Live sector enters 2021 with delayed festivals, promoters going down, but some good news
Still facing the uncertainty of COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions, the Australian live sector went into the new year with a mixed bag of delayed festivals, two promoters going down, and new events being announced.
This That festival has postponed from February to October 30 at Sandy Point in Queensland and on November 6 in Newcastle where in 2019 it drew 17,000 to Wickham Park.
Organisers explained it was currently impossible to deliver a format “that would both satisfy current government compliance, and more importantly give you the full This That experience you’ve come to love.”
Newcastle’s Grinspoon-headlined Scene & Heard also pushed back from February to
November 7, citing the same issues.
The Under The Southern Stars tour with international names Live, Bush and Stone Temple Pilots which postponed from April 2020 to February/March 2021, pulled back to late April/ May with new dates unveiled in January.
Its promoter Andrew McManus revealed that the Department of Home Affairs and Border Force Commissioner had granted the international names exemption to travel to and enter Australia as they will quarantine for two weeks.
This month’s Sydney Festival had to drop intestate acts as Adelaide acrobatic troupe Gravity & Other Myths, Brisbane’s Orava Quartet and Seymour Theatre premiere of the trans-Tasman Hide The Dog.
The festival, which begins January 6, has had strong ticket sales, and introduced mandatory mask wearing at its events before NSW mandated it.
Perth’s Fringe World, which kicks off on January 15 for a month with 83% local acts, also had to drop some non-WA performers although indications were they would not be financially penalised.
Sydneysiders Human Nature scrapped their Saturday January 9 headline appearance in Melbourne as part of Myer Music Bowl’s summer sessions.
The falling-off of trade in the entertainment sector due to the pandemic has also taken a longer-term toll on promoters.
Former Queensland rock promoter Tony Cochrane (now Gold Coast Suns chair) would up one of his companies, International Entertainment Consulting, which two years ago toured The Rolling Stones’ travelling exhibition.
Meantime, also in Queensland, the company behind the Gulf Country Frontier Days festival has gone into liquidation with debts of $141,556.
Melbourne lost two music venues in St Kilda: The Dog’s Bar closed after a 31-year run while The Fyrefly in Newmarket Hotel will become a sports bar.
However the live entertainment sector also had some good news.
Arts Centre Melbourne is re-opening The Australian Music Vault and its weekend forecourt live sets on January 15, with ticketed, timed sessions to manage capacity within COVID-Safe guidelines.
Cattleyard Productions, the team behind Groovin’ The Moo, is launching a national regional festival called Fresh Produce in spring after receiving partial funding of $1.2 million.
Former Future Music and Summerfield Dayze promoter Mark James pushed forward the opening of his new Surfers Paradise Arcade after strong patron demand from Queensland as well as from around the country.
Adelaide Oval this week announced it is returning to live gigs after a 12-month darkness. Weekend of Rock on February 19, 20 and 21 will feature names including The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens and Boom Crash Opera.