Big name acts reject Ballarat

Tour managers looking for bigger venues

A LACK of venue choice in Ballarat has resulted in several big-name musicians detouring around the city in the past seven months.

Solo artists of the likes of Guy Sebastian, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Julia Stone and bands including The Rubens and Saskwatch have performed at venues in regional centres, including Bendigo, Geelong, Warrnambool, Castlemaine and Shepparton but have excluded Ballarat in their tour schedules.

Johnny Cash: The Concert which is touring as part of the Ring Of Fire 50th anniversary is also visiting several other regional areas across the state while rock band Grinspoon performed an intimate show in Ballarat exclusive to its official tour.

Nine-piece soul funk outfit Saskwatch, which has three members hailing from Ballarat, did not include the city on its most recent touring schedule.

Similarly, The Rubens took to the stage at Karova Lounge to promote their debut album in 2012, but did not come to Ballarat as part of their most recent tour.

Saskwatch manager Bernadette Ryan said it was difficult to find an all-ages affordable venue that was an appropriate size and atmosphere.

“We have performed the last couple of shows at Karova but now we have a broader audience which is both young and old and we were looking to do an all-ages show but we couldn’t find the right venue,” she said.

“You have Karova Lounge and then you have Her Majesty’s Theatre, but there’s not that middle ground space. There seems to be a lack of options.”

Regional Touring manager Duane McDonald said Guy Sebastian was forced to bypass Ballarat due to venue availability.

“Her Majesty’s Theatre is just flat out and we wanted a 1000-seater but we didn’t have any available. You wonder how many times that’s occurring,” Mr McDonald said.

But Kate Miller-Heidke’s management representative Nick Walsh said there was no one reason why the singer-songwriter couldn’t schedule a Ballarat show.

“There was no particular reason ... other than the usual juggle between Kate’s availability, travel logistics, venue availability and getting all those factors to work for a full tour schedule,” he said.

dellaram.vreeland@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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