Australasia News: Live Nation Secures Festival Hall Lease; Adelaide Festivals Live Up To ‘Mad March’; Extra Boost For Perth Concert Hall; Rebrand For Christchurch’s Festival

2 AUS RogerField
ROGER FIELD is the Melbourne-based president of Live Nation Asia Pacific.

Live Nation Secures Festival Hall Lease

Live Nation took over the lease of Melbourne Festival Hall, giving the city a full-time live music venue accommodating 3,000-5,000 capacity.

Live Nation will undertake renovations to the building which was built in 1915 and hosted wrestling and boxing bouts and The Beatles, Bill Haley, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra and Oasis.

It was bought in 2020 by Sydney-based Hillsong Church for A$23 million ($15.4 million) as its Melbourne hub.

The megachurch still hosted the occasional concert, most recently Architects, Azealia Banks and Chase Atlantic.

Live Nation’s Australian venue portfolio includes Palais Theatre in Melbourne (2,896 capacity), Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane, (800 to 1,800), Hindley Street Music Hall in Adelaide (1,800) and Anita’s Theatre outside Wollongong NSW (1,000).

Adelaide Festivals Live Up To ‘Mad March’

Three music festivals lived up to Adelaide’s “Mad March” of multi-events with huge turnouts.

WOMADelaide set a new attendance in its 31st year, with 103,335 to Botanic Park / Tainmuntilla over three days, said director Ian Scobie.

With 40% of the crowd from outside South Australia, the event is expected to create A$50 million ($33.6 million) for the economy, with the state government set to announce a licensing extension with WOMAD UK until 2029.

The higher attendance led to complaints about 60-minute queues for toilets, food and drinks.

Adelaide Fringe made history as the first festival in the country to sell 1 million tickets, hitting the mark at 10:01 p.m. on the final night.

Of the total box office value of A$25.17 million ($16.9 million), A$23.9 million ($16 million) was paid out in box office to artists and venues.

The 17-day Adelaide Festival exceeded its 2023 box office target, with A$5.8 million ($3.9 million) from 86,972 attending ticketed and free events.

Interstate patrons bought 25% of tix, pumping A$51.8 million ($34.9 million) into the economy.

Extra Boost For Perth Concert Hall

The Western Australia government committed an additional A$97.6 million ($65.7 million) to the refurbishment of the 50-year-old Perth Concert Hall, bringing its tally to A$134 million ($90.2 million) in addition to A$12 million ($8 million) from the Australian government and A$4 million ($2.6 million) by the City of Perth.

To unveil end of 2024, there will be new rehearsal spaces, improved acoustics, accessibility for people with disabilities, and backstage facilities, structural maintenance, with its forecourts to include gatherings and festivals.


Rebrand For Christchurch’s Festival

Christchurch’s longest running music festival, New Zealand International Jazz and Blues, was rebranded as the Jazz & Cabaret Festival.

Director Jodi Wright, who founded the event in 1995, said the move better reflected the city’s “boutique” tastes.

Staged March 22-26 with 100 New Zealand and international acts – with tribute shows to Carole King, Cole Porter and Joni Mitchell – it will be Wright’s last event, explaining her funding had reduced by two-thirds since COVID.