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Cedar Mill Group proposes permanent outdoor entertainment venues for Greater Sydney parklands

Cedar Mill Group proposes permanent outdoor entertainment venues for Greater Sydney parklands
March 1, 2023

Winarch Capital-owned Cedar Mill Group, in partnership with Business Sydney and Business Western Sydney has proposed a transformation of three Greater Sydney parklands into permanent outdoor entertainment spaces.

The business case proposes the creation of a permanent "performance shell" in The Domain in Sydney’s CBD; The Crescent in Parramatta Park, and in Thompsons Creek Regional Parkland in Bradfield.

The business case, ‘Greater Entertainment for Greater Sydney: Permanent Performance Shells in Sydney’s Iconic Parklands’, maps out how permanent performance shells would revitalise Sydney’s outdoor entertainment sector, bringing over 2,300 permanent jobs and $450 million to its economy every year.

Cedar Mill Group highlight that while Sydney has outstanding sporting and business offerings, its culture, entertainment sector and night-time economy has struggled for years and will hold back its projected growth.

Paul Lambess, Cedar Mill Group Founder and Managing Director notes “The Greater Entertainment for Greater Sydney report demonstrates that Sydney cannot reach its growth potential while its cultural and entertainment offerings fall massively short of cities such as Melbourne, the defacto cultural capital of Australia. Greater Sydney lacks a permanent home for cultural, entertainment and community-based outdoor events, discouraging performances from coming here which, in turn, reduces tourist activity and ultimately disadvantages its economy and residents.”

Created by Cedar Mill Group, with urban planning consultancy Hatch RobertsDay and research by Sound Diplomacy, the business case analyses Sydney’s dire need for permanent entertainment offerings and lays out the economic, cultural and community benefits that performance shells would deliver to the city.

Permanent performance shells are acoustical, high-tech soundshell structures designed to improve the sound and clarity of performances, enhancing both the performers and patrons’ experience. They can host a wide range of performing arts, festivals, major concerts, movie screenings and community events. These iconic cultural pavilions, with their minimalist and contemporary design, have become parts of the cultural infrastructure of many overseas cities.

Much loved examples are the Rady Shell in San Diego, Red Rocks in Colorado, and the award-winning Orion in Alabama. Closer to home, Melbourne’s iconic Sidney Myer Music Bowl and Brisbane’s Riverstage are popular among local and international artists. In Sydney, the proposed shells can fill a venues void between theatres and their capacity for up to 2,000 people, and arenas that can hold more than 20,000.

Sydney-based singer-songwriter Josh Pyke shared "having played at River Stage in Brisbane a number of times, I’ve experienced how great it is to have access to permanent outdoor stages. Done right, the production values are lifted immediately and that makes for a better show for the artist and the community. Sydney needs to unlock its potential to be the major performance destination in Australia and creating these kinds of spaces is surely one of the keys."

Cedar Mill Group has worked to deliver some of the largest, most important events throughout Australia. Its Sydney events have ranged from the Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th Anniversary to the delivery of stadium concert sites. The company is currently developing permanent performance shells in Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley in NSW and in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, with another planned for South-East Queensland.

Lambess adds “permanent performance shells are the missing piece in Sydney’s cultural infrastructure. They can be destinations in themselves. They minimise expensive set-up costs, disruption to public spaces and the environmental impact from installation of temporary infrastructure. Permanent performance shells create accessibility to a wider group of users. We’ve assembled a team of experts including our seasoned event specialists, and experienced development team to ensure the successful delivery of such an exciting project. Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie, our 30,000-capacity performance shell, is a clear example of such a project as it now takes shape.”

David Borger, Executive Director of Business Western Sydney advises “successful, growing cities are known for their liveability, identity and community cohesion. However, access to culture and entertainment in Sydney has been uneven for too long. The best venues are in the CBD, harbour and inner-city. Evenly distributing the construction of performance shells across Greater Sydney will give residents of Western Sydney much better access to performances and events.

“A performance shell in the Crescent outdoor space in Parramatta Park is a much-needed addition to Australia’s fastest-growing city, Parramatta. The event space will complement Parramatta River’s evolving Cultural Precinct with the new Powerhouse Parramatta and the redevelopment of the Riverside Theatres.

“Further west, a performance shell in the early development phase of Bradfield will help anchor the city, create a cultural destination around which the city will evolve with and offer easy access to the airport and surrounding regions.”

Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director of Business Sydney adds “Sydney is going through unprecedented growth, with its population forecasted to exceed eight million by mid-century. While Sydney has outstanding sporting and business offerings, its culture, entertainment sector and night-time economy has struggled for years and will hold back its projected growth.

“Permanent performance shells will create an entertainment renaissance in Sydney. They will help the CBD finally recover from lockout laws and pandemic restrictions and allow people to enjoy and connect outdoors in new ways. The knock-on benefits will help Sydney compete for top talent, investment and tourism from within Australia and the world.”

The business case ‘Greater Entertainment for Greater Sydney: Permanent Performance Shells in Sydney’s Iconic Parklands’ can be accessed here.

Cedar Mill Group was established by Winarch Capital in 2020 to lead its ambitious growth plans into the Australian tourism and events sectors. The showpiece within Cedar Mill Group is its regional outdoor venue circuit including Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie, a 30,000-seat amphitheatre due to open late 2024, alongside plans for Cedar Mill Hunter Valley and Cedar Mill Yarra Valley, with more locations to follow. Cedar Mill Group also operates several specialist companies that work with Australia’s largest event organisers and promoters, providing event management, security and risk management, venue operations and video production.

Images from top: Artistic Impressions of Permanent Performance Shells proposed by Cedar Mill Group at The Crescent Parramatta Park; The Domain Sydney; and Thompsons Creek Regional Parkland Bradfield

Related Articles

7th November 2022 - Cedar Mill Group rebrands Humm Events and appoints new event director

30th May 2022 - Cedar Mill Group acquires prime Yarra Valley site for Victorian premium tourist precinct

3rd May 2022 - Cedar Mill Group snaps up Secure Events and Assets and launches new AV division

16th February 2022 - Winarch Capital and Cedar Mill Group promotes Kyle McKendry to Chief Executive and announces new senior appointments

26th August 2021 - Cedar Mill Group acquires Hunter Valley site and plans for 22,000-person outdoor concert venue

22nd July 2021 - Cedar Mill Group acquires Humm Events

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