The new GECC has more space and gear to host even bigger and better acts for the region. Sound Factory played at Zinc Central Queensland Studio 927 #Party recently‚ showing just how good Gladstone entertainment can be.
The new GECC has more space and gear to host even bigger and better acts for the region. Sound Factory played at Zinc Central Queensland Studio 927 #Party recently‚ showing just how good Gladstone entertainment can be. Luka Kauzlaric

Live music making a comeback in region – let’s crank it up

WHAT'S ON: 2014 MUSIC EVENTS IN AND AROUND GLADSTONE

A SPARK OF ORIGINALITY: EPIDEMIC OVER MUSICIAN SAYS THERE'S ROOM FOR GROWTH IN GLADSTONE

STEVIE Wonder once said: "Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand."

And live music - being the up-close-and-personal art form that it is - applies even more so to this statement.

In 2009/10 the value of the Australian live music industry injected $1.21 billion into the national economy.

This first-ever national study found music totalled $652 million in profits and wages, with the industry supporting almost 15,000 full-time jobs.

Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre (GECC) marketing manager Garry Hansen said it was great to see live music making a comeback, especially in Gladstone.

"From my perspective, we've seen some great nights happening at The Grand and BAM," he said.

And 2014 will see even bigger live music acts, especially with the completion of GECC.

"It's also about showing off that we can bring someone like that up here and it may attract five or six others over the next few years."

"We can get more here - proof with Birds of Tokyo. We would never get Birds of Tokyo without a big, flat floor that we could put 1000 people on.

"And Kris Kristofferson - a legend like Kris would never play in a 600-seat auditorium."

Mr Hansen admitted Birds of Tokyo was an expensive act, but was well worth the total costs.

"It's also about showing off that we can bring someone like that up here and it may attract five or six others over the next few years."

While he couldn't give names, he said the GECC had two or three other international acts in the pipeline.

Mr Hansen said he would try to support alternative outfits.

"I wanted to get The Rubens, but there's a limited market for it, for us."

He said if the band was on tour, wanting to hire the centre, that would be great but to buy an act like that, they would only proceed if they were sure they could break even.

But since five years ago, Mr Hansen said there was much more happening in the region with more opportunities for musicians to get noticed.

NEW FACILITY: Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre marketing manager Garry Hansen experiments with sound and lighting equipment at the centre.
NEW FACILITY: Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre marketing manager Garry Hansen experiments with sound and lighting equipment at the centre. Luka Kauzlaric

In April, Harvey Road Tavern will feature Boy and Bear.

Q Live director Rick Szabo said regional areas were starving for live entertainment, especially by popular touring artists.

"There's always been significant interest in shows we've brought to regional areas and the bulk of our business specialises in touring to regional areas," he said.

"They are some of the strongest markets in the country and we'll continue to service regional areas with touring artists."

Mr Szabo said Gladstone's entertainment sector was rapidly growing and GECC's completion offered a greater opportunity to cater for a wider range of artists.

"Ultimately it's now up to the people of the region to support the venues that bring you the live music."

NEW MUSIC: Ben Castles is hoping for more alternative bands to play in the region in 2014.
NEW MUSIC: Ben Castles is hoping for more alternative bands to play in the region in 2014. Luka Kauzlaric

A spark of originality: Epidemic Over musician says there's room to grow in Gladstone

"I THINK there's a call for alternative music anywhere," Gladstone musician Ben Castles said.

The local is famously known in the region as guitarist of 'retired' alternative-rock band, Epidemic Over.

But after receiving an invitation to support Birds of Tokyo at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre (GECC) in January - the boys will be reuniting once more.

Ben said when it came to the local live music scene, things were on the rise.

"There is a lot of people working and trying to make Gladstone a stop-over tour destination for touring artists," he said.

"The work put into El Grande festival has seen a lot of bands make their way to Gladstone and Lurch, who put on all-ages shows at the tennis club, has seen many big-name hardcore bands come through."

As for the new GECC, he said it seemed impressive.

"I have looked at the live room and this is huge. I feel it can make a difference as long as it has the opportunity to provide the entertainment that the community wants - hopefully bringing some bigger-name alternative bands to the region."

Ben said live music was something that had always been around, to an extent.

"Venues often have bands play, then try a DJ for a while, then get bands back in.

"It's like a vicious cycle."

But when it came to original live music, he said there was room for the region to grow.

"I would love to see local venues backing and supporting original music."

Ben reminisced on live music growing up.

"I recall Live N Loud battle of the bands used to have to turn bands down, there was such a large number entering the comp.

"Hopefully these type of events start happening again and get everyone excited about live music and, more importantly, live original music."

NOT OVER: Ben Castles, Nathan Bedford, Matt Green and Scott Rogers, of Epidemic Over, reunite to support Birds of Tokyo at GECC in February.
NOT OVER: Ben Castles, Nathan Bedford, Matt Green and Scott Rogers, of Epidemic Over, reunite to support Birds of Tokyo at GECC in February. Luka Kauzlaric

What's on

2014 musical events in and around Gladstone:

JANUARY

  • Jan 22 - Journey - The official GECC opening dinner with Li Cunxin and Wendy Matthews

FEBRUARY/MARCH

  • Feb 6 - Birds of Tokyo
  • Feb 25 - Morning Melodies starring Jackie Love
  • Feb 27-Mar 2 - Agnes Water Blues and Roots
  • Mar 29 - El Grande Festival

APRIL

  • Apr 8 - Morning Melodies starring Ian Stenlake
  • Apr 20 - Jazz 'n' Shiraz
  • Apr 22 - Kris Kristofferson
  • Apr 23 - Boy & Bear

MAY

  • May 22 - Diesel

JUNE

  • Jun 20 - Peace Train. The Cat Stevens Story starring Darren Coggan
  • Jun 24 - Morning Melodies starring Little Pattie

AUGUST

  • Aug 19 - Morning Melodies starring Simon Gallaher

OCTOBER

  • Oct 14 - Morning Melodies starring Rhonda Burchmore

DECEMBER

  • Dec 2 - Morning Melodies starring Kamahl
The new GECC has more space and gear to host even bigger and better acts for the region. Sound Factory played at Zinc Central Queensland Studio 927 #Party recently‚ showing just how good Gladstone entertainment can be.
The new GECC has more space and gear to host even bigger and better acts for the region. Sound Factory played at Zinc Central Queensland Studio 927 #Party recently‚ showing just how good Gladstone entertainment can be. Luka Kauzlaric

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