Australia News: Under The Southern Stars, Pods, Golden Guitars & More

Under The Southern Stars Marks First International Touring
– Andrew McManus of Under The Southern Stars

The 11-date Under the Southern Stars tour from late April will become the first in 2021 with international names. Approval was granted after promoter One World Entertainment’s proposal of stringent COVID-safe procedures was green-lighted by the Border Force Commissioner following feedback from state governments, health officials and police departments.

“Promoters have had to learn new tools and skills, quickly and on the run, and make sure that we dot the I’s with so many departments,” One World director Andrew McManus told Pollstar. “It’s a completely new world.”
McManus collected 105 letters of support including those from the premier of South Australia, the lord mayor of Brisbane and the environment minister of New South Wales. The One World proposal also addressed the tour’s economics, which had the musicians and their entourages classified as “critical workers.” The tour will at each of the eleven stops create between 500 to 600 direct and indirect jobs, and pump an extra A$6 million ($4.63 million) into each local economy.
Under the proposal the overseas acts, which include Stone Temple Pilots and Bush, will be tested in the U.S. and must provide negative certificates before boarding the plane together in Los Angeles.
– Bush, one of the acts on Under Southern Stars

On arrival in Sydney, they quarantine for two weeks in a closed-off resort. “It’s a military style environment,” McManus said. “We move them as one, they all stay in the same hotel with blocked-off floors.” There are no backstage areas. The acts arrive in time for their set and leave immediately after. They stay separated from the Aussie supports.
Under the Southern Stars, initially postponed from 2020, has sold 30,000 tickets. McManus expected 60,000 stubs by tour start. Measures for crowds include a COVID marshal for every 200 attendees, and zigzag queues for bars and toilets for social distancing. “There has to be double the toilet blocks, no urinals because they are free-standing, and the toilets have to be with a flipper which has to be cleaned every 15 minutes.”
He added, “There’s no doubt the world will be watching closely on how this work.”
Concert Series Trials Pods
– Bernard Fanning

A partnership of Five Four Entertainment, Groove and Secret Sounds are trying pods as a way of social distancing at Summer Sounds, a 20-date concert series at Bonython Park in Adelaide held Jan. 8 to 31. It took “months” of negotiations with South Australia Health for the shows to go ahead.

Each of the shows are by major live drawcards –  including Bernard Fanning, Lime Cordiale, Ball Park Music, Mallrat, Ocean Alley, Will Sparks and The Veronicas – with attendance of 2,000 each. The 10,000 sq/m site will be divided into 400 mini fenced areas, each initially accommodating four to six patrons, spaced 1.5m apart. Pods closest to the stage, in the “gold” section, cost A$660 ($510.14).
Each pod has to arrive together in a 15-minute window, using a government sanctioned covid-safe app to enter. Pre-ordered drinks are collected before the show, those ordered after are delivered by bar buggies. Inside the pod patrons can sit, stand or dance, but must remain inside except to collect food from vendors or go to designated toilets, which will be high ratio. 
“Basically, there are 2,000 VIPs at each show,” suggested event director Daniel Michael. “It’ll be awhile until we see moshpits, but we imagine more people allowed in each pod.”
Golden Guitars Announce Hosts, Performers
– Golden Guitar Awards

The 10-day Tamworth Country Music Festival in January was cancelled because of COVID but its flagship event, the 49th Toyota Golden Guitars awards, will go ahead as a live event Jan. 23. It will be at its usual venue, the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre, but in a cabaret sit-down format and with only music executives in the audience.

The awards announced on Jan. 8 that five-time Golden Guitar winner Catherine Britt and two-time winner Andrew Swift will co-host. 
Performers include seven-time 2021 nominee Fanny Lumsden, and six-time nominees The McClymonts and Travis Collins. Special performances mark the 50th anniversaries of bush band The Bushwackers and singer songwriter John Williamson.
The night is broadcast live on ABC network’s radio and Landline Facebook page, with 90 minutes of highlights on TV Jan. 24.
Promoters Shutter Companies, Venues Go Dark
The pandemic continued to cast shade on live entertainment. Major entertainment and sport figure Tony Cochrane put one of his companies into liquidation. International Entertainment Consulting Pty Ltd, which launched 2013 with A$3 million ($2.31 million) capital, focused on travelling exhibitions. Its last major event was the Rolling Stones exhibit of 2016 which played 12 global cities. Cochrane who in the ’70s brokered rock tours now chairs the Cochrane Entertainment Group, Aus-X Open motocross, the International World Exhibition and Festival Organization and Gold Coast Suns football club.

– Dog’s Bar
Goodidja Productions, the company behind rural Queensland’s Gulf of Carpenteria’s Frontier Days festival, went into liquidation with debts of A$141,556 ($109,421). Over ten years, it drew culture tourists from around the world to experience First Nations music, dance and culture and performances by indigenous tribes from abroad.
Two Melbourne music showcasing venues in the St. Kilda entertainment precinct, closed within a week of each other. 
The Dog’s Bar called last drinks after 31 years unable to keep up with the rent. The Fyrefly’s landlord decided to turn it into a sports bar.
Stallholders Take Bluesfest To Court
The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered Bluesfest to pay eleven stallholders $90,250.45 ($69,759.78). 
When the festival, which has a total draw of about 100,000 each year, had to cancel weeks out due to covid pandemic restrictions, Bluesfest Services offered to roll over its fees to 2021, when it stages April 1 to 5, citing a ‘force majeure event’ clause in its agreements not to be obliged to pay back fees in the case of a no-show. 
85% of stallholders accepted. The tribunal sided with the eleven dissenters, under the Fair Trading Act, Australian Consumer Law and the Frustrated Contracts Act. The festival has 28 days to appeal. Bluesfest was contacted for comment.
More information is available at Echonetdaily.
EMC Assembles Advisory Board
One time chair of the Association of Artist Managers Leanne de Souza, EDM promoter Hardware Corporation director Richie McNeill, former festival and venue programmer and Australia Council head of music Paul Mason and Singapore-based events company Sivillian Affairs founder Lilian Hautemulle are among a nine-person advisory board assembled by the Sydney-based Electronic Music Conference (EMC). 
They will work with its director Jane Slingo to develop the organisation’s strategy 2021 – 2024 and to shape the future of EMC. 
Others on the board represent media, digital, labels and marketing.