Music

Stone Music Festival – Four Different Stories

Sydney Morning Herald Review

TNT Downunder Review

The AU Review

May The Rock Be With You Review

Four reviews.  Four different sides of the story.  Somewhere between the lines is the truth.

If you are looking for the truth, the AU Review is the best place to start.

If you are looking for a laugh read the Sydney Morning Herald Review.  No wonder traditional newspapers are all going down hill.  The journalism that has gone into their review of the festival is a joke.  It’s like the public relations company for the Stone Music Festival wrote the article and gave it to the Sydney Morning Herald.

If you want a good summary of both days and the bands, read the May The Rock Be With You Review.

What is clear from the three reviews (excluding the stupid SMH) is that a lot of effort needs to go into organising a great festival then just having great bands.

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – Lessons Learned or Not Learned

The Stone Music Festival (SMF) will be back in 2014. So what lessons have the organisers learned or not learned from the inaugural festival.

1 – The month of April for an outdoor festival is the wrong month. The organisers have put some PR spin on this by using ANZAC DAY. The festival website states that the point of the Stone Festival was to be “a timely reminder of our fallen veterans in the lead up to ANZAC Day, create a brand new Aussie ANZAC tradition”. Seriously, what a load of BS. The Stone Music Festival was created to make money. Nothing else. It wasn’t created to honour Anzac Day or the fallen veterans. If it was, it would have mentioned that from the outset, not after the festival was run. Shame SMF on using the Anzac legend in your PR rubbish. LESSON = NOT LEARNED.

2 – The festival will drop the “Stone Music Festival” brand name. For those in Australia, we know that the Stone movie is about bikies and bikie culture. The association with this movie and the bikie culture became a PR nightmare. The Sydney Bikie Wars is all over the news with shootings happening at least once a week. Fans believed that motorcycle gangs would be in attendance at the festival. The organisers realised this could be a problem. So the PR machine kicked in again, stating that any bikies in club colours will not be allowed into the venue. It was all too late. Ticket sales stalled. LESSON = LEARNED

3 – It has mentioned Muse, Kings Of Leon, Pearl Jam and The Eagles as possible contenders for next year.

The Eagles did big business in Australia on the stadium circuit, when they toured here in 2010. They haven’t released anything worthwhile, solely relying on their legacy.

Kings of Leon did big business on the Arena circuit when they toured in Australia in 2011 and are in the process of releasing their new album. If that album tanks, I am sure the organisers would book them, as they booked Van Halen and Aerosmith.

Pearl Jam played stadiums in Australia when they toured here last in 2009. This band is a dark horse, as they have that Grateful Dead cult following. The band members are connected to social media, they bootleg their own shows and release them to the fans and they are still churning out music. Personally I liked Pearl Jam on the first four albums. Backspacer wasn’t a bad album, but it wasn’t good either.

Muse on the other hand played the Big Day Out festival in 2010 when they toured Australia, so they are experienced at the Australian festival scene. They then totally ignored Australia on the recent 2nd Law tour. Maybe that is a good thing, since that album was terrible. To me, Muse is a downward spiral. They have had their heyday.

The organisers are looking at the past. They are not looking at the now. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

Here are some current international bands that are doing big business; Kid Rock, Stone Sour, Shinedown, Killswitch Engage, Black Veil Brides, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Volbeat, Bullet For My Valentine, Coheed and Cambria, Imagine Dragons, Paramore, Papa Roach and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

4. Drugs is a big problem in Australia, so when you have a person involved in the festival that did time for drugs and the name of the festival is referencing a bikie movie, where the bikie gangs of today are the biggest movers of drugs, you will be scaring off a lot of people. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

5. Treating older fans like teenagers. Fans of music are not just 18 – 25 year olds as most organisers believe. Most of the money spent in the music business is by older fans. These fans don’t deserve to be standing for 10 hours in the rain or the sun to watch an act that they supported and grew up with. Organisers of any festival need to take this into consideration. When you have headlining bands like Van Halen and Billy Joel, you need to accept that an older fan base will be present. Show them some respect. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

6. Have a Plan B. There is no reason why these shows couldn’t move into the Allphones Arena. The second stage could have been set up in one of the foyer areas of the Allphones Arena. There was no vision, no contingency. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

7. The Supergroup Cover/Tribute band is here to stay.
Seriously, Kings Of Chaos stole the show at the venue. I remember back in time, where a certain “supergroup” in Australia was formed called The Party Boys and what fun they had as well, playing cover songs from other bands as well as songs from there solo careers/previous bands. .

