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Legendary promoter keen to bring more big-name acts to Newy


After the success of Sir Elton John’s recent shows in Newcastle, his legendary Australian promoter Michael Chugg AM would be keen to return to the former steel city.

Huge crowds passed through the gates at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday (8 January) and Tuesday (10 January) to bid the music icon a “fitting farewell” following an illustrious career entertaining millions of people worldwide.

But, it also posed the question: what other big-name acts could Newcastle attract to the venue?

Sir Elton John rocks out to the masses at McDonald Jones Stadium.

So, the Newcastle Weekly put it out to its followers on social media, with Pink, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Foo Fighters, AC/DC, Metallica, Lady Gaga and Luke Combs among the most preferred.

And, Chugg – who’s toured the likes of The Police, Ray Charles, Carlos Santana, The Dixie Chicks, John Mayer, Radiohead, Coldplay, The Who, The Offspring, REM, Rufus Wainwright, Mark Knopfler, Robbie Williams, John Fogerty, Pearl Jam, Simon & Garfunkel, Ben Harper, Elvis Costello, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Gorillaz, Jimmy Buffett, Doobie Brothers, Yo Gabba Gabba, Alan Jackson, Florence + The Machine, Tame Impala, Dolly Parton, Robert Plant, Paul Simon, Of Monsters and Men, and many more – is receptive to the idea.

“We’ll certainly look at bringing other artists to the [McDonald Jones] stadium in the future,” he said.

“We also hope all the talk about building a new arena/entertainment centre becomes a reality, too.

“That would definitely open Newcastle up to a lot of shows.”

Chugg admitted he was more than thrilled with how everything came together on the two nights.

“Both shows went off smoothly,” he said.

“The audiences arrived early as well, which helped have nearly 100% of the guests seated before Elton hit the stage at 7pm.

“Overall, 48,000 people attended on Sunday and Tuesday, coming from all corners of Australia, including more than 100 international visitors.

“So, the venue and its huge staff did an incredible job with a big smile.”

Chugg said the Rocket Man himself was also full of praise for the Novocastrian hospitality.

“Elton loved the audiences and was blown away with everything,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The 150-plus road crew, who built this show, were also impressed by the support and effort that the locals provided them.

“Elton even thought the guy, who ran on stage (on Sunday), was okay.

“As it turns out, he’s run onto the field at sporting games, too.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said John’s performances shone a spotlight on Newcastle – and elevated the city’s status as a national events destination. 

“It’s been an amazing week here for locals and visitors,” she stated.

“City of Newcastle (CN) joined forces with Venues NSW to secure Newcastle as the first stop on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in Australia under a strategic Major Events Partnership.

“We’d like to congratulate the event organisers for putting on a fantastic show for everyone.

“Attracting headline acts of this calibre is a testament to Newcastle’s growth as a world-class event city and indicative of our maturing local economy.  

“Major events are a key part of CN’s Destination Management Plan as a primary driver of the local tourism visitor economy, delivering both an immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and economy, with greater visitation, investment and liveability outcomes.  

“We’re committed to ongoing strategic investment in major events and tourism through sponsorship, industry development, tourism brand refresh Seek Off Beat and targeted marketing campaigns, which are integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust visitor economy.”

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