Australia: Brisbane Live, Executive Moves, Sydney Coliseum, Michael Chugg

Brisbane Live
– Brisbane Live

ASM Global’s Brisbane Arena Gets Green Light

The Queensland government on Dec. 14 greenlighted a new, 17,000-seat music and sports arena in the heart of Brisbane. Called Brisbane Live, it is part of the A$5.4 billion ($3.71 billion) Cross River Rail project, which will deliver a second river railway network to allow more trains for the growing population.  
Brisbane Live will be built on top of the upgraded Roma Street Station, which will solve all public transport issues for venue patrons and is incorporated in a wider entertainment and cultural precinct.
The arena was first mooted in 2007 by Harvey Lister, chairman and CEO of facility management company ASM Global Asia Pacific (formerly AEG Ogden). It operates in the city the 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and the 13,600-seat Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Lister last year revealed to a Property Council of Australia lunch how he had to find a way into the government and then faced a market-led proposal. “For me, market-led proposals are where all good ideas were sent to die and hopefully go away,” he said. “We weren’t going to stand for that.” 
The government told Lister he would have to find funds for the arena himself. However, that changed when Cross River Rail came on the table.
Two private sector bidders will over the next six months offer costs and designs for Brisbane Live. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would deliver 450 jobs each year during construction, rising to 1,000 in the peak year, and 600 ongoing jobs when it opens.
Executive Moves At Eventbrite, LPA Board, Festivals
Eventbrite appointed Josh McNicol as general manager of its Asia Pacific operations, effective Dec. 10. In the role, based in Melbourne, he will oversee a team of 40, serving 60,000 event creators and processing 17 million tickets to 330,000 events in 2018. McNicol has 13 years of experience in building teams and driving marketing strategies in technology brands including Square and Temple & Webster.
Among those appointed to Live Performance Australia’s executive council for 2020-2021 Live Nation Australasia president Michael Coppel, Ticketmaster Australia and New Zealand general manager Maria O’Connor (vice president), Fiona Winning of the Sydney Opera House, Liz Hawkins of the Adelaide Festival Centre, Shirley McGrath if the Gordon Frost Organisation, Melanie Smith of Arts Centre Melbourne and Judy Vince of Crown Perth. 

Josh McMicol
– Josh McMicol
New Zealand choreographer and cross-platform artist Shona McCullagh takes over as artistic director of Auckland Arts Festival in March 2020 and lead programming until 2024.
Alison Smith, group executive external affairs for The Star Entertainment Group, is new chair of Brisbane Festival, taking over from Paul Spiro who held the position since 2014.
Patrick Hayes, former associate producer of Melbourne Fringe, takes over as acting program manager for the LGBTQIA+ Midsumma Festival.
High-profile Sydney publican Paddy Coughlan sold the last of his establishments, the live music hosting Botany View Hotel, to concentrate on the growth of his alcoholic lemonade, Frank Strong’s.
Chris Keely is new executive director of Create NSW, the state government’s music, arts, screen and cultural driver. He comes from broadcasting (including MTV and SBS) and served as a ministerial adviser where he developed Creative Nation, Australia’s first cultural policy.

Bushfires Sideline Lost Paradise 
A forecasted long and dry summer claimed its first cancellation December 12. The sixth Lost Paradise in New South Wales’s southern coast was axed as bushfires swept 2.7 million hectares, with six lives lost and 270 homes destroyed. “We simply cannot put anyone’s life at risk,” said promoters who considered an optional site. It was to stage December 28 to January 1 with Rüfüs Du Sol, Hilltop Hoods, The Veronicas and Confidence Man.
Keith Urban, Tina Arena Launch Sydney Coliseum 
The 2,000-seat Sydney Coliseum launched December with Keith Urban. Tina Arena, multi-platinum bluesman John Butler and Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus.  It’s the first of its kind in the growing Greater Western Sydney region and located in West HQ’s dining, health, accommodation and entertainment.
 West HQ CEO Richard Errington said, “It’s been designed to host stage shows, large musicals, ballet, the symphony orchestra. Anything the Sydney Opera House or the Lyric Theatre or the Capitol Theatre can provide, we can also accommodate.” 
The theatre cost A$100 million ($68,798)) to build and includes three foyers, seven bars multiple entertaining areas, VIP room, large rehearsal room and on site commercial kitchen. Its operation will initially be funded by gaming profits of the parent Rooty Hill RSL (Returned Servicemen Leagues).
Chugg Leads Aussie Airplay Push 
Veteran artist manager Michael Chugg and a host of artists launched a campaign demanding Australian acts get more play on commercial radio, free to air TV and streaming services. Feature More Australian Music (FM/AM) aims to make consumers how more effectively new music can be supported and how it makes for long term career, Chugg has in the past accused commercial radio of ducking its 25% local content quota by playing old hits or during midnight to dawn shifts, and that one of his bands, Sheppard, get more airplay in the U.S.
Chugg said at the FM/AM launch, “When you think how well our Australian bands and artists are doing internationally, it’s even more credible and a huge accomplishment because if we were getting airplay in Australia and the streaming services were not being dictated by American playlists, we would be doing a lot better.”