8. Van Halen in the past did big numbers and so did Billy Joel. In America, those two artists still did big business last year. Of the 25,000 tickets that where on sale at the SMF for Day 1 – Van Halen, under 50% got sold. Of the 25,000 tickets on sale for Day 2 – Billy Joel, under 45% got sold. So why didn’t they do big business in Australia this time around.

Three things at play here;
1. Blame the month. As I have mentioned in the previous posts, April is the worst month to hold an outdoor festival in Australia.
2. Both artists haven’t released anything worthwhile recently. EVH is my guitar idol. When I was learning how to play in the 1980’s EVH and RR formed by body of knowledge. I even paid top dollar to get recorded cassette tapes of their demos to be sent to me. Imagine my shock when I purchased A Different Kind of Truth, and hear those demo songs on it. What a load of rubbish? I really liked the songs they did with DLR on the Greatest Hits packages, so why they couldn’t go forward in that direction is beyond me.
3. The lack of decent Australian talent. Jimmy Barnes and Noiseworks are finished. The Living End need to release something worthwhile again or they will be doing the nostalgia circuit as well. Australian fans like Australian talent, however it looks like everyone is pushing/shoving international rubbish acts past their due by date down our throats. The organisers need to be out scouting for talent. De La Cruz from Brisbane, has a recording deal in Europe with Frontier Records. They play hard rock music. Demolition Diva rocked it up at the Motley Crue and Kiss concert. Birds of Tokyo are relevant. My favourite Australian act is COG. They never got the recognition they deserved. Second placed is Karnivool and then The Butterfly Effect. These bands all have cult fan bases. And yes, I do know that COG is on hiatus or have split up, depending on what story you believe.

9. The one venue idea is ridiculous in Australia. To fly to Perth from Sydney is a four to five hour flight. Tickets return are normally $500. Talking about treating fans like dirt. Fans need to purchase a ticket to the show at $200 minimum, then book flights at $500 return. Most will end up staying the night, so then they need to book accommodation at $200 a night. $900 is a lot of money, and imagine if they are coming with a partner or their teenage kids.

The reason why Soundwave and the Big Day Out work in Australia as summer festivals is that it moves from City To City. To be honest, those two festivals have the January and February months booked down. So that leaves November, December and March for this festival. December is all about Christmas, so you can count out that month. So that leaves October, November and March. March is when Uni students return to school in most countries, October and November is the end of school exams, so already, the festival has an uphill battle to secure a suitable month. Remember Soundwave Revolution from a few years ago. They tried it in September, and it didn’t even start. It was cancelled. That was another one venue idea as well. If you are going to do ONE VENUE – do it in MELBOURNE. The Melbourne-ites go to everything. It is a different scene and culture there. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – The Final Word

It started with lots of promise.

Just days after the announcement the Baby Animals pull out because the festival simply “wasnt feeling right” to them.

Aussie promoter Andrew McManus told fans to be careful on Facebook, which was then removed.

News outlets started to run with stories of the drug past of Richard Cartwright, the CEO of Platinum Entertainment.

Platinum Entertainment was listed as one of the organizers. After the stories came out of the drug history, the Stone Festival PR team distanced themselves from Platinum, by stating that Cartwright’s involvement is purely based on the fact that he owns the rights to the Stone movie. However other press releases contradicted this statement.

The website Tone Deaf reproduced the statements from Andrew McManus. Tone Deaf then received a letter from lawyers representing Stone Music Festival and SEQ; the financier behind the festival. The letter asked Tone Deaf to remove the comments by 5pm as “they believe the statements have caused, and is continuing to cause, loss and damage to the business of their clients.”

Ardline Media is credited with securing talent both local and international. This causes more speculation, that something was fishy about the festival. Ardline Media is a small Sydney-based promoter and agent with no history of hosting an event on this scale.

Van Halen has a history on pulling the plug on promoters and these fears started spreading. The organizers released a statement that said the headlining acts have already been paid.

Aerosmith then joined the line up due to low sales for the same venue. Aerosmith’s tour promoter is Andrew McManus, who we all know was critical of the Stone Music Festival in the beginning.

Promoters cut ticket prices.

The ticket debacle escalates. Fans that paid $300 for standing platinum tickets. They are then told these have changed to reserve seated. Aerosmith is added, and in order to accommodate the Aerosmith fans that purchased tickets for their show, the existing Stone Festival ticket holders are told that their allocated seats are now back to standing. Then the existing ticket holders are watching people buy reserved seating in platinum for half the price.

Lifehouse pulled out in the last minute.

A day before the concert fans still haven’t received their tickets.

The rain came down, but the show went on.

Kings of Chaos stole the show.

