Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: ACL: The best of times, the worst of times

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  • Richard Stewart, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Good grief. I would regard any gig at Spark to be so compromised by terrible sound, awful beer for which there are long queues, and over-zealous security that they're generally not worth attending. Regardless of the act.

    Compare that experience to a variety of sights and sounds in beautiful surroundings on a sunny Auckland afternoon and I know which I would rather spend my cash on.

    And I have it on good authority that the regular appearances by Grace Jones in Sydney are nothing short of amazing. She is, even at 69, something to behold.

    So nah.

    Pt Chev • Since Feb 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Richard Stewart,

    Spark arena sucks alright. But it is covered and it hosts much more targeted (and profitable?) big name events. I doubt you are in the Ariana Grande demographic or a follower of T-swizzle, but they are both bigger acts than Grace Jones and Beck these days in terms of pulling power and they played at Spark and they packed the place to the rafters. So you might know where you would spend your cash, but you might also be an endangered species!

    I never criticised Grace Jones performances. She was and is amazing. I just noted the disconnect between the people who actually go to festivals and the people she still appeals to.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I think you both have good points.

    Is it even possible to put together a large festival now, when so many acts come through Spark Arena, and when the kind of storied artists who you’d put at the top of your bill maybe don’t have the demographic reach you need? And you’re not going to get stadium-fillers like the Foo Fighters because they can fill stadiums on their own.

    And yet: $175 was actually a pretty good deal for that lineup, and it was a much nicer environment than the bloody arena. And Grace, of course, did very well for her promoter in Queenstown.

    Maybe the venue itself has issues – the stadium bowl needs quite a lot of people in it before any real atmosphere develops. There certainly wasn’t at any point the crowd fervour you saw at Anderson Paak at Laneway, or even Dizzee Rascal at Splore.

    I’d miss ACL a lot if it wasn’t there, but it’s a conundrum.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Harry b'staad, in reply to Russell Brown,


    $300 is a better deal for this lineup...

    AKL • Since Jan 2018 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Harry b'staad,

    I think that falls into the category of too much of a good thing...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Harry b'staad, in reply to Nick Russell,

    I like the way they only have a handful of major label acts on the card, it's what makes it one of the best festivals in the world to attend.This will be my second year and if you like the electronic stuff, which I love Sonar follows it about a week later and the lineup there is a cracker.... https://sonar.es/en/2018/artists .....of course the Sonar lineup is just the official stuff the Off Sonar parties are off the hook and everyone you can imagine will be putting on a show...except Peking Duk....

    AKL • Since Jan 2018 • 4 posts Report Reply

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