Top music stars picking Dunedin over Auckland?

By Debbie Porteous of the Otago Daily Times

Steven Tyler, right, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Photo/AP
Steven Tyler, right, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Photo/AP

Forsyth Barr Stadium management says the venue is staking its place as one of the country's top concert venues after hosting by far the biggest concerts in Australasia for two major international acts recently.

Wednesday night's Aerosmith rock concert (20,000 fans) and Paul Simon's show on April 6 (12,500) drew the largest crowds for both acts' Down Under tours after slow ticket sales across the Tasman forced them to rearrange concerts.

Aerosmith did not play another New Zealand concert. Simon only held one concert in Auckland.

The Dunedin turnout for Aerosmith was about 8000 more than went to the band's biggest day of a two-day festival performed with Van Halen in Sydney last week, having cancelled its solo show because of slow ticket sales, Australian media claimed.

The band has three more concerts in Australia, but the biggest of those venues has 14,000 seats.

Paul Simon's biggest crowd in Australia was 9000.

Darren Burden, chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, said the Dunedin attendances meant Forsyth Barr Stadium was building up a track record of hosting successful events and attracting big crowds, and promoters were "slowly, but surely" taking notice of Dunedin as a place they needed to hold events.

DVML has repeatedly declined to discuss details of deals made to clinch acts for Dunedin, citing commercial sensitivity, but Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler this week told media the band chose to have their only New Zealand concert in Dunedin because "they must have made us the best offer".

Asked how DVML could continue to sustain such deals , Mr Burden said now the stadium was starting to prove itself, he would like to think he could make better deals. But, every act was looking for something different, and only time would tell.

No further major concerts were set firm yet for the 2013-14 year although the touring line-up was looking busy, and the stadium was constantly in talks with promoters.

Ideally, the stadium, and market, should handle two or three big concerts a season and multiple smaller events, he said.

Meanwhile Acting Inspector Mel Aitken said given the "demographics of the crowd" attending the Aerosmith concert, police were pleased with the general behaviour of fans.

Police made two arrests and evicted 11 people for minor disorder and intoxication.

While some concert-goers said on social media they were annoyed by the early closure of public bars at the stadium, Acting Inspector Aitken said police and venue security were concerned by the levels of drunkenness in the crowd. Closing the bars about 9.30pm resulted in an incident-free finish to the concert.

- Otago Daily Times

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