Australia News: Sydney Lockouts, Country Festivals, 9 To 5

Sydney Parties To Celebrate End Of Lockouts
Sydney music venues, pubs and clubs were throwing parties Jan. 4 to celebrate the official end of the city’s controversial 1:30 a.m. lockout laws and announce that “Sydney is open for business”. The loosening of restrictions was announced three months ago for the CBD and Oxford Street districts, but not the famous Kings Cross precinct because of its high amount of alcohol-fueled violence. 
Michael Rodrigues, chair of the Night Time Industries Association, stated, “It’s the beginning of Sydney getting its mojo back.” He said it was important now for the live sector, police, health, transport and government to work together.
“We need to channel the spirit of Sydney in the late ’90s as we prepared to showcase ourselves to the world during the 2000 Olympics. That effort saw all stakeholders come together.”
About 180 venues closed after lockout laws were introduced 2014. A Deloitte Access Economics report found that the laws had cost the city night-time economy $16 billion ($11.06 billion) per year.
The live sector doesn’t believe the nighttime scene will return to a pre-2014 scenario. Universal Hotels GM Richie Haines said venues had in the five years learned to be more security responsible and offered more premium food and entertainment options. Ben McDonald, director of Capital Markets – Hotels added a younger generation had discovered party destinations outside the city which would continue to benefit.
– Savannah In The Round
More Country Music Festivals Announced
The growing popularity of country music festivals in Australia saw two new events announced. 
The three-day Savannah In The Round in October is expected to draw 15,000. It will focus on First Nations culture (to coincide with the Year of Indigenous Tourism) of storytelling, artists, music and dance along with 30 acts including international headliners. 
To be held in the North Queensland town of Mareeba, surrounded by reefs and rainforests, the event is organized by Sound Australia.
New Zealand’s country music destination Gore will stage Tussock Country May 23–31. The event is an initiative of the Gore Country Music Club, NZ Songwriters Trust, the NZ Gold Guitar Committee and the Gore District Council.
9 to 5 Musical Gets To Work
John Frost, Suzanne Jones and Ambassador Theatre Group Productions announced that the Dolly Parton-scored 9 to 5 musical is set to premiere in Sydney’s Lyric Theatre from April 21 and Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre from July.