Australia: Festival Promoters Remain Unsure Of Return Date

Splendour In The Grass
– Splendour In The Grass

Festival Promoters Uncertainty Increases With Mixed Messages
Festival promoters are growing increasingly uncertain about when they can get back to business after receiving mixed messages from authorities.
Some states have started to relax restrictions, with sports tams likely to start their seasons within weeks. But chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Murphy said festivals and nightclubs would be among the last to return, and likely not until a vaccine was found, which could be 12 to18 months.
“We certainly would not be contemplating large-scale gatherings. It’s hard for me to envisage reopening of nightclubs and big music festivals in the foreseeable future,” he told a briefing.
A Department of Health statement May 1 indicated further delays: “Large scale events would require the approval of the jurisdiction where they are held. When festivals and concerts are permitted, there may still be significant measures to maintain social distancing and to support good hygiene.”
Two major festivals have already rescheduled to later in the year since COVID-19 restrictions began. Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass (attendance: 50,000) pushed back to Oct. 23-25 and Big Pineapple Music (attendance: 16,000) on the Sunshine Coast also delayed to Nov. 21. 

New Zealand’s promoters are now not sure if they’ll get back to work in October as planned.
Brent Eccles, president of the New Zealand Promoters’ Association, said after a meeting with the country’s prime minister, “I guess we were all in a little of denial, that we thought ‘it’ll come back, it’ll be okay.’ But when you really look at it and hear what’s said, you realise the borders are going to be shut for quite some time.”

Aussies Would Attend Festivals Without Vaccine
Australian live music fans would attend festivals until a COVID-19 vaccine is found. A study by influential national youth radio network triple j of 1,500 listeners found 57% would still attend. 
That sparked fears from health authorities, including its own science editor, Norman Swan.
“Social distancing is impossible at a music festival,” he responded on air. “You are in close contact with other people and it only takes a few people to be infected for that to spread, and if you’ve got one super spreader in there, you’re stuffed. It’s high risk.”
Dr. Swan noted that the highest infection was in the 22-29 age group – a high proportion of triple j’s audience – because “(they) don’t get symptoms and 50% of spread is asymptomatic.”
Iron Maiden, Backstreet Boys Pull Plug
Iron Maiden announced May 1 that their seven Legacy Of The Beast dates in May through TEG Dainty were cancelled and tickets refunded.
Live Nation deferred Backstreet Boys’ seven date DNA World Tour visit to 2021, between April 28 and May 12.

The Buckleys
– The Buckleys

Buckleys Virtual Tour Reached 4 Million
Early estimates that the world’s first virtual world tour – by Byron Bay “hippie country” trio The Buckleys – would reach 1 million were short of the mark. 
Live Nation, which came up with the idea after the band couldn’t tour behind its debut album, Breathe, announced May 1 that the act had a virtual reach of 4 million across dates across North and South Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
LN chairman of global music and president of global touring Arthur Fogel said: “We are thrilled to have been involved with introducing The Buckleys to the world. This was a great team effort and we look forward to bringing them back as soon as possible – for the real deal.”
Chris Murphy, the INXS manager who signed them to his Petrol Records/Universal for most of the world and Ume for the U.S., stated, “Personally, I am stunned by the result. I am so proud of The Buckleys family, they carry the same mandate my showbiz (agent) mother and father gave me, the show must go on & Arthur Fogel made sure as hell that the show went on!”

Fire Fight Australia
John Jared Leibowitz
– Fire Fight Australia
John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John at Fire Fight

Fire Fight Australia Raises A$10.7m
Fire Fight Australia, the fund raising campaign by TEG Dainty and TEG Live for bushfire victims, has raised A$10.7 million (US $6.87 million), it revealed in a May 1 update.  
A bulk $7.2 million ($4.6 million) came from the 10-hour February 16 nationally televised 23-act concert at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
It included Queen + Adam Lambert, John Farnham, Icehouse, 5 Seconds of Summer, Hilltop Hoods, kd lang, Michael Buble, Olivia Newton-John and Alice Cooper. 
The sum included merch sales, an auction of Fender guitars and other items signed by the acts and generated A$20,000 ($12,851) and A$3.4 million ($2.1 million) from corporate donations. 
TEG monies went to various charities involved in rescue, relief & recovery, rehabilitation and rebuilding. CEO Geoff Jones said, “As we face another huge challenge for our country with the coronavirus, it is a great reminder of the Australian spirit that always shines through when we face tough times together.”
A live compilation album through Sony Music Australia with royalties going to young Australians in bushfire affected communities.
Row Over Refunds Escalates
The issue between cash-strapped ticketholders and ticketing agencies has heated up as refunds become delayed. 
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald noted that NSW Fair Trading received almost 171 complaints and 155 enquiries about cancelled or postponed events between March 1 and April 23 (compared to 20 complaints and 41 enquiries same period last year) while Consumer Affairs Victoria received 150 enquiries in the same period, almost double the volume from the same period 2019.
Ticketmaster said “due to the unusually high volume of cancelled events”, processing refunds was taking time. Ticketek responded it was “working through millions of ticket refunds” and the “vast majority of fans have received their refunds within a 20-working day window.”