Australasia News: Mushroom Group Turns 50, NSW Election, New Country Fests; NZ: WOMAD Returns

2 AUS Mushroom
MUSHROOM AT 50: CEO Matt Gudinski leads the celebration of Mushroom Group’s 50th anniversary, which includes a festival produced by Frontier Touring. (Photo Courtesy Mushroom Group)


All-Star Concert, Movie To Mark Mushroom 50th

Mushroom Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary through 2023 with events including a star-studded concert and a movie about founder Michael Gudinski, who died 2021.

The blockbuster concert, planned by Frontier Touring for November in Melbourne, will see “some of the best artists in the world” doing versions of top Mushroom hits, said CEO Matt Gudinski, promising a “once in a lifetime event.”

The movie, “Gudinski,” will look at his start as a teen school dropout who eventually developed a 25-division empire which established him as a household name in Australia and with a global reputation.

It is helmed by director/co-writer Paul Goldman, co-writer and ex-editor of Rolling Stone Australia Toby Creswell, and producer Bethany Jones.

In the meantime, Frontier Touring’s Always Live, a Gudinski initiative with Victoria’s government staged 60 acts, playing large and small venues across the state, was declared a success.

The government reported March 19 that music, sports, arts and cultural events pumped almost A$1 billion ($665.3 million) into the economy in the second half of 2022, attracting 6.9 million patrons.

Always Live included Kings of Leon playing to 10,000 in regional Mildura.

Billy Joel drew 76,000 to a one-off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 45% of them interstate and bringing Melbourne hotel occupancy to 97%.

NSW Music Biz Celebrates Election Landslide

The New South Wales (NSW) music industry is celebrating after the Labor party swept back to power after 12 years in a landslide March 25.

The new arts minister John Graham, an avid music fan, committed to spend $103 million ($68.5 million) on contemporary music.

Sound NSW, part of a 10-year strategy, plans to double the number of music venues, add funding of up to A$250,000 ($166,340.) for permanent outdoor festival and concert sites, and building skills of managers, technical and production workers.

A$4 million ($2.6 million) is pledged to tackle bullying and harassment in the entertainment industry, $2 million ($1.3 million) over four years to the Support Act charity to tackle wellness issues, and the first music census for regional NSW mapping venues, gigs and infrastructure to check the health of the live sector.

“The new government has a valuable opportunity to accelerate the recovery and rebuilding of our live arts and entertainment industry through the development of a new cultural strategy for NSW,” said Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson.

“This should include a more integrated approach across government to investment in our artists and performers, companies and infrastructure for the benefit of all of our audiences.”

New Country Festivals Make A Bow

Two new country music festivals are aimed at the growing urban young audience.
One World Entertainment’s Boardwalk pairs Americans Jimmie Allen and Gavin DeGraw with Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers, Busby Marou, Shannon Noll, The Wolfe Brothers, Casey Barnes, The Buckleys and Darlinghurst.

It piggybacks on the Smashing Pumpkins/Jane’s Addiction-headed, 10-date “The World Is A Vampire” tour (April 15-30) which, with its NWA vs. WAOA wrestling bouts, is set to reach 70,000 sales.

Boardwalk stages the day after each stop, sharing stage, production and transport.
One World founder Andrew McManus told Pollstar, “With post-COVID costs, it’s near impossible to do one-day festivals.

“Each marketplace gets two festivals, with totally different audiences, and the response has been good.”

The Muster Rodeo and Music Festival has rodeo promoters Double Barrel Entertainment mixing for the first time in metro Perth 150 rodeo riders and country stars as Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers and Casey Barnes at Claremont Showground in May.


WOMAD Makes Triumphant Return

WOMAD NZ made a successful return March 17-19 to New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park, after a two-year COVID-caused absence, reported Suzanne Porter, chief executive of the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust.

It was “back in the groove”, she said, with 15,000 attending each day, for 40 artists from Afghanistan to Zambia, some of whom shared family recipes on the Taste The World stage.
The turnover will allow the Trust to pay back New Plymouth District Council the $1 million grant given to cover the two-year absence.

In 2020, WOMAD contributed NZ$6.1 million ($3.7 million) to Taranaki’s economy.