Aerosmith and Billy Joel still have it.

David Lee Roth doesn’t have it.

Van Halen need Michael Anthony back.

Jimmy Barnes doesn’t have it.

Buckcherry was the surprise packet.

The Living End played slide guitar with a VB bottle.

And, unofficial numbers for the two day event combined is close to 30,000, which is a far cry from the 160,000 the organizers were expecting.

The Australian story
http://theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/russell-morris-becomes-an-ambassador-for-the-record/

The Daily Telegraph story
http://dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/music/aerosmith-cancel-anz-stadium-concert-for-stone-music-festival/

The Herald Sun story
http://heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/van-halen-and-billy-joel-concert-promoter-jailed-for-drug-offences/

The Music Feeds story
http://musicfeeds.com.au/news/stone-music-festival-legal-battles-and-internal-turmoil/

The Tone Deaf Stories
http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/news/tournews/267431/first-act-pulls-out-of-stone-music-festival-it-wasnt-feeling-right-as-aussie-bands-added.htm

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/features/columns/268219/stone-music-festival-sends-lawyers.htm

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Music

Kings Of Chaos

What kind of a world do we live in where a supergroup cover band trumps all of the established artists. That is what Kings Of Chaos did on Day 1 at the Stone Music Festival.

All the buzz on social media clearly states that Kings of Chaos outperformed everyone there and could have headlined, but were robbed time-wise. So who is Kings of Chaos you say?

From Guns N Roses / Velvet Revolver there is Matt Sorum on drums and Duff McKagan on bass. Gilby Clarke from the GNR Use Your Illusion period is also on rhythm guitar. Steve Stevens from Billy Idol is on lead guitar. Vocals are provided by Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) and the hyperactive Sebastian Bach (Skid Row).

Look at the set list;
Welcome To The Jungle
Youth Gone Wild
Highway Star
Burn
Rebel Yell
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Paradise City

It’s a greatest hits package from the Seventies and Eighties. All of the songs have bona fide credentials for working in the live arena.

That is the key. Writing a great song is one thing, however writing a great song that works in the live arena is another.

People go to the rock n roll show to let their hair down, get up on their feet and allow the music to lift them to a higher place. This is what Kings Of Chaos delivered. A high energy rock n roll set that covered the classics.

What a perfect opener! Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games. Every band that wants to perform live, needs to have an opening song like this.

Remember when the Circus used to come to town and the Ring Master is there pushing it, Step Right Up, Welcome To The Show.

Kings Of Chaos knew as soon as they played this song, the audience was theirs. They had them in their palm of their hands, ready to take them on the ride. They put out the welcome mat and the fans stepped right up. The band is having a blast and the fans can see it. It’s all about having a good time and music is the leader.

I don’t believe that Kings Of Chaos will do any original songs, however as a Super Group Cover/Tribute Band, how cool is that? What a game changer to the Tribute scenes around the world?

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – Day 2

It’s over. Done and dusted. The people have spoken and the organisers are counting their losses. Will there be another Stone Music Festival in 2014? In the current format, I don’t think so. In a different format, maybe. Will the people trust the Stone Music Festival brand after the debacle? I don’t think so. Furthermore, the Stone Music Festival, was created to celebrate the movie Stone, and the work of its director. Somehow, that all got forgotten, and in my view, this was just a marketing gimmick from the organisers to push sales. It was never their intention to honour the movie.

Here is a summary of comments doing the rounds on social media..

Would’ve been good to have had the second stage inside the stadium so while changeover was happening on the main stage the indie artists could play! That way they get to play to a massive number of people & get their music heard and we don’t have to lose our seats every time we go out to the second stage!!

I agree with putting both stages together …… as one act finishes another act starts on the 2nd stage. Unfortunately we didn’t see the independent artists …..cause we knew we would lose our seats. Congratulations though…..Looking forward to SMF 2014 !

You never got to see the ‘indie bands’ if you wanted to see the ‘Main stage’ acts.

Access to toilets, food and bar facilities were a pain in the ass as you missed the show. And yet band like the Choirboys were delegated a spot outside of the arena, during Aerosmith??? Come on people, FFS, next year pay me to schedule and organise it, think I have a better clue than the pros…

That was a stupid decision, have the two stages so far apart. What was Andrew McManus thinking when this was in the planning stages?

