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News June 22, 2020

Live Nation planning socially-distanced concerts in Australia: Exclusive

Live Nation planning socially-distanced concerts in Australia: Exclusive

Following a successful test run of socially-distanced gigs in New Zealand, Live Nation will turn its attention to staging COVIDSafe shows in Australia, from next month at the earliest.

Speaking with The Industry Observer, Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field said the NZ experience gave the concert promoting giant a head start on wider trials in these parts.

“It’s totally down to the government roadmap to increasing the size of audiences that can convene,” Field says. “Going by the three-step plan that the government announced, we’re tentatively aiming for July. But we can mobilise fairly quickly. We’ll take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself.”

When the doors re-open and gigs crank up, don’t expect confetti cannons.

The first Live Nation COVIDSafe shows will be about “testing the market, practising our processes and procedures and giving in the context of LEIF and us being a really organised industry, as we are,” Field points out.

“And just showing government and those that want a case study that we’re taking this very seriously and we always take the health and safety of our fans and clients seriously. We’ll be into it as soon as we can.”

Roger Field

Roger Field

With Victoria reporting a spike in Coronavirus infections over the past week and another round of strict lockdown, it’s almost certain Melbourne will lose its line in the queue for live music trials, behind Sydney and Brisbane.

Field knows what is expected from the Australia trial run. The Melbourne-based exec and TEG CEO Geoff Jones spearheaded LEIF, the Live Entertainment Industry Forum, which works alongside government to develop industry standard guidelines around the reactivation of concerts, from cleaning and sanitisation, to crowd management, social distancing, health monitoring and contact tracing.

“The biggest challenge we’re going to face as an industry is making sure that we can deliver the reassurance and the standards without the costs becoming too onerous,” notes Field, “because that will really stress the feasibility of certain venues and events. Our team over there (in NZ) were feeling quite reassured that it’s not necessarily going to require layers of additional costs” to stage COVIDSafe shows.

Live Nation’s live relaunch in Australia will be closely watched by the rest of the music community.

The NSW government and ARIA recently announced the “Great Southern Nights” series across the state this November, and Brisbane’s The Zoo announced a string of “Anti-Social” shows, kicking off July 11 with Butterfingers playing to a reduced-capacity room.

LN will apply the knowledge gleaned from its NZ exercise.

Led by Live Nation New Zealand Chairman Stuart Clumpas, the concerts promoter hosted a half-dozen “Together Again” shows at Auckland’s The Tuning Fork from late May, featuring a rotating line-up of local musicians, comedians and performers.

“We’ve learnt a lot, operationally,” Field explains. The NZ experience “has been fantastic from some perspectives,” he notes. “It gave us a number of insights into how the audience felt and behaved. They confirmed what some of the research is telling us, that the majority of fans can’t wait to come back to live events. It also gave us the opportunity, which every business venue, whether you’re a restaurant or a band venue, you have to practise your processes and have the operational experience of delivering.

“I’m feeling really good about it and I’m really pleased we had the opportunity to do it. We’ll follow the same sort of runway in Australia when we can.”

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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