Last April, Bruce Springsteen concluded his Australian tour with a pair of large scale concerts at Hanging Rock; deemed a commercial success the entire Australian leg generated $25 million in ticket sales for the Boss, with the Hanging Rock shows accounting for $5 million of that figure.
The Hanging Rock Springsteen shows marked three for three for Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring after previously bringing out Rod Stewart and Leonard Cohen for large scale shows at the iconic geographical location in the Macedon Ranges, and as covered in our opinion piece on the topic, Gudinski has voiced his plans to make the picturesque location a regular, alebit specialised live music venue.
Now it seems that reality draws even closer. Last night the Macedon Ranges council discussed the future of large scale music events at Hanging Rock, as ABC News reports, focussing on the possibility of renewing the license for Frontier Touring, who have expressed desires to secure a five year partnership agreement to host more large scale concerts.
The original exclusive three year agreement between Frontier and Macedon Ranges Council saw a total of crowds of more than 61,000 attendees across its four promoted concerts, and a report from last night’s Macedon Ranges Council meeting acknowledges their successes in greater detail.
Leonard Cohen’s November 2010 performance earned a Helpmann Award for the best contemporary international concert, while Rod Stewart’s Febraury 2012 performance drew 12,500 concert-goers, with the report noting: “Again the concert was an outstanding success and an economic impact analysis by Urban Enterprise indicated a direct regional economic benefit of $1.4M.”
The pair of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band concerts, taking place on the Easter Weekend of April 30th and 31st of this year, are also noted as “a huge success” in the report, writing “a detailed process of analysing the economic benefit to the region however it is expected to be substantial with accommodation booked out across the region.”
The Springsteeen shows were a dream come true for promoter and Frontier boss Michael Gudinski who himself remarked after the concerts, “I’m still coming down from Bruce Springsteen, the euphoria… one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.”
As well as garnering praise from reviewers and media, the report demonstrates the local benefits, revealing that 16.75% of ticket sales were sold to interstate visitors (5,695 tickets) and 9.04% (2,804) of the “adult population in the Macedon Ranges Shire” attended. Including the following table:
The report generally sings the praises of Frontier Touring’s four concert agreement, noting the “benefits of an exclusive partnership with a responsible promoter as it provides the incentive to attract quality artists, to care for and develop the venue, to establish business relationships and to develop the operational experience across the concert management team of contractors.”
Despite glowing recommendations, Hanging Rock’s future as an ongoing live music venue rests on the outcome of a separate application for $2 million of federal funding to redevelop the site, expected to be announced this July, and if successful, will see works on the area carried over a two year period, essentially delaying the possibility of any immediate concerts at Hanging Rock.
Ironic given, the Macedon Ranges Council’s Hanging Rock Infrastructure Development Project proposes to develop infrastructure at the Woodend site to support such future events, including the large scale concerts, at Hanging Rock.
“Recent concerts have shown what a major drawcard Hanging Rock is for our region, and what a boon it is to our economy,” said Mayor, Cr Roger Jukes in the infrastructure proposal in which Council have applied for a $2 million grant through the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) to develop infrastructure at Hanging Rock, “including the supply of electricity, water and informal lighting to the main reserve and picnic grounds, and improved car parking and picnic facilities such as shelters, toilets and BBQs.”
The council is considering signing another, longer partnership with Frontier Touring in a five year partnership, the promoters providing a proposal to Macedon Ranges council for extending events over 2013/14 which are “consistent with the previous arrangement,” but its outcome rests on the results of the $2 million funding applicatoin.
The Officer Recommendation reads: “That Council authorise the Chief Executive Officer to make arrangements for concerts over the 2013/14 summer generally in accordance with the previous agreement should the opportunity arise,” but notes that it must deal with “the outcome of the RDAF grant application and, if successful, the timing of those works.”