Australia: Opitz Honored On Queen’s Birthday List; Rankine Charged With Theft

– Mark Opitz, Record Producer

Mark Opitz Honored In Queen’s Birthday List
Multi-award winning record producer Mark Opitz was made Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the June 8 Queen’s Birthday Honors List. 
His work with AC/DC, INXS, Cold Chisel and The Divinyls shaped The Australian Sound, and opened work with Kiss and Lenny Kravitz.
Promoter Phil Rankine Charged With 20 Counts Of Theft
Concert promoter Phil Rankine was charged with 20 counts of theft totaling A$5.56 million ($3.87 million). 
The 51-year-old was accused of obtaining funds from investors in 2018 and 2019 “to be used for various high profile Adelaide events,” police said.
Rankine staged concerts by Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Florence and the Machine and Phil Collin in Adelaide. 
Last December, after liquidators were brought in to deal with an estimated $20 million ($13.9 million) debt, he had to quit Elton John’s show in the city that month. Currently out on bail, he faces Adelaide Magistrates Court Aug. 12.
Country Music Champion David Woodward Dies
David Woodward, champion of Australian country music, died of a heart attack at 40-years-old. 
He was involved with the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Golden Guitar awards, and managed Shannon Noll, Beccy Cole and John Williamson. 
The latter said of him, “He was a vibrant young soul. We will miss his encouragement but most of all his company.”

Association Of Artist Managers Sets Up Mental Health Program Gimme Shelter
The Association of Artist Managers (AAM) is launching an early intervention mental health program called Gimme Shelter on June 15. 
It will reach 190 members after a pre-COVID-19 survey conducted this year found 85% of respondents were affected by mental health issues.
The program was developed by the AAM to include a three-year mental health first aid accreditation, creative health and resilience, conflict identification and resolution. It is delivered with the biz’s financial and well-being organization Support Act, whose CEO Clive Miller calls Gimme Shelter’s “ability to train up to 70% of AAM’s membership a real game changer.”
Executive Moves At Festivals
Olivia Ansell takes over in November as artistic director of the Sydney Festival, presenting her first festival in January 2022. 
Currently head of contemporary performance at the Sydney Opera House since 2018, the one-time dancer is a third-generation member of a showbiz family. 
She plans to continue outgoing director Wesley Enoch’s First Nation Blak-Out initiative and unearth Sydney’s “untold stories.”
Justin Rudge is new program director of Port Fairy Folk Festival, outside Melbourne, starting with its 45th edition, March 5 – 8 2021. 
Aside from venue booking and artist management, Rudge previously worked with AmericanaFest in Nashville, Tonder Festival in Denmark and Canada’s East Coast Music Association Conference.