Australia News: Deaths At Festivals, WOMAD Canceled & More

– Rhythm And Vines

Four Deaths Mar Three Summer Festivals Down Under
Four deaths marred the return of three summer festivals Down Under. Two were at Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, New Zealand, which drew a daily 30,000 Dec. 28-31.
Audio engineer David Peterson from Wavefront Audio, who was working at the festival, died of suspected heart failure. 
Wavefront manager Milo Kerrigan explained, “Dave had injured his arm two days before, requiring a few stitches, and was on light duties as the system tech for the three stages we look after at R&V – typically, being the hard ass roadie that he was, he was back after a couple of hours patched up and soldiering on.” After set-up, Peterson had a nap in a van. When a crew member tried to wake him up, he was unresponsive.
His death came a day after police found the body of 19-year-old patron Fletcher Wong, who went missing from the site’s admission area two days before. Police thanked festival management and staff whom they said “provided significant support and assistance” during the search.
– Dave Peterson

20-year old NZ army member Tuitu’u Junior Vaiangina died at the sold out Hidden Valley at Matakana Country Park north of Auckland of a “medical event” shortly after he arrived. Organizer Red Rum Touring said “As a live music festival that prides itself on providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all, we are devastated by this tragic event.” There were five paramedics and two ambulances on site.

On Dec. 19, French backpacker Benoit Faure collapsed on the dancefloor at Elements festival on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He died despite an hour of CPR from the event’s medical team. A$20,000 ($ 15,411) was raised to send his body back to France.
WOMAD New Zealand Cancelled For 2021

The 2021 edition of the 16-year-old WOMAD (The World of Music, Arts and Dance) New Zealand, to stage March 12-14 in New Plymouth, was cancelled. But UK-based WOMAD International insists it will return in 2022, and to its traditional home at the Brooklands Bowl.

On Nov. 29 its longtime production partner the Taranaki Arts Festival pulled out of the festival, apprehensive about losing NZ$3.5 million ($2.51 million) if the 2021 event was cancelled due a COVID flare-up.
At the time, WOMAD International was negotiating a three-year deal with a number of companies with Live Nation NZ said to be among them.  Festival director Chris Smith was confident the 2021 event would go ahead. But on Dec. 18 he cancelled, citing timing issues.
“We have been working hard to develop a new partnership, and even though we are very close to getting the right arrangements in place with a great partner, producing a festival like WOMAD is a complicated task.”
In 2019 the festival contributed NZ$6.5 million ($4.67 million) to the Taranaki region’s economy, and in 2020 an average of 17,000 people attended each day of the three-day festival.

Melbourne Nightclub Pioneer Brian Goldsmith Dies
– Brian Goldsmith

Brian Goldsmith, gregarious and generous pioneer of Melbourne’s nightclub scene, died at 88. 

He was best known for Inflation, which opened in 1977, a railway themed club with a train carriage as a restaurant. With a dress code of “no tiaras, no tattoos” and new concept of all-female door staff, it was the magnet for politicians, socialites, musicians and every Hollywood celebrity who passed through town.
Goldsmith started in 1957 running a café Goldy’s. Its first waitress was future feminist icon Germaine Greer. His later venues Peanuts Gallery (patrons were encouraged to throw peanuts shells on the floor “because you can’t do it at home”) Hatters Castle and Redheads were stylish and loud, like himself.
Goldsmith was married four times (he was once Olivia Newton-John’s brother-in-law) and had eight children. A heavy smoker, he beat tongue cancer twenty years ago.
Wellington Musician Faces Seven Sexual Assault Charges
A 23-year old Wellington musician faces court Jan. 28 on five charges of sexual violation and two of indecent assault. There were six complainants with the alleged incidents taking place 2017 to 2020.
The man, whose name is suppressed, was the first scalp of Operation Emerald, which was set up October after posts were made on social media about the activities of a number of Wellington musicians. 
These accusations include drugging, rape of people sleeping or passed out, and physical violence and threats.  Police said 20 women had come forward so far in ongoing investigations.
Maven Artists, RELE Partner To Break Aussie Acts Through Asia
– Jessica Mauboy

Australian artist management company Maven Agency partnered with Esther and Rina Leck’s Singapore-based boutique-styled agency RELE to break its acts through South-East Asia, Greater China, Korea and Japan. 

Maven, co-founded by former Sony and BMG senior marketing exec Ken Outch, reps multi-platinum R&B singer songwriters Jessica Mauboy and Dami Im, and country acts Adam Brand and Travis Collins. 
The first push under the deal is Mauboy, who represented Australia at Eurovision in 2018, generated 159 million streams and worked with Beyoncé, Chris Brown and Ricky Martin. She just signed a deal with Warner Music Australia and set to make her debut as a coach on “The Voice Australia.”
Niriko McLure Sets Up Third Person Management
– Niriko McLure

Sydney-based artist manager Niriko McLure set up Third Person Management, repping multi-platinum songwriter and producer Jarryd James, indie shoegazing duo EGOISM, dance-pop artist Chela Etc and EDM act HANDSOME.

McLure said: “I was a fan of all of the artists on the roster before we started working together, I’m proud to become a part of their team and be involved in shaping their careers.”  
Third Person services cover career development, marketing and promotion, touring and live strategy.
McLure emerged in 2007 managing hip hop artist Snob Scrilla, who became a crossover hit after signing with Michael Gudinski’s Ivy League/ Mushroom Group. In 2012, she became general manager of Wonder Music Co, overseeing the signing and development of acts including 5 Seconds of Summer and Matt Corby.

NZ Singer Songwriter Dave Dobbyn Knighted
– Dave Dobbyn

Veteran singer songwriter Dave Dobbyn was knighted in New Zealand as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honors. Over 45 years, the 2013 hall of fame was a member of bands as Th’ Dudes and DD Smash, the latter wracking up six Top 40 hits. His biggest hit was “Slice Of Heaven,” a 1986 slab of summery reggae with The Herbs, which topped the NZ and Australian charts.

In a thank you post, Dobbyn cited his manager Lorraine Barry, his “right-and-left hand woman for nearly seventeen years. I say right-and-left hand because, even when she fell and broke both arms, she braved everything to work tirelessly for others. That is dedication.”