Elton John, Bathurst concert preparations begin for venue

GROUND WORK: Tour producer Matthew Lazarus-Hall met with mayor Graeme Hanger at Carrington Park on Monday as preparations begin for next year's Sir Elton John concert. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 020419celton1
GROUND WORK: Tour producer Matthew Lazarus-Hall met with mayor Graeme Hanger at Carrington Park on Monday as preparations begin for next year's Sir Elton John concert. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 020419celton1

AFTER the big announcement, it’s time for the hard work.

As a stunned Bathurst absorbed the news that superstar Sir Elton John will play a concert in the city next January, preparations were beginning at the venue, Carrington Park.

Matthew Lazarus-Hall, the tour producer on behalf of Chugg Entertainment, was at Carrington on Monday with Bathurst Regional Council as they work out how a rugby league ground will be transformed into a home befitting one of the biggest names in global music.

Mr Lazarus-Hall said he was pleased with the city’s reaction to the news, describing it as “incredibly positive”. 

“There is an opportunity [for Bathurst] to not just make it a concert, but make it an event,” he said.

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While at the site on Monday, Mr Lazarus-Hall sketched out some of the details for the practicalities of the concert.

The stage, he said, will be at the Howick Street end of the football ground, while the dressing room and production area will be in the south-eastern part of the complex.

Extra extrances and exits will be needed to get the crowd – expected to be about 15,000 – in and out of the venue as easily as possible, he said.

“Primarily, it's a football ground, so it’s not designed for this,” he said.

Mr Lazarus-Hall said there will be at least another four visits to Bathurst and Carrington Park by tour officials before the concert next year.

“We work on this for 18 months and customers come for five hours,” he said.

“So our job is to make it as easy and as seamless as possible.

“We want people to get in and out, have a good time and then talk about it for years afterwards.”

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Mr Lazarus-Hall said about 24 semi-trailers will come to Bathurst for the show, which is partly about where the local concert sits in the run of dates (it will be after a show in Queensland and before three shows in Victoria).

“We will have the site team here for about a week,” he said.

Mr Lazarus-Hall, who estimates he has been involved in about 100 of Sir Elton’s 190 shows in Australia over the years, said his advice to the audience in Bathurst in a year’s time is to make some noise.

“The more audiences give to him, the more he'll give back,” he said. 

“He wants you to clap and cheer. He is a true performer.”

Sir Elton will play at Carrington Park on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

Pre-sale tickets for the Bathurst show will begin with Telstra Thanks ticket sales on Friday, February 8 from 9am.

Tickets for the Bathurst show will officially go on sale on Friday, February 15 from 9am.