Live Nation chairman says Australia’s live scene ‘punches above its weight’
Brisbane’s new Fortitude Music Hall is open and, judging by its early bookings, doing a solid trade.
There may be more like it in the pipeline.
Speaking with Billboard, Alan Ridgeway, chairman of Live Nation Asia Pacific, said the concerts giant was thrilled with the new 3,300-capacity complex, and he hinted that the company would add more venues to its portfolio.
“We’re always searching for new venue opportunities across the Asia Pacific and I’m sure you’ll be seeing further announcements in the coming months,” he said.
Currently, LN operates three venues on both sides of the Tasman: Spark Arena in Auckland, the Palais Theatre in Melbourne and the Fortitude Music Hall, in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
With a slew of internationals and a-league homegrown acts lined-up for the weeks and months ahead, including Pixies, The Flaming Lips, Tyga, The National, Mac DeMarcom, Birds of Tokyo and Kasey Chambers, “it’s not going to take long for this to become a ‘must play’ venue for artists touring Australia,” Ridgeway says of the Fortitude.
When asked whether LN could replicate the Academy Music Group’s clever marketing strategy in the U.K. or House of Blues and Fillmore enterprises in the U.S., Ridgeway commented, “I wouldn’t rule out establishing another brand or even using one of these existing brands, but the most important thing for us when we open a venue in a new city is to choose a name that works for that market – which is what I believe the team have achieved with the Fortitude Music Hall and The Outpost (the upstairs venue within the Fortitude).”
In Australia, LN’s concert events draw upwards of 3 million music fans each year, and the group produces nine festivals, including Splendour in the Grass, Download and the new Festival X jaunt.
Ridgeway sees the Australian live music market as “one that punches above its weight and that shows no signs of letting up.”
A joint venture with Secret Sounds, Live Nation and the team behind the Triffid (John “JC” Collins, Paul Piticco and Scott Hutchinson), the new complex has a 3,300 capacity for music and events, making it the “largest ballroom/theatre-styled space in Australia,” its operators claim.
The venue was christened July 26 with an all-star concert featuring Ball Park Music, DZ Deathrays and Tia Gostelow, and a succession of Brisbane legends including Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning, The Grates’ Patience Hodgson, Custard’s Dave McCormack’s and award-winning singer and songwriter Jeremy Neale.
The following week, on Aug. 2, the main room hosted its first daytime gala, the Tales From The Road fundraiser for Youngcare, featuring guest speakers and performers John Collins, Spiderbait’s Kram and Tom Busby of Busby Marou.
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This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.