Australia News: Major Festivals Return, Promoter Bills Gov’t & More

– Vivid
Sydney Opera House lights up during Vivid

Major Festivals Announce Return Dates

More major festivals are returning Down Under. WOMAD NZ (New Zealand) returns March 18 to 20, 2022 to New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park. It made its announcement 24 hours after a NZ$1.9 million ($1.37 million) underwrite from New Plymouth District Council and a five year partnership to stay in the district.
It pulls 11,000 visitors a year and delivers A$6 million ($4.35 million) to the local economy.
The 2021 edition was cancelled after the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (Taft), which presented the event since 2003, withdrew its support four months ahead citing financial loss concerns in case of a COVID outbreak. 
A number of NZ promoters contacted WOMAD International’s UK-based director Chris Smith to take over but plans ran out of time. The 2022 edition will be produced by Taft. Smith said, “2021 was such a difficult year around the world, but this partnership agreement has been central to the decision to bring the festival back in 2022.”
Sydney’s light, music and ideas Vivid returns Aug. 6-28, 2021 after a break last year. The extensive music component, mostly held at Sydney Opera House, includes the world premiere of Sampa The Great’s An Afro Future show, a five day residency by rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard with no song repeated, the debut of indie supergroup Springtime, and Electric Fields’ nui-soul soundtrack to the lighting of Opera House’s sails.
Darwin Festival returns Aug. 5-22 incorporating the festival and the National Indigenous Music Awards, both at the tropical surrounds of Darwin Amphitheatre.
The festival has Flight Facilities and Confidence Man while those playing the televised Aug. 7 awards include First Nations acts Baker Boy, Miiesha, Electric Fields and Alice Skye.
The 20th Devonport Jazz returns July 22—25 after a no-show in 2020. It is staged by Devonport City Council throughout the Tasmanian city showcasing local names and headlined by pianist Paul Grabowsky and singer Katie Noonan.
The Grass Is Greener returns to Cairns Showgrounds in tropical Queensland Oct. 23 with EDM acts Crooked Colours, Young Franco and Boo Seeka and hip-hop artists Ziggy Alberts and hip-hopper Jesswar. “Last year we were scared it may never happen again,” said promoter Oli Frost.
Promoter Invoices Government For Axed Events
The New South Wales (NSW) government received a A$70,000 ($53, 996) invoice from an irritated festival promoter for costs accrued from constantly having to reschedule events because of unpredictable COVID-19 restrictions.
Damian Gelle, CEO of T1000 Events, stressed in a May 26 letter to the Department of Premier and Cabinet that businesses should not bear the cost of interruptions and rescheduling “caused not by any decision, error or incompetence on our part, but by (your) decisions and actions.”
He specified the sold-out ‘A New Year’ on Jan. 1 at Sydney’s Greenwood Hotel, “our first box office income in almost a year.” It was rescheduled to February, then May 8, when it was stopped due to a temporary lockdown, and finally took place May 29 to a capped 900 crowd.
T1000 was turning over “tens of millions” in the three years to the pandemic, but trade fell 90% since. “With the costs incurred by rescheduling events impacted by repeated COVID-19 restrictions, we now face serious financial hardship.” Gelle urged for an economic recovery package for businesses, or an insurance scheme so events can be booked with certainty.
Aussie Politician Appeals Twisted Sister Case
Clive Palmer, seventh richest Australian, filed an appeal May 28 against an April 30 federal court judgment he pay Universal Music A$1.5 million ($1.15 million) for breaching its copyright. 
This was for rewriting Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for his United Australia Party’s 2019 election theme. Dee Snider, co-writer, has no financial interest in the song although he testified the song’s use was “not good for my heavy metal image”. He sold his 60-strong catalogue to Universal Music in 2015.

– Wintergarden
One of T1000 events, Wintergarden

Eurovision Asia-Pacific Abandoned

Plans to hold an Asia-Pacific version of the Eurovision song competition are abandoned, Australia’s SBS TV revealed. SBS broadcasts the European version here, and in recent years managed to open the contest to Aussie entrants.
Asia Pacific, announced March 2016, was to be held in Australia a year after with 20 countries involved and a potential viewing audience of 200 million. But there were political issues, with Hong Kong and Singapore pushing to be hosts instead. As of March 2019 only ten countries were in.
However, the U.S. edition, named American Song Contest, screens 2022 on NBC, competing to win the public vote for Best Original Song. It will be a co-production between Propagate and Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group.

– Murray Curnow

Murray Curnow Sets Up hat. Management

Murray Curnow, who began his management career at London’s Wildlife Entertainment with Royal Blood and Arctic Monkeys, set up a new company called hat. in Perth, Western Australia. Its roster includes rock bands Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and People Taking Pictures, indie-pop girl band Dulcie, and UK singer songwriter Lily Denning. Its offices are in Perth and London.
“After 12 years at Wildlife Entertainment, this is a brand new chapter for me,” Curnow said. “The Australian music scene is a hotbed of new talent that has huge potential not just domestically but globally.” 
Marvel Stadium Revamp Sets Dates
The A$225 million ($173.5 million) revamp of Melbourne’s 56,000-capacity Marvel Stadium has start/finish dates after appointing construction giant John Holland as builder. Work begins late 2021 to be ready by the 2023 Australian Football League season.
The idea is for the venue and precinct to become a year-round hub for sports and entertainment. These include a Town Square Plaza, fan zones, new toilets and state-of-art LED lighting to give teams and acts colors in and outside the stadium.

– An artist impression of the new Marvel Stadium

Report Provides Numbers On 2020’s Downturn

A new Roy Morgan Research report provided numbers on the live entertainment downturn in 2020. 
Just 14% of Aussies aged over 14 (or 2.9 million) attended theatre, rock concerts, theatre restaurants, cabaret, music festivals, jazz, classical, blues, ballet or opera in an average three months, down from 30% (or 6.2 million) in 2019. 
Only 5% of those surveyed went to a concert, compared to 10% a year earlier. The pandemic saw Generation Z overtake Generation X, with one in six (17%) attending but down from 32%. Next most likely to attend were Millennials at 15% (down from 30%). The biggest declines were for Generation X on 13% (from 32%) and Baby Boomers on 10% (from 29%).
Attendance by women dropped to 13% from 32% while those by men fell to 15% from 28%.