The music saved the day for sure and I had a fantastic time, hopefully if there is another next year the organizers will take on board all of the issues that have been so well highlighted on here, my suggestions as well as the obvious re ticketing issues such as not sending them out on time would be to make the tickets a reasonable price from the start so that you don’t have to give so many away at the end and annoy people who purchased in the beginning. Keep the website updated as not everyone finds you on Facebook where the information is more up to speed though still not 100%, minimise the blocking of views of the stage by camera people, open the indoor merchandise when the gates open especially if it is raining, better signage to explain where the second stage is, sort out sound issues, always reply to people on Facebook asking for help and advice instead of asking them to Post Messages (PM)to you and then you don’t respond with an answer on the page so that everyone can see it and you don’t have the same questions to answer repeatedly.

If you are doing a festival, you need to have information up to date and concise. You need to do it on a grand scale, not on a one on one basis. Stone Music Festival needed to have a team of social media strategists and marketeers. That is how it is done. Connecting with the fans. It’s from the bottom up these days. They should have started promoting this event last year, not in February for an April show.

Flew up from Melbourne just to see Billy. Scored sears to Saturday night…..so I know can say that I have seen Aerosmith and the god that is EVH play. Was pleasantly surprised by all the acts before Billy on the Sunday night, but the absolute highlight for me was sitting front row to my idol BJ. Best 90 minute set of the weekend for me !!!

Billy Joel and Icehouse were amazing!

Brilliant!!!!!!!! Had the best weekend….worth the trip from Qld!!!! Thanks for bringing us so much talent in one rockin weekend!!!

Didn’t get to go to Saturday gig, but saw Sunday that was freakin awesome! Billy Joel was brilliant, Diesel was fantastic, god you can play the guitar and the rest of the artist were great too! Had a fantastic night!

It was absolutely awesome. Billy Joel stole the show .

Loved it, Billy Joel, Icehouse & Diesel were amazing!

Both days were amazing!! Thank you for one of the best weekends of my life 🙂 Please do it again next year

I didn’t want it to end. Billy Joel rocked the Harbour City better than ever. Thank you!

Did billy Joel do a sound check , worst feedback ever

Good time? It was fantastic! Two days of rock music and so many legendary acts in on place. It was amazing. it was a rock-fest of epic proportions. something I will never forget being a part of. Loved it! Better publicity in other states would have been good.

Definitely a great weekend and well worth it despite all the complainers.

Billy Joel still has it. There is something different to bands who paid their dues. Billy Joel played the club circuit as an unsigned artists for a long time before he was picked up by a label. Then once he was picked, the hard work still continued and his brand grew. Young artists these days, don’t have that drive in them anymore. There is the expectation that if they write a good song, they deserve to be paid forever on that one good song.

You cancelled Lifehouse to save $$ for your failing festival!! SMF can go to hell!!!!!!!!

Not sure if there will be another stone fest as I imagine the promoters would have lost huge $$$ with the small crowds and big costs but we can hope!!

So I am looking at all these pics and I’m thinking…. One of the biggest arenas in the country and they are playing to a quarter of it??? Where are the people???? If it was such a success, why is there not 50,000+ there???

$5.80 warm bucket of chips!!!
$80 badly stitched hoodie!!!
$259 concert ticket!!!! (What a rip!!!!!)

Hats off to the organisers of stone music festival, they will received the award for the most poorly organised concert in modern history.
I received 3 lots of tickets because they couldn’t decide whether to stand, sit, stand, stuff it let’s do both. Then to us poor suckers that brought our tickets early, were punished by paying $50 more per ticket, when I emailed promoters regarding compensation for this I was promised a complimentary ticket to be sent. After sending countless emails over 2 weeks, (and not getting 1 reply), surprise, surprise didn’t receive any ticket or email!!!!! LIARS!!!!
To top it off, The Stone Run, which was the reason for the whole concert in the first place. Was just removed from their website and other advertising thinking that nobody would notice. Ticketek here promised to refund the brought tickets for this, and again still waiting, it’s been 3 weeks, have send emailed of course, with no reply!!!!!
Then I could go on and on. but will end a on lighter note to say that Living End were awesome and really rocked!!!!!!

And that is all she wrote.

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – Unofficial Word on Why Lifehouse pulled out?

A lot of people are asking the question for the reasons why Lifehouse pulled out? The answer is simply. MONEY.

The festival was bleeding from losses, and the organisers had to try and plug the holes. Unofficial word is that Van Halen and Billy Joel couldn’t be cancelled, as the organisers still would have had to pay them their large appearance fees. Aerosmith coming onto the bill, technically didn’t cost Stone Music Festival anything, as Aerosmith is doing their own Australian tour and that is where the money is coming for them to appear at this festival. All the other bands where offered new deals. All of them accepted the lower deals except Lifehouse.

Lifehouse was offered a new deal that was by far the worst, and they had no choice but to decline at the last minute as they exhausted all avenues of negotiations for better terms or similar to what they were offered originally.

