Musical staff

Too many shows, too few staff. Welcome to the pandemic hangover

When it rains in the Australian music space, it rains.

After two years of lockdowns, cancellations and frustrations, live music is in full swing. The wheels are turning at full speed, the pandemic is now felt so last year.

For promoters, a new problem.

Too many good things, too few hands at the pumps and a change of mood where tickets are usually bought.

“The market is certainly saturated, we’ve had two years of business flooding the market at once,” Frontier Touring COO Susan Heymann told The Brag’s Fear At The Top podcast.

Michael Chugg

The concert giant has identified a tour for November 2022, but cannot obtain room availability, she continues. “Which means the market is going to be flooded with content.”

The hottest months will be hotter than normal for the live industry. ” There’s too much. I think everyone is trying to make up for two years of lost touring.

Heymann and his colleague Michael Chugg, president of Chugg Entertainment, which operates a joint venture with Frontier Touring, are optimistic about the prospects for their company and others working in live music.

That’s optimism, with caution. There are bumps in the road, the type the rest of us don’t see.

The headache is with the crew, or lack thereof. “Sites can’t get enough security, can’t get food and drink vendors. You can’t have enough crew to load and unload,” Chugg notes.

“As of early next year, there are still a few big tours to be announced, but we’re looking at bringing a leg from Atlanta to Australia, just to get enough legs. It’s a nightmare.”

Bringing the road teams together is “really difficult”, he admits. “You book 80 people to load up a show indoors and outdoors and only 46 show up. All of a sudden, you’re paying overtime to stay because loading, instead of taking two hours, takes six.

Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg
Susan Heymann and Michael Chugg at The Brag Media in Sydney

After dealing with floods, bushfires and COVID-19, there is a whole new range of unknowns to contend with.

One of them is that bettors buy a ticket and don’t go to a show. Currently, Chugg estimates, at least 10% of ticket holders don’t show up.

When spectators visit a hall and “queue for beers for three quarters of an hour, they will stop going there. There are a lot of personnel issues. »

The industry has lost many experienced hands during the health crisis, adds Heymann, and the coming months will be tricky for the risk takers who produce the shows.

Never miss industry news

Get the latest music industry news, information and updates straight to your inbox. Learn more

Susan Heyman

“Behaviours have changed, for whatever reason. Whether it’s financial pressures, fear of getting sick, or just being used to being home, and maybe they’re happy to have dinner rather than go out and have a show,” she explains.

“We are seeing a saturated market, two or three times the content, half the number of people ready to go out. It’s going to take some time to recalibrate.

Stream the full interview here.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.

at Rolling Stone Review

at Rolling Stone Review