With The Temper Trap headlining an all-Aussie entertainment extravaganza on Grand Final day, which also includes music icons Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers, the AFL have put together a plan to unify footy and local music in the hopes it will eradicate the sour memories of last year’s Meat Loaf debacle.

Speaking to AFL’s General Manager – Strategy And Marketing, Andrew Catterall you can sense the enthusiasm he and the football body have about the restructuring of the Grand Final’s entertainment.

“We set out to build a relationship with the music industry, to build trust with the artists,” he says. “So to provide our biggest day and our biggest stage is great for us and hopefully also great for the Australian music industry,” he adds confidently.

This year, the launch of Live at the Footy saw 14 Australian artists perform throughout the season. Catterall says the event has helped nurture the relationship between the football body and music. The likes of Lanie Lane, Last Dinosaurs and San Cisco all took to the Live at the Footy stage, with their performances broadcasted by Channel Seven to around a million viewers on average.

“It was an opportunity for a lot of younger and emerging acts to play in front of really large audiences,” Catterall says. “We were rapt to be able to work with those bands and their management to give an opportunity to the artists, but also to provide something different for footy fans,” he adds.

After last year’s poorly received Grand Final performance by Meat Loaf, there’s little doubt punters were hoping for something different for football’s day of days. The ageing rocker was rumoured to cost the AFL $500,000 and his set prompted a war of words that eventually broke out between the shame singer and the AFL, with the Grammy Award winning artist calling the league “jerks.”

Meanwhile earlier in the year, Tone Deaf reported the emergence of a petition demanding local talent for the event, urging the AFL to invite one of many “talented musicians and bands in this country” to perform.

Catterall says the criticism directed at the AFL had no influence on preparations for this year’s event, and the decision to use local talent simply was organic. “All through the year we’ve had Live at the Footy, we’ve used “Long Way to the Top” in our ad campaign and worked with Tim Rogers for our finals campaign. It was a natural decision to go for iconic, international, Australian artists on Grand Final Day,” he says.

With the league determined to secure one of the country’s most popular bands, Catterall says convincing The Temper Trap to appear was not easy. “They’re a very important act so they’re careful with what they play and where they play,” he reveals.

“They’re touring constantly and they’re out with Coldplay at the end of the year so they’re making a special trip to come and play,” he says.”It was a very long negotiation but we’re really happy that they got on board.”

Upon the announcement of Temper Trap’s commitment to appearing, AFL Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Demetriou said that “with the talent and format we’ve developed this year I’m sure it will go to another level again.”

“With this new approach to Grand Final day there’s more access and entertainment for fans than ever before,” said Demetriou.

The performance will be a welcome change of fortunes for the Melburnians, following a series of setbacks that includes having their sets cancelled at Lollapolooza in Chicago and at Triple J’s One Night Stand due to inclement weather.

As for the question of what exactly The Temper Trap will be playing on football’s biggest sporting event? Catterall is confident we can expect the hits (Re: no ‘London’s Burning’).

When asked if the AFL had any influence on their potential setlist, Caterrall says, “you always have a discussion. But the band will always be looking to put on the best show possible so they’ll find the right mix of tracks that everyone knows and songs from their new album… it’s just a matter of putting on a big show.”

Although music has long been a part of the biggest day on the footy calendar, this year will see many changes to the format. “I think we’ve had the same model for about 20 years,” Catterall says. In a Grand Final first, the headliners will perform at half-time rather than before the game, on a “Superbowl-esque” stage in the middle of the MCG.

The five-piece, who are best-known for their hit “Sweet Disposition”, will play three songs at half-time and then perform a 15 minute set at a free encore concert after the game. Paul Kelly will also perform before the winning team is presented to the crowd.

“We’re calling it The Premiership Party,” Catterall says. “We’ll open up the gates so it’s free entry and people who haven’t been at the game can come in.” “It’s a big celebration and the idea is to give more people and more fans of the participating clubs a chance to touch and feel the premiership cup,” he says.

Before the game, Kelly will perform alongside You Am I frontman and solo artist Tim Rogers, who is also the face of the AFL’s ‘This Is Greatness’ finals campaign. Catterall praised Rogers, who now juggles music with a burgeoning acting career, describing the ads as a “great fusion of footy and rock ‘n’ roll”.

“He’s a star, he’s an icon of Australian music and he’s a mad football fan,” he says. “We’ve had rave reviews, I think he carries the ad.”

While the NRL are looking abroad with Good Charlotte playing Rugby League’s big day, Catterall says the AFL are pleased to be engaging with local music. “We’re just trying to build trust and regard, and to be authentic,” he says. “Hopefully that becomes the foundation for something long term. That would be great for both parties.”

The 2012 Toyota AFL Grand Final will be held at the MCG on September 29, as well as airing on Channel Seven, with live performances from The Temper Trap and Paul Kelly.

The Premiership Party will be held from 6pm onwards, with free entry via gate 3.No tickets required – you don’t need a Grand Final ticket to attend The Premiership Party. 

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