Australasia News: RAC Arena Honored; Grassroots Alliance; Festival News

RAC Arena promotional shots of outside the venue.
VENUE OF THE YEAR: Perth’s 16,500-capacity RAC Arena was named venue of the year at the 15th Australian Event and Symposium Awards, which took place in Sydney before 300 event execs. (Photo by Duncan Barnes / RAC Arena)


RAC Arena Wins Venue Of Year

Perth’s RAC Arena took venue of the year at the 15th Australian Event and Symposium Awards that took place in Sydney before 300 events execs.

As with the 33 other categories, the win was based on leadership and innovation which significantly enhanced the event experience.

“We’re exceptionally proud of our team and the work that’s required to host world class events such as Ultimate Fighting Championship 284, Telethon 7 2022 (which raised A$71.4 million /$45.9 million for sick children) and Billie Eilish,” said Michael Scott, GM of the 14,000-seat venue.

Meantime, its management company VenuesWest’s 2022-23 financial year results saw it set a new attendance record, with 6.18 million patrons to 194 sporting and entertainment events to its 14 venues.

Ed Sheeran set an attendance milestone for both Optus Stadium and Western Australian venues, with over 73,000 fans and a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating.

Adelaide Venues Form Grassroots Alliance

Seven Adelaide clubs formed themselves into the grassroots Independent Live Venues Alliance (ILVA) to get a voice and the chance to “incorporate collaborative strategies and awareness campaigns” to solve their problems.

The cost of living crisis has seen fans focus on festivals and big events, and slashing the revenues of small-to-medium size rooms.

Jade Flavell, owner of the Wheatsheaf, one of the seven, pointed out, “As Independent grassroots venues we’re facing the toughest period in our collective memory. The stakes are high – if one of us falls, it hurts us all.”

Concern Over No Pill Testing

With a hot summer predicted, and greater consequences for drug takers in outdoor events, festival promoters in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) expressed concern that the two states still had no pill-testing laws or frameworks.

In Victoria calls reignited after Sept. 8 comments by a coroner investigating a 2022 death that screening may have saved the man’s life.

In NSW, where the Labor party took power March 2023, premier Chris Minns canvassed a drug summit within the first six months to address recommendations made by a 2019 inquiry into the drug-related deaths of six festival patrons between Dec 2017 and Jan 2019.

It recommended pill testing, decriminalization and ending the use of sniffer dogs. But the first NSW festivals of this summer still operated under the old rules, with the summit delayed.


More Global Headliners At Summer Festivals

More international names are making their way to summer festivals, ensuring crowd turnouts.

Chemical Brothers will top Christchurch’s Electric Avenue February 24 at Hagley Park, the British duo’s first visit in ten years. It is NZ’s largest one-day festival attracting 30,000 this year, and includes NZ drawcards Six60, L.A.B and Shapeshifter.

Peggy Gou and Foals headline Golden Lights Jan. 4 and 5 at Trusts Arena in west Auckland, with the bill including NYC’s A-Trak and UK DJs Sub Focus and Wilkinson.
Earlier, Greenstone Entertainment’s three-stop Summer Concert Tour in January, confirmed Simple Minds, Texas, Collective Soul and Pseudo Echo.

The three-city retro Sounds Series has ‘80s acts the Human League, Go West and Nik Kershaw.

Rhythm & Vines which has 25,000 heading to Gisborne in the North Island’s wine region, to greet the new year in a rite of passage, had UK’s Central Cee and Wilkinson, and Australia’s Dom Dolla in its first announcement.