Media Release 23 March 2005


Christchurch: Summer 2005


something extraordinary for a market our size in our location.


The last three months have been a dream run for the Westpac Centre and Christchurch Town Hall - and the venue managers are still smiling. Mike Kelly, Executive Director of NCC (NZ) Ltd, said this is the most favourable touring environment for a decade.


Christchurch hosts Mark Kopfler and R.E.M. this week, Norah Jones next week, Moody Blues in April - while recent performers have included world class names such as Andrea Bocelli, Dido, Dame Kiri Te Kaniwa, Rod Stewart, Cher, Neil Diamond, Velvet Revolver, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth.


The promoters say it never rains but it pours! Mike Kelly said it's like having six or seven outdoor concerts all in one season - "something I understand hasn't been the case in New Zealand. Thank you, Christchurch. "  


"The strength of the NZ dollar has had a great effect on the feasibility of buying tours for promoters. The magic of the music industry is still driven by hard nosed investment decisions about risk and return on that investment," Mike Kelly said.


"The response to the tours has been exceptional in Christchurch, especially with escalating admission prices. Even though it cost $1200 to see Andrea Bocelli at the Sydney Opera House and only $375 for front seats in Christchurch, that was a new ticket price threshold for this market. Of course, Christchurch people have always paid top dollar for major sporting events - often flying off to attend them to boot - but now concert tickets, while they are climbing, are receiving new acceptance."


Artists are touring because of a strong NZ dollar and the new higher ticket prices. "Promoters actually have declining margins with these major tours, even at the new prices, and the volume helps them out a bit even though the competition may be a bit stiff," Mike Kelly said.  


Mike Kelly said performers, from big name artists to production crews, have always enjoyed touring New Zealand.


"Their hectic schedules rarely leave them time to see or stay but they do come back, time and time again. New Zealanders have always been generous with their praise for performers and we've got some of the most avid fans for many of the artists and groups from the 60's through the 80's."


"The venues that performers play in are many and varied. Major artists appreciate the opportunity to play more intimate venues like the Westpac Centre and the Town Hall Auditorium compared to the giant venues they play overseas. In both cases the acoustics are exceptional for their building types, arena and performing arts centre respectively, and artists are specially pleased with that quality. " 


"It always stresses me when tour sound engineers can't get the mix right when the venues have demonstrated their acoustic capacity time and time again. Like any private corporation, the artists are very particular about and protective of their brand. In music, that brand is anchored in their sound so they are appreciative of the good acoustics."


From a production perspective, the easy big door access into the Westpac Centre, its secured service yard, the ease of flying light and sound with the added permanent lighting rig and catwalks allows them to build the show in from the roof down. When you've got 16 tractor tralers to unload in the middle of the night, those thngs are appreciated.


"The more they can fly the fewer the number of seats that are killed because of sight lines and obstructions on and beside the stage. Most people wouldn't experience unpacking and assembling 10 or 12 tractor trailers of sound and light equipment, staging, message centres and costumes in a 6-7 hour period and then reversing all of that 24 hours later -  and repeating that in 300 consecutive nights in cities across the globe. That's what Cher is doing."


"The logistics of the exercise are as complex and as well coordinated as the launch of a military campaign. It's big business and we've been blessed over the past few months to be part of something that is extraordinary for a market our size in our location. The artists seen at the Westpac Centre, because of the dimension of their staging, have a status that allows us to compare their tours with major outdoor stadium tours."





For more information please contact Mike Kelly on or email


We have excellent jpeg images of the artists performing in the local venues available for media use, on request to