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Herald Sun : Dollar plunge rocks big gigs

vendredi 16 mars 2001

Source : Herald Sun

From Herald Sun :

Dollar plunge rocks big gigsBy NUI TE KOHA16mar01

KEANU Reeves is coming to Australia for the exact same reason Sir Elton John cannot.

The lame Australian dollar is having positive and negative effects on the world of entertainment, drawing film productions to these shores in record numbers.

But the same crippled buck has turned Australia into a cash-stripped country to bypass when the world’s biggest rock stars announce world tours.

While top-shelf movie stars including Reeves, Matthew Perry, Samuel L. Jackson, Brendan Fraser and Sir Michael Caine have all announced plans to shoot films in Australia this year, the music world is seemingly repulsed.

Madonna, Bon Jovi, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, The Eagles, N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Depeche Mode are all committed to world tours in 2001.

Yet, it is very doubtful that any of those acts will make it Down Under.

Sydney-based Michael Chugg, recently named International Concert Promoter of the Year, says the problem is a combination of inflated band fees because of the Australian dollar, and freight costs.

"It’s tough, and it’s not going to get better in a hurry," Chugg said.

"With most of these bands, the amount of show they carry in terms of freight, you just can’t make it work."

Chugg is staging Bon Jovi’s only benefit concert in Melbourne, and Bob Dylan’s national tour.

A national tour for Bon Jovi was "too difficult to put in place, given the Australian dollar," he says.

Chugg holds hopes for U2 to tour locally, but concedes : "Who knows ? The market has been well down on previous years. If the act is really hot, then (the promoter) has some chance of doing OK."

Local promoter and music identity Michael Gudinski, hosting a successful Kylie Minogue tour this month, has said : "I’m being very careful with tours this year."

Gudinski’s tours have included Guns N Roses, Joel and John.

Yesterday, music guru Ian "Molly" Meldrum, said : "The fact that we are missing out on some of the biggest rock tours is a tragedy, but there’s nothing we can do about the Australian dollar."

Conversely, lured by the low dollar and skilled cast and crews, Australia ranks as one of the most popular locations for US film productions.

"Production has increased by up to 75 per cent compared with this time last year," said Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance assistant federal secretary Simon Whipp.

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