Australasia News: National Live Music Awards Return, Dennis Smith Dies, TEG Acquires FAN+; NZ: Wild Weather Cancels Fests

2 AUS Baker Boy
DIGERIDOO MASTER: Baker Boy, a First Nations rapper and First Nations rapper performing at the 2022 ARIAs with a digeridoo, is a regular winner of Australia’s National Live Music Awards. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)


National Live Music Awards Return After Two-Year Hiatus

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are returning October after a two-year hiatus.
It will be the sixth NLMA since 2016, the last a hybrid digital and physical event October 2020.

Founder-director Larry Heath said the Aussie live sector still faced challenges with increased costs and unpredictable ticket sales.

“But with massive international tours and festivals returning, and domestic tours announced daily, we very much have ourselves an industry ready to once again celebrate,” he said.

More than 60 awards are handed out to national, state and territory winners at various locations around the country.

The 2023 edition introduces a new category for lighting and stage designers for a specific tour, headlined by a domestic touring artist.

NSW Venues Get Extended Trading

To support its hospitality industry and night-time economy, New South Wales approved 20 more music, sports and cultural events around which hotels and clubs will keep their doors open for a total of 44 extra hours.

These include the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which draws 300,000 over 10 days in January and generates A$50 million (US$34.5million); Vivid Sydney which in May/June 2022 drew 2.58 million and injected $119 million ($82.2 million) into the NSW economy; and January’s Parkes Elvis Festival whose 40,000 visitors add $28 million ($19.3 million) to local businesses in the regional town.

TEG Acquires Experience Start-Up FAN+

TEG acquired Australian sports and entertainment experience start-up FAN+, with plans to integrate it with ticketing arm Ticketek.

It will provide users with personalized offerings such as a backstage tour, the chance to attend sound check, attend a production’s launch party, or tossing the coin at a sporting match, with appearances by music, sports and TV celebrities.

Entertainment Pioneer Dennis Smith Dies
Showbiz entrepreneur Dennis Smith has died after a long illness.

Best known globally as personal manager from 1980-94 to comedian Barry Humphries and his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, Smith began in the 1960s producing TV’s high-rated The GO!! Show.

In later years, Smith continued to produce Australian-themed rock musicals and touring scores of international acts until 2011.


Wild Weather Cancels Festivals

Wild winds and heavy rain in North Island saw the cancellation of the second date of Summer Haze in north Auckland. The fest was to draw up to 6,000 fans with NZ acts Shapeshifter and Fat Freddy’s Drop.

The Tauranga show of Neptune Entertainment’s four-date A Summer’s Day with UB40 and Jefferson Starship canceled and cleared out campers.

Also in Tauranga, where 70.8 mm of rain fell in one day, the Jan. 6 stop of five-date Juicy Fest – with Nelly, Ne-yo and Ja Rule – also pulled the plug. But its other shows, to 9,000-10,000 fans each, were a “massive success,” said promoter Glenn Meikle, adding the dates were followed by four in Australia.