Promoter furious after Rod Stewart shunned

Michael Gudinski
Michael Gudinski
A major Australasian concert promoter has seen red after another top act in his roster of rock 'n' roll stars has been passed over by the managers of the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Melbourne-based promoter Michael Gudinski wanted to bring rock and roll hall of famer Rod Stewart to play a midweek gig at the stadium next February, but has been left livid by what in his opinion is the "completely unprofessional" response from Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML).

Mr Gudinski is behind the Frontier Touring Company, which had been in negotiations with DVML for rock act Meat Loaf to play at the stadium in October, a prospect that did not eventuate because of an agreement that Elton John would be the first act at New Zealand's biggest indoor concert venue.

"Once bitten, twice shy ... We won't be coming back to the venue, that's for sure," Mr Gudinski said.

DVML chief executive David Davies said Mr Gudinski could "make all the accusations he liked", but he would not be drawn on negotiations with promoters.

"We don't do business through the pages of the paper. It would be wrong and inconsistent to comment on any confidential dealings we have with promoters," Mr Davies said.

Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported how the Meat Loaf negotiations between Frontier's New Zealand-based promoters Brent and Helen Eccles and stadium managers had fallen through.

An irate Mr Gudinski said Frontier wanted to bring Stewart to Dunedin for an "exclusive South Island" appearance on the Wednesday night before the sold-out Mission Winery concert in Napier on February 25.

"We've been messed around once and considering what happened with Meat Loaf, we thought they would go out of their way to make this happen," he said.

"Instead, I'm extremely disappointed to announce Rod Stewart won't be coming to Dunedin," Mr Gudinski said.

Dunedin had missed out on a great opportunity.

Mr Eccles said negotiations to bring Stewart to Dunedin began in April, when the so-called agreement for Meat Loaf to play at the stadium was being brokered.

Negotiations with DVML had broken down in mid-April, when the deal for a Meat Loaf concert in October fell through.

Frontier had been told by the Otago University Students' Association that it was making inquiries about holding an Orientation Week event on the same evening as the proposed Stewart gig, Mr Eccles said.

An OUSA spokesman said stadium management had been approached by the events committee behind Orientation, but nothing "was as yet confirmed".

Asked what he thought DVML should have done to make the Stewart concert happen, Mr Gudinski said he wanted the stadium to be made available for no charge.

"They would have still made money. I'd be the one taking all the risk, but I can guarantee we would sell a headline act like Rod Stewart out."

Other New Zealand event managers "usually" went out of their way to secure big acts by providing incentives for promoters.

Westpac Stadium Trust chief executive David Gray said the Wellington venue had always "done what it needed to" to secure acts in an "extremely competitive" market.

Any new venue faced an initial uphill battle to secure major concerts from promoters, given the uncertainty which came with an untested venue and the fact New Zealand was "off the beaten track" and expensive for touring acts.

Westpac Stadium had not been given to a promoter to stage a concert free of charge, he said.

"We don't do that. But we do work to try and make sure there is a good deal for the promoter, if the act warrants it," he said.


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