Australia: Don’t Kill Live Music, INXS Museum, Michael Cassel Group

Keep Sydney Open
– Keep Sydney Open

Live Music Sector Calls For Giant Rally In Sydney
New lobby group Don’t Kill Live Music called for a major rally at Sydney’s Hyde Park Feb. 21 to protest the March 1 introduction of stringent rules for music festivals. The move by the New South Wales (NSW) state government was in response to drug overdoses, and saw festivals cancel due to resulting extra production costs or moving out of NSW.  
Close to 500 artists and organizations signed an open letter to “music and culture lovers of Australia,” warning them “your music is under attack.”
“Overbearing regulation, exorbitant police bills,  a lack of respect for NSW businesses, and very little recognition of the significant positive impacts of music on our communities is forcing music out of NSW,” the letter explained.
Among the artists were Henry Rollins, Birds of Tokyo, Courtney Barnett, Amy Shark, The Cat Empire, Rufus Du Soul and DZ Deathrays. Signees included all the major promoters such as Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and Secret Sounds as well as the likes of the Association of Artist Managers, events like Bigsound and Electronic Music Conference, ticketing agencies, bookers and venues. A petition demanding consultation anda  roundtable conference extended its target to 150,000 signatures after 95,000 ticked in the first few days. 
In other responses, Live Performance Australia’s chief executive, Evelyn Richardson, called the regulations “some of the most onerous licensing conditions in the world” and called for consultation. 
The new Keep Sydney Open party, which is contesting the March 23 state elections, called on the proposals to be scrapped, with lead candidate Tyson Koh calling them “devised by an unqualified panel with little experience in organizing large-scale events.”
INXS Museum Finds A Site
The long-mooted INXS museum has found a home in Ballina, in regional New South Wales (NSW) near Byron Bay. As part of an economic and tourism boost to the region, the museum will be part of a three-acre entertainment and technology hub alongside Ballina Airport, and already includes a film studio. The NSW government this month gave an initial A$3.95 million (US$2.82 million) to start infrastructure work.
INXS creative manager Christopher Murphy told Pollstar the museum’s flagship display was the Wembley Room, a digital recreate of their London Wembley Stadium set before 72,000 fans July 13, 1991. There are three lots in the entire precinct, of which Murphy has one. His plan is to build four buildings designed to spell out INXS, to serve as a hub and incubator for music, film, design, fashion, tech and sustainable agriculture companies. He is encouraging them to move their headquarters to Ballina, an hour’s flight from Sydney, which he did a few years ago, or set up regional offices for staffers wanting a lifestyle change.
Eden Park Reveals Financial Pressure
Auckland’s Eden Park, which with a near 50,000 capacity is New Zealand’s largest stadium, is in financial distress, says Newsroom.  The report says the venue needs more than NZ$60 million ($41.3 million) to cover debts, on top of a NZ$40 million ($27.5 million) guarantee that has already been provided by Auckland Council. It’s owned by the government-appointed Eden Park Trust but its only life line seems to be the council.
NZ media reports suggest that Auckland Council is in a dilemma. A financial bailout of Eden Park would work against its own concerts and sports venues such as Mt Smart Stadium, Western Springs and the QBE Stadium at Albany which it operates through its Regional Facilities Auckland. The Eden Park Trust also wants Council to drop its six-concerts-a-year rule and other restrictions on concerts it says saw Bon Jovi, Eminem, Billy Joel and Monster Trucks bypass Auckland last year.

Michael Cassel Group Expands To More Original Content
Following its run of successes, theatrical promoter Michael Cassel Group is beginning to focus on new development opportunities, including the creation of new IP. “We want to produce the world’s very best shows in Australia and internationally and we’ve shown over the past six years that’s what we are capable of, so it’s time to start increasing our emphasis on finding new stories and theatrical experiences to create and develop for the stage” says CEO and producer Michael Cassel. It has appointed Allie McCann to the newly created role of head of development. McCann was its head of production for four years, and previously worked for Global Creatures and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Company in Australasia.