Australasia News: Late Night Economy Thrives; Harvest Fest Extended; NZ: Rhythm & Vines Apology, Summer Brings Shortages

2 AUS JWAdelaide
JACK WHITE performs during the inaugural Harvest festival Nov. 19-20 at Rymill Park and King Rodney Park in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by David James Swanson / Harvest Festival)


NSW Live Biz Applauds Thriving Late-Night Economy

The New South Wales (NSW) live sector applauded how the late-night economy thrived since NSW government enacted reforms two years ago.

They included 200 music venues able to trade later, reducing fees by 80% until 2025, saving the industry A$500,000 ($337,641), fast-tracking new approvals, trialing an entertainment precinct and extending alfresco dining.

“Live music is back better than ever!” said Mark Gerber of Oxford Arts Factory and The Lansdowne. “It’s great to see bands touring, crowds back and venues full again.” He expected summer to be “our busiest in years.”

Emily Collins, managing director of Music NSW reported, “Over the past year we have seen a raft of new live performance venues spring up.”

Nathan Stratton, owner-manager of La La La’s in Wollongong called the reforms “pivotal” for its success, adding that clearance for outdoor dining “meant we could keep our doors open.”

Deloitte estimated the city’s night-time economy at A$27.2 billion ($18.3 billion) pre-COVID, with A$16 billion ($10.8 billion) in potential immediate economic uplift.

Harvest Festival Gets Extended

The inaugural Harvest festival, trialed by the South Australian government and Falls and Splendour Festival promoter Secret Sounds, is being extended indefinitely.

Some 30,000 attended Nov. 19-20 at Adelaide’s Rymill Park and King Rodney Park for a bill with Jack White, Crowded House, The Black Crowes, Cat Power, Groove Armada, Tones And I, Sam Fender, and Genesis Owusu.

The government expressed delight at the volume of intestate visitors but had not yet released figures.

During planning it expected 40% to come from outside South Australia and generate A$10 million ($6.75 million) of economic activity.

The Wiggles Win Best Live Act At ARIAs

Following a change to a younger, diverse lineup and an album with rock collaborators, kids group The Wiggles took out the public-voted best live act category at the major ARIA awards.

The act was up against Midnight Oil, The Kid LAROI, Gang of Youths, Amy Shark, Amyl and The Sniffers, Baker Boy, Budjerah, Genesis Owusu and Thelma Plum.

The Nov. 24 event at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion saw massive wins by First Nation acts, led by rapper/dancer Baker Boy with five gongs, and musical tributes to Olivia Newton-John, the Seekers’ Judith Durham and Archie Roach.

Week of November 20

Artist Manager Titus Day Gets Jail Time

Sydney-based artist manager Titus Day, 49, was jailed a minimum 2-and-a-half years for embezzling A$624,675 (US$415,893) from star client, R&B singer Guy Sebastian, from 2013 to 2020.

He was accused of 47 counts for withholding Sony Music royalties, ambassadorships, merchandise sales and performance fees, including payments for opening for Taylor Swift’s 2013 tour.

Sebastian was highest ranked artist in Pollstar’s Australian & New Zealand mid-2022 report, grossing US$7,431,956 from 105,124 ticket sales.

Bluesfest Wins 6th Gold Tourism Gong

Bluesfest Byron Bay, a contender for best international festival in the upcoming Pollstar Awards, won its sixth gold at the Nov. 17 NSW (New South Wales) Tourism Awards at Luna Park Sydney.

45% of its 101,024 attendees over five days in April were from outside NSW, bringing between $175 million ($116.5 million) to $180 million ($119.8 million) with them.

Director Peter Noble said, “This time (it’s) different and very special,” relating its return after two years of cancellations, and dedicating the win to his staff rose to the occasion, “the greatest feat I’ve ever seen a Bluesfest team do.”

RAC Arena Marks First Decade With Artist Fund

Perth’s 16,500-capacity RAC Arena, owned by VenuesWest and managed by ASM Global, celebrated its first decade with a new artist support scheme called Limelight.

Over 12 months, an act will receive financial support, music gear, showcase gigs, paid sets at the venue, and promotion through its marketing channel.

“It’s one of ASM Global’s core values that we give back to the communities in which our venues operate in”, said RAC Arena’s general manager Michael Scott.

In the venue’s first ten years, it had over six million patrons at 724 music, entertainment and sports events.


Rhythm and Vines Apologizes For Comments

Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines (Dec. 28-31) apologized for comments it deemed “inappropriate” by the festival’s co-founder/director Hamish Pinkham when announcing the addition of UK rapper Dizzee Rascal to its bill.

Acknowledging Rascal was found guilty in a British court of an “abusive and aggressive” assault charge in March, Pinkham argued the rapper had a large following Down Under, adding, “He’s done the crime, done the time, and now it’s time to do the grime.”

The festival, which draws 30,000, responded, “The words used were inappropriate and chosen without thought when discussing the serious matter.

“Rhythm & Vines does not condone violence of any kind and we have a responsibility to ensure our artists, fans and our crew feel safe and supported.

“We regret any distress these words may have caused.”

Week of November 20

Busiest Summer In 10 Years Facing Problems

NZ’s live sector is about to enter its busiest summer in ten years, according to its
executives. But it’s facing issues in the wake of COVID-19.

A report in Newshub revealed such an acute shortage of production crews –
compounded by their being lured to Australia and little new blood entering – that
crew companies are expecting burn-outs by summer’s end.

The pent-up consumer demand also means that smaller tours were taking longer
to sell-out, and NZ acts are finding it difficult to secure venues.