Australasia News: New Country Fest; Mushroom Group Launches Agency; Anita’s Upgrades; NZ: Rhythm & Vines

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IT TAKES TWO: Mushroom Group’s Matt Gudinski and MBA managing director Guven Yilmaz have partnered to create a new agency and expand to Sydney, Australia.


Chugg, Dylan, Create Second Country Festival

 In addition to their successful CMC Rocks Queensland, Michael Chugg and Jeremy Dylan of Potts Entertainment launched a second country festival, called Ridin’ Hearts.

It takes place at the Sydney and Melbourne Showgrounds Nov. 4-5, with the first round of acts predominantly from the United States including Bailey Zimmerman (who debuted at CMC this year), Danielle Bradbery, Sam Barber, Seaforth and Matt Schuster.

The new event is is more female and pop skew, in the wake of Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen’s selling out arenas in record time; and taking country music close to metro CBDs “shows there’s an untapped market”, Chugg earlier maintained.

Between March 15-19, CMC Rocks drew its largest audience to date, with 23,000 at Willowbank Raceway to see Morgan Wallen, Zac Brown Band, Kip Moore, Ashley McBryde, The Wolfe Brothers and Jordan Davis.

Mushroom Group Launches MBA Agency

The Matt Gudinski-led Mushroom Group expanded its talent booking footprint with MBA.

The new agency is an alliance with Guven Yilmaz, previously of Melbourne-based Vita Music Group, and expands to Sydney under former Niche agent Matt Thomson.

MBA offers touring and performances but also set production designers, PR and creative strategy from the Mushroom Group for a 45-strong roster including live drawcards EDM act Peking Duk, hip hop act Bliss n Eso and singer songwriter Conrad Sewell.

“Mushroom has been esteemed as the independent leader in the Australian music and entertainment industry,” noted Guven.

“Partnering with a company that not only emphasizes but promotes an independent entrepreneurial culture was essential to me.”

Live Nation Unveils Upgrades To Anita’s Theatre

Live Nation unveiled upgrades to Anita’s Theatre, 1200-capacity room regional New South Wales whose operations it took over mid-2022.

Under venue general manager Bob Mangan, the main foyer became a 120-space for comedy and cabaret, renamed The Kings Room after the building’s original occupier the Kings Theatre.

With Pro Sound and Lighting, LN installed a state-of-the-art D&B sound system and upgraded stage lighting system, and a crowd safety barrier for general admission shows.

Budjerah Joins UTA For North America

Recent breakthrough artist Budjerah, a 21-year-old First Nations soul singer-songwriter, joined United Talent Agency repped by Noah Simon for the North American market, where he releases records through Warner Music.

Managed by Lemon Tree Music, he is at Lonely Lands for AUS/NZ and Free Trade for UK/ Europe, with his first international shows in 2022.

The first winner of the ARIA awards’ Michael Gudinski breakthrough award, collaborated with Ed Sheeran after opening for him Down Under.


International Names For Rhythm & Vines

Between 25,000 to 30,000 fans will make their annual trek December 29-31 to Gisborne, on the east cape of North Island, to welcome in the new year at the 21st installment of Rhythm & Vines.

The first round of 100 acts are the UK’s rapper Central Cee, whose single “Sprinter” spent six weeks at No 1 since its release, and EDM names Wilkinson, Hedex and Delta Heavy; and Australia’s Dom Dolla and Peking Duk.

They join NZ singer songwriters Gin Wigmore and Georgia Lines, pop duo Foley and DJ  BBYFACEKILLA.

Calling it a “world-class” lineup he was “incredibly proud” to announce, R&V co-founder and programming director Hamish Pinkham declared, “R&V 23-24 is shaping up to be one for the books.”