Australasia News: Festival Industry Conference, Bigsound Funding; NZ: Ticketmaster Complaints

2 AUS Killers
KILLER RETURN: The Killers perform at Selina’s in the Sydney, Australia, suburb of Coogee’s Bay. The venue has been shuttered for refurbishing and announced it will reopen April 24.


Festival Conference Moves To Sydney

The Australian Festival Industry Conference has a new home in 2023, staging in Luna Park in Sydney Aug. 30-31.

Begun in 2019, it was previously held at resorts in Coffs Harbour, NSW, and on the Gold Coast.

“Audience feedback was for it to be held in Sydney or Mel-bourne,” founder and event
director Carlina Ericson told Pollstar.

“It’s easier to get to for delegates coming from overseas or rest of Australia, and I am expecting to double attendance numbers this year.”

The first keynote speakers are highly decorated festival creators Rhoda Roberts on co-designing festivals with First Nations peoples, and Anthony Bastic on activating non-traditional public spaces for inclusive festival content design.

Other topics cover event marketing, sustainable events in remote areas, building blocks to success, preparing event insurance for the unexpected, and presentations of new product.

First round speakers are Greg Donovan, managing director Outback Music Festival
Group; Alana Hay, founder Milestone Creative; Sally Porteous, founder Event Managers Network; Jason Holmes, managing director H2 Insurance Solutions; and Dr Abbas Elmualim and Badi Mahabat, partners at Bold Futures.

Bigsound Receives $4M Funding

To increase profile of local music in the run-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Queensland government promised A$4 million ($2.6 million) over four years to Brisbane conference and export-ready showcases event Bigsound.

The money will be used to increase attendance numbers, book international names to play at the Sept. 5-8 happening, and set up Yada Yutta-ba (House of First People) for indigenous talent to hang with executives.

Kris Stewart, chief executive of presenter QMusic said the $4 million sent ripples to the rest of the state’s music sector, which pumps A$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion) annually into the economy and generates A$330 million ($220.7 million) of salaries and income.

“So the benefits of this investment will be felt much wider than just one amazing week in September,” he noted.


Fans Complain About Ticketmaster Seat Changes

Fans of Rod Stewart, Backstreet Boys and Ed Sheeran have complained in recent months to media about Ticketmaster changing their seats without consultation or refund option.

The latest incident was at Stewart’s April 5 show at the Forsyth Barr Stadium when a fan told the New Zealand Herald he and others were moved from their elevated seats in the Speights Stand to the cheaper floor section where it was hard to see the stage as everyone was standing.

“Ticketmaster isn’t answering people’s messages or comments, and a lot of people have been affected,” the fan told the Herald.

Two Backstreet Boys dates originally announced in 2019 for Auckland’s Spark Arena were merged into one by March 2023 after being rescheduled three times due to COVID.

Those who didn’t apply for a refund within a month’s window were told by the agency: “We recommend gifting your tickets to a friend or family member if you cannot attend.”

Consumer NZ said Ticketmaster should have taken responsibility to come up with a solution, and recommended fans file a claim with the Disputes Tribunal.