Australasia News: Landmark Report On Fest Woes; ASM Global Names EVP; Musicians In Poverty; NZ: Stadium Decision Nears

Matthew Lazarus-Hall


Landmark Report Lifts Lid On Festival Woes

The inaugural Soundcheck report from government agency Creative Australia provided landmark research into the challenges and future directions for music festivals.
With input from 51 of the 535 festivals staged during the 2022-23 financial year, it reported that rising operational costs meant it took an average of A$3.9 million ($2.52 million) to stage events.

As a result, 35% lost money with a median deficit of A$470,000 ($304,128) while more than half went into the black with a median profit of A$732,000 ($473,677).

According to the report, rising operational costs (47%), lack of funding and grants (39%), insurance (31%) and extreme weather events (22%) are most significant barriers.

But while major events as Splendour In The Grass, Mona Foma, Fairbridge Folk and Groovin’ The Moo were no-shows this year, some like Ultra Australia, CMC Rocks and Knotfest had their best years, and others like the three-city Good Things were making a return.

While there were calls for governments to increase funding, others argued that taxpayer money go to grassroots venues and artist programs and not to bail out commercial entities.

Georgie McClean, Creative Australia’s executive director of strategic development and partnerships, noted, “Until now, the size, scale and impact of the industry has not been well documented or understood,” and added further research would be conducted on reasons behind the attendance slump of 18- to 25-year-olds from 41% pre-COVID to 27% in 2022-23.

ASM Global Taps Matthew Lazarus-Hall

ASM Global tapped entertainment industry veteran Matthew Lazarus-Hall as executive vice president of entertainment and content.

His focus will be working with ASM venues in Australia and the Asia and MENA regions, providing support regarding strategic direction and development of entertainment and other content.

His initial focus will be the ASM Global-managed Kai Tak Sports Park sports, entertainment and retail precinct in Hong Kong, with a 50,000-seat domed stadium and 10,000-seat indoor sports and entertainment arena opening mid-2025.

Lazarus-Hall previously was operations director at Ticketek, CEO of Chugg Entertainment, SVP Asia for AEG Presents and founder/CEO of Square Circles Creative Solutions consultancy in event strategy across touring, festivals, exhibitions and sport.

ASM Global chairman and CEO Harvey Lister said, We have worked closely with Matthew over the past 20 years and he comes with great respect across the whole entertainment industry. He will bring different perspectives to our organization.”

Musicians Working Under Poverty Line

A survey of 550 musicians by the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union representing the creative sector, found 49% of musicians and singers are earning less than A$6,000 ($3,882) a year from their music, compared to 42% during the COVID lockdown era.

About 64% earned less than A$15,000 ($9,707) a year, with 40% juggling several jobs, and 42% reported agreeing to performing unpaid gigs.


Decision On Auckland Main Stadium

The decision by Auckland Council on the site for Auckland’s main stadium will be made in May, the New Zealand Herald revealed.

Four proposals being considered are Quay Park, waterfront precincts Bledisloe Wharf and Wynyard Point, and a redeveloped Eden Park which will see its stadium capacity rise to 60,000.

HKS Australasia’s Quay Park proposal includes hotels, dining, residential and office space, with a 55,000-capacity stadium with a radical design incorporating the indigenous Maori and Auckland landmarks.

The Auckland Waterfront Consortium’s idea includes a fully enclosed arena with 70,000 seats.

Music outsold sports at Eden Park in 2024, with two P!NK shows in March and three from Coldplay locked in November. A February poll of nearby residents found 90% would support six artists playing up to 12 shows there in one year.