“Promoters dare to back big rock acts” from the Weekend Australian

Promoters dare to back big rock acts
By Iain Shedden, Music writer
August 21, 2004
AUSTRALIA’S rock and pop promoters could be flirting with disaster this summer as they compete for the public’s ticket money.

With acts such as the Eagles, Rod Stewart, and REM already confirmed for the summer, new tours are being announced weekly by leading promoters.

But the congestion of rock and pop acts eager to come to the southern hemisphere at the same time means promoters will be scrambling to sell tickets.

“Someone’s going to get burned,” veteran rock promoter Michael Chugg said yesterday.

“Once you start asking $140 or $150 for a ticket the public are going to ask questions, especially if there are a few shows happening around the same time.”

January and February are looking particularly congested, with mainstream acts such as Stewart, Neil Diamond, kd lang, and the combined John Farnham/Tom Jones tours, all hitting the road in February.

Former Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler tours in March, while American rock band REM will be here in April.

Also tipped to tour in the summer is Delta Goodrem, although no dates have been announced.

U2, Cher, Sting, and Norah Jones are among the other big names likely to announce Australian visits for 2005.

Australia’s most successful and enduring rock band, AC/DC, had been widely tipped as headliners for next year’s Big Day Out festival, but a spokesperson for the group denied they would be returning for a homecoming tour. Rap/rockers the Beastie Boys are expected to be among the headliners at the BDO in January.

Leading promoters such as Chugg, Michael Coppel, Paul Dainty, and Michael Gudinski are particularly nervous of large, outdoor and stadium shows, some of which have proved costly in recent years.

Long-time music and theatre promoter Kevin Jacobsen’s company went into liquidation last year after losing almost $2 million on his outdoor Bruce Springsteen shows and $6.8 million on the theatre production The Witches of Eastwick.

The touring schedule is almost as hectic in the lead-up to Christmas as it is afterwards, with Elvis Costello, Faithless, Blink 182, George Benson, and Chris Isaak leading the pack.

Chugg said that he would prefer to concentrate on small theatre and club venue shows.

“We’re doing well with the smaller shows we are promoting up until Christmas, so I’m not going to get into a bidding war for some of the bigger names that are being bandied around,” Chugg said.

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