Australasia News: Melbourne Festival Hall; Adelaide’s ‘Mad March’; Creative Australia; NZ: Sky Stadium Upgrades

The historic Melbourne Festival Hall is relaunched June 15. (photo courtesy of Live Nation)


Live Nation Relaunches Melbourne Festival Hall

Three months after signing a multi-year lease with Hillsong Church for Melbourne Festival Hall, Live Nation gathered entertainment biz A-listers at the 108-year-old venue in West Melbourne.

It was to announce the heritage-listed, 5,000-seater’s return to hosting international and Australian acts, now with new sound system and upgraded technology and backstage area.

Its roll call included The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, and Lorde.

LN’s June 15 relaunch coincided with the 59th anniversary to the day of The Beatles’ show, and the Australian Rock Collective, a group made up of members of Jet, You Am I and Powderfinger, recreated the Fab Four’s 1964 setlist.

The Lionel Rose Stage Door recognized the late First Nations boxing world champion who won 22 bouts at the venue and had his funeral there.

“Festival Hall has long been one of the state’s most iconic and culturally significant venues, so it was only fitting to welcome it back to the industry with a historic celebration that marks many milestones,” said Roger Field, president, Live Nation Australia and NZ.

 “With Festival Hall now in the Venue Nation portfolio, we are committed to cementing its position on the global touring map, and, alongside the Palais Theatre, preserving its cultural legend in the live entertainment scene.”

Adelaide’s ‘Mad March’ Festivals Nudge $1B In Tourism

A June 9 report by South Australia’s government showed that Adelaide’s ‘Mad March’ of festivals generated close to A$1 billion  (US$687.2 million) in tourism dollars

The state now plans to spend millions more to continue the growth in coming years.

Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide and Adelaide Fringe were among events which saw visitor expenditure in March 2023 at $906 million ($622.6 million), a 134% jump of March 2019’s $677 million ($465.2 million).

WOMADelaide’s110,000 sold out in record time, Adelaide Festival had its second largest ever box office reach of $5.95 million ($4.08 million) and 239,280 attendees, and the Fringe cracked 1 million tix for the first time generating $23.5 million ($16.1 million).

In South Australia’s 2023/4 budget, delivered June 15, a further $20.8 million ($14.2 million) was committed over four years for the Major Events Fund to secure new events and grow existing ones.

Creative Australia Legislation Passed

In what Live Performance Australia hailed as “a new phase in public policymaking and investment in Australian creativity”, the government passed legislation to establish from July 1 the new Creative Australia policy.

It includes national music development agency Music Australia and Creative Workplaces.

With funding of $69.4 million ($47.6 million), Music Australia will see all government portfolios working with the music industry for best results in overseas touring, investment, job creation, upskilling and market and audience development.

It comes at a time when music consumption is on the rise, but very few Aussie artists are making it into the top of the official ARIA charts.

Creative Workplaces is responsible for promoting “fair, safe, and respectful workplaces” for artists, arts workers and organizations.


Major Venue Upgrades At Sky Stadium

Sky Stadium in Wellington has completed NZ$4.1 million (US$2.55 million) worth of upgrades.

The 23-year old 34,500-seat sports and concert venue, also known Wellington Regional Stadium, most recently hosted Ed Sheeran, SIX60 and Guns N’ Roses.

The changes include a full pitch replacement, upgraded tower and bowl rim LED lighting to change floodlighting efficiency from 748kw to 606kw, gender-neutral changing facilities and 40 new entry turnstiles.

The first event will be the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup 2023 in July attracting over 30,000 visitors to New Zealand, and estimated to generate $200 million in economic activity.

The next concert is Foo Fighters on January 27.