current electoral ad “Australia ain’t gonna cop it” contravened the copyright of Twisted Sister’s 1984 anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The band has been exchanging heated lawyers with Palmer who contends that the lyrics are his, and the melody was based on the 18th century hymn “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The case is listed for March 6 at the Federal Court before Justice Alan Robertson.