HomeArticlesArts & CultureGold Coast delivers for international touring artists
Queen with Adam Lambert. Image credit: Bojan Hohnjec

Queen with Adam Lambert. Image credit: Bojan Hohnjec

Gold Coast delivers for international touring artists

Samantha Morris | June 2019

News that Queen will be stopping in at the Gold Coast next year as part of a national tour was met with great excitement.

It’s been quite a few years since a band with Queen’s international status has performed a concert in the City and it’s a timely reminder that we do, in fact, have the capacity to host international and national touring artists for audiences of varying sizes.

Queen performs at Metricon in February 2020, in what’s being slated as the city’s biggest ever live concert and the last in the band’s ‘Rhapsody’ tour in Australia. Forty-thousand people snapped up tickets for the event.

Of course, Queen isn’t the first major international act the Gold Coast has hosted at Metricon, which opened in 2011. Foo Fighters performed to a sold-out crowd that year, Big Day Out held its 2014 festival there and the venue also hosted the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies in 2018.

Venue general manager Tim Carey said it was an appealing space for international acts as Metricon is a modern venue that has the “inherent capacity to adapt its operations” which means it can host a wide range of sporting and entertainment events.

“The stadium comes with all of the facilities, and the seating capacity, of a major international facility along with a well credentialed team of people that are experienced in the delivery of major national and international events,” Tim told We Are Gold Coast.

And while Metricon is by far the largest capacity venue on the Gold Coast (it can hold up to 52,500 people), it’s not the only venue dishing up international and significant national talent.

Since launching in 2018, HOTA – Home Of The Arts has hosted several sold-out gigs featuring international touring artists. Tim Minchin opened the space and Neil Finn followed soon after with capacity crowds at both. Ministry of Sound, Laurie Anderson and Queensland Symphony Orchestra also number amongst the events that pulled solid crowds.

HOTA’s impressive amphitheatre lends itself to spectacular productions with the Surfers Paradise skyline as its backdrop and a capacity of between 3000 and 3600 depending on configuration.

As Gold Coast’s newest outdoor performance space, HOTA’s amphitheatre is unlike any other venue in the world. Situated within the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct and nestled amongst 3000 square metres of manicured lawns, it boasts a full theatrical fit out for a versatile space which can be used for both large-scale and intimate performances and events.

Mik Aukland is the Executive Producer at HOTA and he says the venue is an inspiring place for both audience and artists.

“The sloping lawn, arched living roof and stage wing walls brought to life with climbing bougainvillea plants, combined with the Voronoi patterns connecting the roof, walls and floor of the venue, create a perfect amphitheatre and ground the entire space,” Mik says.

“The stage is placed perfectly in front of the towering Surfers Paradise skyline which serves as a classic theatrical city backdrop during the day and a curtain of changing lights at night.

“Everyone entering understands immediately that they have arrived at a special destination created on the Gold Coast for Gold Coasters and those lucky enough to visit us here.”

While HOTA is still finding its feet in terms of programming large-scale events, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre has been delivering the goods for nearly 15 years. Over that time, the venue has hosted all manner of conventions, exhibitions and sporting events, but readers might be surprised at the diversity of musical acts who’ve also stopped in… some of the world’s biggest artists, to be exact. Nick Cave, David Byrne, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, PINK, Kings of Leon, Powderfinger, Missy Higgins and 50 Cent have all had shows at the Convention Centre.

Eurovision Australia Decides took place at the Convention Centre in February and saw 3000 guests seated each day, but the arena can hold up to 6000 depending on configuration.

Sitting at the smaller end of the spectrum and an absolute beacon for touring artists catering to more niche crowds is Miami Marketta. With a laneway that has a 1400 person capacity and an indoor space called Studio 56 that caters for up to 550 people, Marketta has been hosting big Australian and international touring acts since they hosted Ash Grunwald in July 2013. The Cat Empire sold out the laneway space, which has undergone several impressive renovations (like having a permanent roof added) in October 2014.

Since that time, Miami Marketta has hosted UB40, The Growlers (twice), Allah Las, Sublime with Rome and The Black Seeds with all but one of those shows selling out.

“We love LIVE music and are all very passionate about bringing great shows to the Gold Coast,” says Mel de Regt, Miami Marketta’s live music booker.

“The laneway shows here are pretty amazing because of the position the stage is in,” Mel says.

“The main band usually go on just when the sun is setting and the sky is just glowing. I think that is pretty unique… to have that and an amazing band playing to a full laneway of Gold Coast music lovers just makes me feel very lucky that this is my job.”

With a strong track record of programming and marketing high quality touring acts, Gold Coast has a thing for live music. And where the city really comes into its own is outdoor festivals. Which is no surprise given the incredible climate and sparkling coastline as a backdrop.

Several promoters have chosen City parks as venues over recent years. From opera on the beach in Coolangatta through to electronic festivals on the Broadwater and Aussie rock celebrations in sprawling parklands, it’s actually quite difficult to count the number of outdoor spaces which lend themselves to major concerts and festivals.

City of Gold Coast has several resources available to promoters hoping to hold an event on the Gold Coast and each of the venues listed above have staff dedicated to helping people navigate the process of holding and promoting an event locally.

And for an up-to-date gig guide featuring local, national and international acts, visit the Gold Coast gig guide.

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