Aussie-Based Promoters Hit Expansion Trail Predicting Golden Era Ahead

“The live industry we all know and love is back!” declares Roger Field, president of Live Nation Australia & New Zealand.

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Roger Field, Live Nation

The start of 2022 was uncertain due to continued government restrictions.

“However, now we’re halfway through the year. In what feels like a flash, we’ve welcomed multiple major international tours and have many, many more to come, which means we will be finishing on an extremely busy and strong note,” he says.

“Coming out of the pandemic, it’s been a race to the gate,” concurs TEG Dainty President Paul Dainty, who’s promoted acts and stage productions for 50 years. “It’s been unbelievable, from nothing to 100 miles per hour!”

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Paul Dainty, TEG Dainty

Field regards Q3 and Q4 2022 as extremely strong for LN with Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Jack Johnson, 5 Seconds of Summer, Kendrick Lamar, Pixies, and Festival X (Calvin Harris).

But 2023 “will go down as a historic and record year – the magnitude and calibre of acts that we are planning to tour (Harry Styles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, One Republic), or already committed, is reminiscent of 2010 when we had a record number of stadium and arena tours visit Australasia.”

Major promoters continued expanding domestically and abroad.

In his additional role as president of Live Nation Asia Pacific, Field led the company into Thailand and the Philippines with local acquisitions, while its ticketing agency Ticketmaster part-purchased Bangkok-based Thai Ticket Major (TTM).

In Australia, LN’s spread-out included acquiring comedy management company Jubilee Street, venue operating with Anita’s Theatre in regional New South Wales, and custom designed and purpose-built Hindley Street Music Hall in Adelaide with Secret Sounds.

Both are designed to book major acts and build up attendances and become launching pads for new acts.

Field sees the merit of developing regional markets as a regular stop on the touring circuit – citing the market for regional festivals, winery shows and other events – and make ANZ a more attractive touring proposition.

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Dion Brant, Frontier Touring

Sydney-headquartered TEG, which has rapidly evolved to 32 brands (14 of those in the live space), set up TEG Europe in July.

After five years in that market, TEG chief executive Geoff Jones says, “We plan to work on our growth, do a bit more business there.

“Asia is another important market for us, it’s re-opening and we see a lot of opportunities there.”

For Jones, 2022 was “pretty much as we expected. There are still a lot of ups and downs, lots of kinks on the road, but it’s progressively getting better.”

After touring major Australian acts as the Kid LAROI, Amy Shark, Gang of Youths and Hilltop Hoods, TEG slate for 2023 is filling up, “of every level, from stadiums / arenas to theatres.”

“I also happen to think 2024 will be a massive year. We’ve got high expectations.”
TEG Dainty has 300 music and comedy shows on sale. Guns N’ Roses, Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, and Kings of Leon are due by year’s end.

“Australia is still a prime market for artists when they plan their global touring,” Dainty notes.

Guns N’ Roses have shifted quarter of a million tickets over eight Australian and New Zealand shows Nov. 18 through Dec. 10.

There’s a further 40,000 from a Nov. 12 date at Singapore National Stadium. The Singapore show is part of TEG Dainty’s strategic move into Asia.

“It’s potentially a huge market and it’s getting quite busy, so we will be absolutely bolting Asia more and more with what we do.”

In March 2022, Frontier Touring and its partner AEG Presents unveiled a new executive team.

It promoted Dion Brant to CEO, Susan Heymann to COO, Reegan Stark to CMCO, Andrew Spencer to CCO, and AEG Presents Asia Pacific president and CEO Adam Wilkes became Frontier Touring chairman.

“We have 12 tours on sale at the moment,” Brant relates. “We expect 80 to 90 next year.”
Those on sale include Ed Sheeran, Midnight Oil, Fridayz Live, Killers, Alt-J, DMAs, Hoodoo Gurus and Jackson Browne.

Frontier’s first major international tour was Tyler, The Creator in July/August, a sellout with the rapper’s entourage in high sprits because the dates were the last of a world tour.

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Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment

“Three years ago it would have been a dream run,” Brant laughs. “This time you woke up hoping everybody remained healthy and none of the flights got cancelled.

“But for all that, the team was back doing what it loved, the crowds were enthusiastic and it was just exciting to be back.”

Australian and New Zealand promoters are monitoring the situation in the northern hemisphere where the post-pandemic bump was replaced by a slowdown in ticket sales due to oversaturation, high ticket prices and budget-conscious consumers.

“That hasn’t happened in Australia but obviously we’re worried about it,” Brant responds.

Michael Chugg’s Chugg Entertainment also had a strong start this year, with the country and roots CMC Rocks festival selling out 22,000 stubs in 24 hours, and an encore run in January 2023 of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” possibly see it become the biggest tour of all time nudging close to 1 million tickets.

Strong sales are registered for acts to the rest of the year including Robbie Williams (whose Sept. 24 performance at the Australian Grand Final puts him before a crowd of 100,000 and a telecast to 4 million), Leon Bridges, Brad Paisley, Kane Brown, David Gray, Flume and Hanson, in partnership with Frontier.

An example of rising costs and shortages means stages for Elton John and Justin Bieber NZ shows have to be shipped from the U.S.

“You have to be so careful when you’re doing your budgets. When you put down $400,000 for trucking, it can rise to $1 million.”