Every industry across Australia has been affected by the COVID pandemic – and the live entertainment industry is no exception.
Everyone involved in the industry – from the performers on stage to the teams working tirelessly behind the scenes – have been left in a constant unknown. Venues left empty. Tours, festivals, and theatre seasons cancelled. National touring schedules left in limbo.
The Ticketmaster-commissioned two part short film series, Radical Hope and Return To Live, gives a behind the scenes look from the perspective of promoters, artists, production crew, ticketing agents, and all those involved in getting shows back on the road across the country amidst lockdowns and imposed restrictions on mass gatherings.
But where there is darkness, there is also hope. And the live industry in Australia is one of the most resilient – bolstered by the passion and determination of all the amazing people that keep it running.
Radical Hope follows WA-based promoter John Zaccaria as he staged the first national tours in early 2021, SummerSalt and ByTheC, following the nationwide lockdown.
The film takes viewers on an emotional journey showing how John, his team, and all those involved in producing these shows overcame COVID-19 restrictions to tell a compelling story based on “radical hope”.
The film highlights the complex process of putting on shows in the current climate while also serving as a celebration of the incredible work the industry is doing to return to live events. The film stars an array of Australian music stars, including Missy Higgins, John Butler, and Felix Riebl (The Cat Empire), and industry legends Icehouse tour manager Larry Ponting, President, Live Nation Asia Pacific Roger Field, Ticketmaster Head of Strategic Partnerships, Rob D’Orazio and Event Health Management, Managing Director Hugh Singe.
The journey was wild, but it wasn’t possible without the support of all those bands, artist managers, Ticketmaster…all the team at Zaccaria. It was definitely a wild ride. We did it against a massive grainJohn Zaccaria recounts the hurdles in staging a national tour
Back To Live
Back To Live takes a broader look at the industry, focusing on the importance of live music to artists and the fans that support them. With COVID shutting down the global touring industry for the majority of 2020/21, Australia and New Zealand were lucky to have some domestic touring back through the hard work of many, but are now suffering major disruptions due to lockdowns, border closures and density restrictions.
In this film, artists and performers including Missy Higgins, John Butler, Tim Rogers (You Am I), Emily Wurramara, and British comedian Russell Howard, alongside industry figures Larry Ponting, Roger Field, and Rob D’Orazio reflect on the sacrifices and challenges of the return to touring, the importance of community and coming together, and look to the future of our touring industry.
This is my job. These are the perimeters and the perimeters have changed massively …John Butler comments on how much the live landscape has changed
Importantly, the film also looks at the power that live has in terms of mental health. A recent survey by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) and EY found that three-quarters of Australians consider live events an important part of their work, social, and family life.
As we continue to head towards the end of 2022, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Fan demand is at an all-time high and artists and their teams are keen to get back on the road. Once we can return to stages, live will see a boom like never before.
All you’ve got to have is a little ‘Radical Hope’.
This series of films was commissioned by Ticketmaster Australia. It was produced, directed, filmed and edited by the team at Jam TV Australia.
We’d like to thank everyone involved in putting these films together:
Production: Jam TV Australia
Director: Graham Watson, Jam TV
Videographers: Jye Jones, Jam TV and Billy Steele, Jam TV
Editor: Billy Steele, Jam TV
Producer: Gloria Brancatisano, Ticketmaster Australia
Featuring (in order of appearance):
Felix Riebl, Artist – The Cat Empire
Missy Higgins, Artist
John Zaccaria, Promoter – Zaccaria Concerts & Touring
Hugh Singe, Managing Director – Event Health Management
Larry Ponting – JPJ/Icehouse Production & Tour Manager
John Butler, Artist
Rob D’Orazio, Promoter Relationship Manager – Ticketmaster
Roger Field, President – Live Nation Asia Pacific
Russell Howard, Comedian
Tim Rogers, Artist – You Am I
Emily Wurrumara – Artist