Australasia News: Perth Venue Winners; Festivals Cancel; Mushroom Events, Eden Park Set Records

OPTUS RULES: Optus Stadium took the best stadium award for the fourth time at Austadium’s 2023 Stadium Awards, receiving 43% of the public vote. (Chris Putnam/Future Publishing / Getty Images)


Major Wins For Perth Venues In Stadium Awards

Perth venues won four of five categories at Austadium’s national 2023 Stadium Awards. The four are among 14 owned by VenuesWest on behalf of the West Australian government.

Optus Stadium took the best stadium for the fourth time, receiving 43% of the public vote. Melbourne Cricket Ground was runner-up with 15% of votes, while Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium had 14%.

Optus also took best cricket ground. CEO Mike McKenna said, “A stadium is a pretty soulless place without fans, and the people that continue to flock to events and enjoy the Optus Stadium experience are a huge part of this recognition.”

Accounting for 47%, RAC Arena was crowned best indoor arena. Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena had 26%, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena at 17%.

Best rectangular stadium saw HBF Park take 29%, and Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium at 22%.

Best regional stadium, GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, Victoria, claimed it for the fourth time. Soon for a 40,000 capacity, it had 28% of votes, ahead of Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium on 26%.

Festival Conference Takes 2024 Off

The next Australian Festival Industry Conference (AFIC) will take place in 2025. Organizers had to press pause on this year as its venue, Sydney’s Luna Park, is undertaking major renovations.

Carlina Ericson, who founded AFIC in 2019, said that after staging it at resorts in New South Wales and the Sunshine Coast, “the move to Sydney in 2023 generated its highest attendance.” It was particularly popular with international delegates.

In the off-year, Ericson will attend European festivals to meet with meet with promoters and suppliers to discuss speaking at the 2025 event.

Vintage Vibes, Coastal Jam Cancel

Two popular festivals canceled for 2024 citing cost of living issues. Vintage Vibes, in South Australia’s winery region, will not go ahead for a second year as planned Jan. 27-28 with Rudimental, Ball Parl Music, Groove Armada and DMA’s.

It cited “increased pressure on supply chains, especially to venues outside the CBD, alongside shifts in economic climates reflect the broader challenges many are facing within the industry.”

Coastal Jam, which launched in 2017 on Victoria’s surf coast, pulled its Jan. 13 date three days out, due to low ticket sales that founder Adam Metwally attributed to consumer money diverted to major festivals and international tours, “which I fully understand. But it’s led to smaller boutique festivals such as ours to fall by the wayside.”

Record Year For Mushroom Events

Mushroom Events, set up by the late Michael Gudinski in 2010 to supply entertainment for sports and corporate events, had its biggest year in 2023. It delivered 110 events, project manager project director Anna Toman posted.

They included KISS, Mark Seymour and Kate Miller-Heidke at the Australian Football League’s grand final before 100,024, G-Flip and Vera Blue for the AFL Women’s grand final, The Corrs and Stevens for the Victoria Racing Club and Birds of Tokyo for the Formula 1 Grand Prix.


Eden Park Breaks Attendance Records

Auckland’s 50,000-capacity Eden Park drew 1 million fans in 2023, with CEO Nick Sautner stating it “set new records for attendance across various sporting and entertainment events and underpinning Eden Park’s status as a leading destination for fans worldwide.”

The music highs included two from Ed Sheeran to 167,148 for a $7.5 million turnover. This year is already looking strong with P!nk in March, and Coldplay making NZ history with three shows in November after 200,000 vied for tickets.

Sautner added, “Eden Park had a key role in boosting the New Zealand economy, where NZ$1 (62 cents) invested equaled a NZ$1.34 (83 cents) return for our country.”