Australasia News: Mushroom Group Launces MG Live, MBA; Global Fest Execs Pay Visit; Grass Is Greener In Liquidation

Jamaica vs Brazil: Group F FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023
CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in a moment of quiet before Jamaica plays Brazil Aug. 2 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place at venues across Australia and New Zealand. Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images


Mushroom Group Launches MG Live, MBA

The Matt Gudinski-led Mushroom Group expanded its live music footprint with two new companies, MG Live and the agency MBA. MG Live, launched July 27, consolidated Illusive Presents, Roundhouse Entertainment, Good Life, I OH YOU Touring and Arena Touring.

“MG Live will be Australia’s largest independent touring and events collective,” the company said in a statement.

Helmed by Gudinski with the heads of the divisions, its primary focus will be on developing branded events and experiences alongside its domestic and international headline touring. It will work hand in hand with sister company Frontier Touring, recently named in Pollstar’s top 5 global promoters.

“Throughout the last eighteen months we have worked to consolidate a number of Mushroom’s live interests outside of our leading touring business Frontier Touring, which is operated in partnership with global powerhouse AEG Presents,” Gudinski explained.

“We looked at how to best move forward with our other specialist touring and leading event companies and decided the time was right to combine their strengths and bring them under one banner.”

The move comes a week after Gudinski announced the arrival of MBA, an alliance with Guven Yilmaz, previously of Melbourne-based Vita Music Group. It expands to a second base in 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.”

Global Fest Execs Heading Down Under

More senior executives from global live sector brands are heading Down Under to appear at summits and check out their showcase acts.

Latest additions to speakers at BIGSOUND in Brisbane (Sept 5—8) are The Great Escape’s new music programmer Adam Ryan, artist manager Simon Napier-Bell, ATC Live’s Caitlin Ballard, Patrick Daniel of Germany’s Reeperbahn, Cora Chan of China’s Cockenflap, South By Southwest’s senior music programmer Dev Sherlock, CAA’s Cameron Kaiser, Festival Republic talent buyer Ed Lilo, Parallel Lines promoter Kate English, Chloe Pean (AEG Presents), Chris Brearley (Greyline Touring / School Night) and FKP Scopio’s Silke Westera.

“In 2023, we’re leveraging all 22 years of our collective BIGSOUND experience to secure the most important figures in the industry for our next crop of Aussie acts,” event programmer Tom Larkin said. “Deals mean meals and every very person we are bringing to BIGSOUND can further an artist’s career immeasurably.”

The latest live music exec announced for the inaugural SXSW Sydney (Oct. 15 to 22) is Coachella CEO Paul Tollett.

Of 2,500 applications for 400 showcase slots, announced from the U.S. were Flyana Boss and almost Monday, with others from South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Grass Is Greener In Liquidation

Hand Picked Events, the company behind the four-city Grass is Greener festival went in liquidation with debts of A$ 3 million (US$1.99 million) to suppliers which included agencies Cult Artists and United Talent Agency, and ticket-holders.

The promoter went into administration last December after low ticket sales saw headliners Ty Dolla $ign, ZHU and Maya Jane Coles pull out and two shows cancelled.

New Chair For Venues NSW

Venues NSW, the state government agency for its sports and entertainment stadiums, announced former New South Wales premier and sports minister Morris Iemma as new chair.

It oversees four Sydney venues – Accor Stadium, Allianz Stadium, Sydney Cricket Ground and CommBank Stadium— as well as Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium and Entertainment Center Showgrounds, and Wollongong’s WIN Sports and Entertainment Center.

Iemma said his immediate focus was to complete the agency’s plans to set up sports, entertainment and tourism precincts on the waterfronts of Newcastle and Wollongong.


Report: Slow Return For Live Sector

A PWC report commissioned by the NZ music industry on 2021 and 2022 found that it contributed NZ$720 million (US$443.7 million) to the country’s economy and directly employed around 2,250 people in full-time equivalent jobs.

All aspects of the industry were affected by the COVID pandemic. But while streaming, radio broadcasting and retail made returns in the last 12 months, the live sector was at 36% of its value in 2019 – which was its record highest.

“Live performance revenues were particularly negatively affected,” said the report, going on to estimate live performance revenues at $125 million ($77 million), with a $68 million ($41.9 million) contribution to NZ’s economy and 941 full-time equivalent jobs.