For the international contemporary live music industry

Rivals reunite to ‘strengthen their position in a transitioning market’

World News
April 1, 2019


VETERAN PROMOTERS Michael Chugg and Michael Gudinski have launched a joint venture which reunites the former partners after 20 years as competitors, 40 years since they first worked together.

From 1 April, Gudinski’s Frontier Touring will co-promote all Chugg Entertainment (CE) tours and Frontier will also become a partner in CE’s sell-out country music festival CMC Rocks QLD (cap. 24,000), which marked its fourth year in March.

Susan Heymann will remain MD of CE, which includes label and artiste services division Chugg Music, reporting to Gudinski and Chugg on all joint Frontier/CE activities. Staff from CE’s live division will integrate with the Frontier team to deliver the co-promotions.

Gudinski says bringing CE under the [Frontier parent] “Mushroom Group umbrella” means Frontier can benefit from CE’s presence and expertise in the country music genre, while Mushroom’s resources provide a platform for business growth and development for CE.

The two Michaels founded Frontier Touring with Phil Jacobsen in 1979, but Chuggi left in 1999 to set up on his own

“Michael and I have been in and out of business together for almost half a century and we’ve both seen a lot change in that time,” says Gudinski. “There’s no doubt that live touring in Australasia is undergoing its biggest transition ever and we’re both equally passionate about ensuring we continue to set the bar for touring Down Under.”

Chugg adds “Chugg Entertainment has had an incredible run of late and it’s the perfect time for us to take this step to strengthen our place in the market and keep growing while the industry changes and evolves.”

Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) entered the Australasian market in 2010 and acquired Frontier Touring rival Michael Coppel Presents in 2012, appointing Coppel as president and CEO of Live Nation Australasia.

Earlier this month, Gudinski flatly denied reports he is planning to sell his company to LNE global rival AEG Presents.

US trade publication Hits Daily Double reported “sources close to negotiations” as saying that AEG was offering US$75 million for the group, which as well as Frontier includes agencies, management firms, record labels, publishing and a merch brand.

But Gudinski told Australian industry publication The Music Network, “Be assured that rumours that I’m selling Mushroom Group are absolutely incorrect.

“And the fact that anyone thinks I would sell Mushroom Group has me thinking I should book the rumour-mongers for a Frontier Comedy tour, because it’s so laughable.”

Upcoming Frontier shows include Shawn Mendes, Anne Marie, Norah Jones and Tom Walker, while CE has events featuring Elton John, Hozier, G Flip and Lucy Rose.

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