Australia News: Sydney Venues, Oxford St. Strip, Sexual Harassment, The Game & More
One hundred and fifty music venues in Sydney and New South Wales will share A$24 million ($18.5 million) to survive while coronavirus restrictions keep crowds capped at 50% to 75%.
These included Metro Theatre, Mary’s Underground, Max Watts, Oxford Art Factory, Hordern Pavilion, The Lansdowne, The Soda Factory and The Vanguard.
The announcement was made at The Crowbar in Leichhardt May 22 by jobs and investment minister Stuart Ayres. He said the funding was to “allow them to keep the doors open and get back to work putting on gigs.”
Tyla Dombroski, co-owner of Crowbar, which receives A$600,000 ($463,854), called it “a huge lifeline for us.” In April, the venue raised A$112,459 in a crowdfunding campaign and declared, “We wouldn’t have been open much longer.”
The City of Sydney unveiled a A$60 million ($46.3 million) proposal to revive the tired entertainment and retail Oxford Street that will include more music venues.
“We’re breathing new life into the fabulous strip with innovative controls to support growth and diversity, protect heritage and character and promote both day and night-time economies – all while ensuring the development of cultural space, such as new basement bars and space for creatives,” lord mayor Clover Moore said.
A strategy for the strip, badly affected by the 2014 lockdown laws, is to let buildings add two more stories. This will unlock more than 42,500 square meters of floor space provided they set aside at least 10% for cultural and creative uses such as basement music venues, live entertainment, performing arts, craft, fashion, design, film, television and photography.
Or they must consider health services, education facilities, hotel accommodation, light industry and community centers as part of a “local community” vibe.
Moore said changes would build on Oxford Street’s global reputation as center of Sydney’s LGBTQI community. It hosts the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and plays a major role when Sydney hosts WorldPride 2023.
The changes are expected to unlock “hundreds of millions of dollars” of investment from developers eyeing the strip’s prime real estate.
They would also boost Sydney’s moves to reinvent itself as a 24-hour global city. 24 Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues said moves were necessary because of home delivery and CBD office workers still reluctant to give up working from home. “Night time economies are a not-negotiable for any city that has aspirations for the world stage,” he said.
Music Biz Down Under Rocked By Sexual Harassment Claims And Reports
The music sectors in Australia and New Zealand have been hit with sexual harassment claims and reports that this year saw label executives and a venue general manager stood down, and a police investigation launched in Wellington, NZ.
An investigation by Sydney-based Brag Media – home of The Industry Observer, Rolling Stone Australia and Tone Deaf – saw four women allege rape and assault. One was Rosie Fitzgerald of the band I Know Leopard who showcased at Brisbane’s BIGSOUND in 2015.
Afterwards, a producer who was helping her career took her back to his hotel room and allegedly raped her. As she left crying, she said he gave her a $20 note.
Photographer Michelle Pitiris alerted QMusic, the association which stages BIGSOUND. According to Brag, she did not get a response for eight months. It was to suggest a closed-door meeting with her, Fitzgerald and QMusic at BIGSOUND 2020. The session did not take place as coronavirus pushed the conference online where a number of sessions were held on making the event safer and more respectful.
This March when BIGSOUND sent out a press release celebrating International Women’s Day with a playlist and “in conversation” pieces with local music identities, Pitiris dismissed it as “performative” in a post. She received a lawyer’s letter from BIGSOUND demanding an apology.
In May, a report by Dr. Jeff Crabtree of University of Technology in Sydney, Workplace Harassment In The Contemporary Music Industries of Australia and New Zealand, said 85% of respondents experienced sexual harassment. Just under 79% described power as a factor and 76% said alcohol was involved.
Last year, NZ police confirmed it was investigating 60 sexual assault allegations made against Wellington musicians. An arrest was made in December.
Paul A. Hebert / Invision / AP – The Game
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine, Calif.
Aussie Court Orders The Game To Pay $500k For Cancelled Tour
The Australian Federal Court ordered May 26 The Game to pay A$500,000 (US$387,495) in damages over a cancelled tour in September 2017.
The Daily Telegraph reported The Game’s agent Cash Jones from Fifth Amendment Entertainment (FAE) was included in the judgement.
The court heard that The Game aka Jayceon Taylor and Jones agreed in June 2017 with Australian promoter Tour Squad to do five headline shows in Australia and two in New Zealand three months later, to be billed as “his last ever” tour.
He was initially to be paid $25,000 ($A32,088) per show with appearance fees of $15,000 ($A19,250) for after parties.
However the fee went up to $40,000 ($A51,340) a show.
According to The Daily Telegraph there were a series of allegedly “bizarre demands” for the star and his 15-strong entourage, plus a demand Tour Squad payS$2.5 million ($A3.21 million) towards a film documentary they wanted to make.
A Facebook post to 8 million followers claimed the tour was “fake” and Tour Squad was “janky”.
Tour Squad wanted the court to order FAE to reimburse the $100,300 it had spent on marketing the tour and booking venues.
Justice Sarah Derrington ruled that Taylor, Cash and Fifth Amendment were liable for the tour not taking place. The damages were broken down to damages of $478,119.73 plus interest of $78,508.08 and Tour Squad’s court costs.
In a 15,000 word judgment, Derrington lashed out at The Game claiming third parties had tried “to communicate with and, apparently, to influence the court” and also Tour Squad’s attorney for inappropriately ringing the judge’s chambers to find out when judgments were to be delivered, and “highly improper” attempts to provide new material.
Darwin’s New $300M Stadium Unveils Designs
Darwin’s new A$300 million ($231.9 million) sports and entertainment stadium unveiled a range of designs for public feedback. A project of Australian Football League NT (Northern Territory), the 25,000-seat venue is expected to be finished within the decade.
“We want to see this stadium become the real heartbeat of the Northern Territory and something Territorians are proud of and designed with them as something iconic that also speaks to Australia and the world,” said AFLNT chairman Sean Bowden.
The plan is to also attract sporting events from Southeast Asia and India. He emphasized the venue had to be covered to attract major international acts.
Seven more speakers were added to The Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC), this year expanded to 2.5 days at the Gold Coast’s Sea World Resort Sept. 1-3.
Thea Jeanes-Cochrane, director of event creator Cochrane Entertainment – who produced the City of Gold Coast’s bid which secured the 2018 Commonwealth Games – will do a keynote on how COVID permanently changed how festivals are produced and what patrons expect.
Other additions are Ekka & RNA Showgrounds GM Stephen Galbraith, Ferve Tickets director Rob Raulings, Pause Fest founder and CEO George Hedon, Stagekings & IsoKing MD and co-founder Jeremy Fleming, Tilma Group & Events Academy MD Linda Tillman and Morwenna Collett, a senior arts consultant who specializes in diversity, access and inclusion.
Topics include future opportunities for virtual reality, post-COVID site planning, building an accessibility plan, igniting a creative program, leadership in crisis and managing revenue streams.
AFIC director and founder Carlina Ericson said that when she visited the Gold Coast mid-May on a networking excursion, “People were excited by the idea of the conference, they needed to share stories with people from around the country on how devastating 2020 was.”