Let’s hope that Lifehouse is more forthcoming with the reasons for their withdrawal.

The last Facebook post from Lifehouse more or less supports the unofficial word above;

We just wanted to give a shout out to our Aussie fans! Please trust that our absence had nothing to do with us or anyone on the band’s team. We love you and we will be back to Australia as soon as we can!! Xo -LH

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Music, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival, Sydney – The people on Facebook have spoken

The Stone Music Festival could have, should have, would have been great.  It had the makings of a great event.  Taking its name from the cult followed Stone movie, one of the best pieces of Australian cinema, it had everything going for it.  From reading people’s reactions on social media, it is safe to say that organisers missed the mark on this one. They have suffered some serious brand damage on this one, so i don’t believe that another Stone festival will happen.

VH sound was the worst mix I’ve heard in 25 years of watching and playing in bands. Bloody disgrace. Flew up from Melbourne to hear them and walked out after 30 mins.  

Any chance of a free Van Halen concert for those who paid to see one of the greatest bands, and got the worse sounding gig ever?  But only after the sound guy is sacked & replaced with a capable one.

For those that are complaining about Van Halen’s performance last night take note that their music is always turned up loud! I remember the 1998 concert my ears were ringing for one week after seeing them. And being an outdoor arena there’s going to be a lot of echo which most times people may think is distortion. Personally I think their performance was great.  A couple of negatives is that Dave should stick to singing in a lower range as it suits his voice better, and they’ll refuse to play some Van Hagar songs like “Dreams, Right Now and Why Can’t This Be Love”.. They never played them in the ’07-’12 tours.. Overall I think they played great.

The Van Halen’s played great, Eddie is still the guitar God he always was. David Lee Roth had vocal issues, but it was still a great performance overall. Heard no sound issues where I was on the floor, and the set was a great selection of Roth era old and new.

Can someone explain to me how one of the largest bands in the world, have an incompetent sound engineer behind the desk?  Van Halen are getting paid $3 million for this performance, and it’s their only Australian performance, so i would expect some care and precision to be taken with the sound.  Does the band care?  EVH and AVH have not made one public appearance in Australia, nor have they done any interviews recently.  All of the PR is done by DLR.  I grew up on Van Halen, the 1984 and 5150 albums sit behind the Randy Rhoads tribute album as bibles in hard rock guitar playing (also need to add John Sykes playing on Whitenake’s 1987 album).

Aerosmith was the most amazing thing I have seen! Best night of my life by far! Seeing my sexy toxic twins up there blew me away! And Aerosmith shat all over van halen! FUCK YES!

Aerosmith – Amazing, possibly the best band on the day

Mind blowing performances today…. Sooooooo Goood.
Kings of Chaos and Aerosmith stole the showww…

OMG What a totally awesome day/night we had but WOW Aerosmith were fantastic!!! Kings of Chaos were brilliant as well as Noiseworks, Living End, Buck Cherry…. Thoroughly had the best time 🙂

Aerosmith still have it.  Like Kiss, they are seasoned and professional when it comes to performing live, plus Steve Tyler still has the vocal chops.

Just one question about today – why did the merchandise stand not open until 3.00pm? I waited in the queue for 3/4 hour missing Kings of Chaos to get t-shirts not good!

A lot of people expressed their frustration at the merchandise stores and they couldn’t understand why once inside the stadium, no merchandise could be purchased.

How do I go about officially complaining about this event or the promoters? Or whoever I can complain about/to.  Lifehouse was the ONLY reason I bought the $279 ticket and spent $300+ on accommodation and flights.What am I supposed to do now??!?  

Due to Lifehouse pulling out…Selling platinum ticket for tomorrow. $280 ONO.  Section A2 row L seat 6.  Lifehouse was the only reason I bought the ticket. Been waiting 8 years to see them. Won’t be able to get a refund on flights and accommodation already booked, but I can at least sell the ticket (for the price I bought it for) to someone who wants to be there. Inbox me if interested.

Lifehouse must have known that they were not going to do the show for a while, however they announced it on Friday via their Facebook page, with really a pretty shite post.  Fans want the truth, they want answers.  They don’t want stupid PR produced messages that mean nothing.  As mentioned above, fans purchased tickets to watch Lifehouse.  That is one part.  If they came from different states, they would have purchased flight tickets, hotel tickets and so much more.  I like Lifehouse.  I got into them because my wife like them.  However, they have let their fans down by not explaining properly why they pulled out.   The times have changed, however the Lifehouse PR team seems to have missed the memo.

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