Australia & NZ: Strip Search Suit; Benee Announces Tour; Wild Thing Rebrands

Splendour In The Grass
Charlie Hardy
– Splendour In The Grass


Festival Patrons Push For Compensation Over ‘Illegal’ Strip Searches


Hundreds of patrons of a festival strip searched by New South Wales (NSW) police are pushing for compensation claiming they were illegal and conducted by untrained officers.


Redfern Legal Centre and Slater & Gordon Lawyers, both based in Sydney, launched a class action investigation into searches conducted at Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.


S&G believe the patrons could gain “substantial compensation”, with serious cases eligible for payouts of “tens of thousands of dollars”.


Its senior associate Dr. Ebony Birchall said an unlawful strip search is “classified by law as an assault and gives rise to compensation”.


Many of the searched, some under-aged, were

allegedly “directed to lift or remove items of clothing, strip naked and squat and cough, or lift their genitals so officers could visually inspect body cavities”.


Data obtained in 2018 by the Greens Party showed that 64% of searches prompted by drug dogs resulted in false positives.


Victoria Closes Scalping Loop


The state of Victoria closed a loop in its anti-scalping laws, which allowed unscrupulous individuals and companies to bypass the rule which made it illegal to advertise for sale or sell a ticket for more than 10% above its face value.


This was by obscuring inflated resale prices for the seats in packages involving hospitality, experiences or merchandise.


The Major Events Legislation Amendment (Unauthorised Ticket Packages and Other Matters) Bill 2021 now requires ticket resellers to state the face value, the asking price and the seat details of tickets in advertisements.


Event organisers must publish a register of authorised sellers of bundled ticket packages on their websites, including the resellers’ trading name, its ABN or ACN number and a link to the website of the company.


Companies will be required to state they are authorised sellers of ticket packages in any advertisement for packages to declared events. It will be an offence to falsely claim to be an authorised seller of ticket packages.


Since June 2018, 4,500 listings involving 20,510 tickets were removed from reselling websites after intervention by authorised officers. More than 60 infringement notices were issued.


Penalties ranging from A$908 (US$657.34) to $109,044 ($78,938.81) for individuals, and up to $545,220 ($394,712.78) for companies.


Wild Thing Rebrands As Wild Thing Music Group


In the lead up to its 10th anniversary in 2022, Wild Thing Presents / Wild Thing Records rebranded as Wild Thing Music Group. It incorporates its touring, management, merchandise, record label and music store.


The company focuses on prog-rock, managing Caligula’s Horse, Future Static, The Omnific and Exploring Birdsing, and staging Progfest. Through an alliance with Destroy All Lines, it’s toured international acts as Leprous, Haken, The Contortionist, The Ocean, Monuments, Skyharbor, Balkan Beat Box.


The company is led by founder Eli Chamravi and newly appointed GM Daniel Chamravi.


 Red Hill Entertainment Tackles Skills Shortage


UNIFIED Music Group’s Red Hill Entertainment which runs festivals UNIFY Forever, NYE On The Hill and Land Of Plenty, is confronting the industry’s post-pandemic skills shortage.


It struck a multi-year deal with education provider for the creative industries, Collarts, to provides students with real-world work experience. Up to 60 roles are available in 2022, including artist liaising, production crew, content creation, digital marketing and sponsorship.


Red Hill festival director, Rhett Maclaren, said: “As our business expands into new festival brands and event operations, we know this partnership will be key to investing in the next generation of industry talent post-pandemic.”


Benee Announces 56-Date World Tour


“I am so ready to tour!” exclaimed New Zealand alt-pop performer Benee to fans as she dropped dates of a 56-date world tour.


“Doing shows with my band is the best thing and I have missed it so badly this year.”


In the 21-year old’s case, the pandemic-caused wait was worsened by the fact that despite her breakthrough single “Supalonely” generating 4 billion streams and her Hey u x album received positive global reviews but she could not tour again outside her home market.


The tour begins in New Zealand through Live Nation February 25 to March 11 with ten shows, eight of them held over from August 2020. She follows up with six in Australia March 20 to April 7, her first in two years.


The northern hemisphere run takes in Europe and the UK in April/May and North America June.


These include the SWG3 Galvanizers in Glasgow (May 15), O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London (May 17), Fabrique in Milano (May 20), Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit (June 6), House Of Blues Boston (June 14), Theatre Of Living Arts In Philadelphia (June 15) and The Depot in Salt Lake City (June 22).