Australia: Eminem Breaks Melbourne Record, Gov. Names 14 ‘High Risk’ Festivals, VenuesWest Fined Over Stadium Worker’s Death

Jeremy Deputat
– Eminem
Played to more than 100,000 people at last year

Eminem Breaks Melbourne Attendance Record
Eminem broke an attendance record at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG), drawing 80,708 fans to his Feb. 24 Rapture show. 
Paul Dainty, president and CEO of TEG Dainty, called it an “outstanding achievement.” He added, “Eminem is one of the greatest showmen in the world with a fiercely loyal Australian fan base that continues to grow with each tour.  He is no stranger to selling out stadium shows but this new record is just phenomenal.”
The Detroit rapper shifted 300,000 tickets over five stadium dates, which wraps in Perth Feb. 27. His 2014 Rapture Tour and 2011 Lose Yourself Tour were both sellouts.
The previous concert attendance at the MCG was the March 14, 2009, charity concert Sound Relief, a massive multi-promoter two-city effort to raise funds for bushfire victims. A bill including Kings Of Leon, Midnight Oil, Split Enz, Paul Kelly, Wolfmother, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Jet and Jack Johnson drew 80,518. The MCG, with a seating capacity of 100,000, has hit capacity numerous times with sporting events. But it ranks its highest attendance at a rally by the late U.S. evangelist Billy Graham who in 1959 drew a crowd estimated at between 130,000 and 143,750.

Live Biz Angered As NSW Names 14 ‘High Risk’ Festivals
Australia’s music industry sector has reacted with anger as the New South Wales (NSW) government rejected its offer to delay controversial new strict rules governing festivals. 
A new coalition made up of the Australian Festival Association (AFA), Live Performance Australia, state music association Music NSW, music rights organization APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office met with premier Gladys Berejiklian’s staff Feb. 20 and unsuccessfully asked that the law be delayed until proper consultation with the live music sector. The government took a further 48 hours to release a list of 14 “high risk” festivals affected by the stringent new rules that kick in March 1. These included Defqon.1, FOMO and Knockout Games of Destiny where deaths had occurred, but also the high profile Ultra Australia and Laneway which had reported no incidents. 
The coalition called the government’s consultation process “a farce”, adding, “The process has lacked integrity and transparency.” Mountain Sounds, the Feb. 15-16 event that canceled a week out blaming authorities “toxic” attitudes and seeing their safety costs quadruple, was reported Feb. 25 to have gone into liquidation with debts of A$1.5 million ($1.07 million).

TEG Appoints Greg Willis As CTO
TEG appointed Greg Willis its new chief technology officer as part of a merger of ticketing, technology, client services and e-commerce operations. Company CEO Geoff Jones said, “Greg has a background in software engineering and architecture, but has also been successful in executive roles where he has lead technical and product teams in fast-moving industry sectors. This agility is what the role requires as TEG’s ticketing and technology operations continue to grow in our core Australian and New Zealand markets and as we expand across Asia.”

VenuesWest Fined Over Stadium Worker’s Death
VenuesWest, which operates the West Australian government’s venues, was fined A$90,000 ($64,315) in Perth Magistrates Court Feb. 22 for the death of a worker who fell through a skylight in the roof. The man had been dismantling scaffolding with three others in June 2016 and fell about 11 metres to the concrete concourse below. The scaffolding company, Perth Aluminium Scaffolds Pty Ltd was also fined $90,000.
NZ Flamethrower Arrested Over Festival Stunt
A 34-year-old New Zealand flamethrower artist was arrested after a fire dance performer during a total fire ban at the mid-February Dystopia Outdoor Music Festival. Its promoter Pete Murdoch later admitted it had been “bloody stupid” and he made a “massive mistake.” 
At the time, fire services were battling wildfire less than 50 kms away. Murdoch said the eight-minute performance during which the flamethrower had been aimed skywards throughout, had not been an issue for the audience but became one after photos of the flamethrower were posted online. Fire and Emergency New Zealand was scheduled to speak to promoters of another festival, Earthrites, at the same site March 8-10 to remind them of safety issues.
Gold Coast’s Groundwater Festival Now A  ‘Major Event’
Gold Coast country music festival as had its funding status upgraded “a major event” by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ). This came after the three-day event generated over A$5 million ($3.5 million) to the state’s economy in 2018, a 25 percent boost from the year before, and drew 63,000 patrons. 
The free concert was set up by a group of local traders under the name Broadbeach Alliance to draw tourists into the area during the quieter winter months. Its CEO Jan McCormick said the change of status would generate growth for the festival “in terms of increased sponsorship, the capacity to attract more profile acts and heightened production values in staging the event.”