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Venues NSW seeks approval for concerts at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium

Venues NSW seeks approval for concerts at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium
July 8, 2022

Venues NSW has lodged a planning application with Newcastle City Council to hold five non-sporting events a year at the city’s McDonald Jones Stadium.

The plan by the NSW Government’s venue management agency would see the staging of open-air concerts attracting crowds of up to 35,000 people at the sporting venue.

Advising that, if successful, the venue could host major acts touring Australia, Venues NSW Chairman Tony Shepherd said acts would add Newcastle to their list of stadium shows when they tour the country.

Shepherd was reported by the Newcastle Herald as stating "the NSW government's goal is to bring more big events to Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast, including the international concert artists who tour their stadium shows around Australia over the summer

The development application before the Council aims to extend the use of the sports stadium for entertainment, including live music as well as more motorsport events.

The venue has only ever hosted one concert, in 1990, when Midnight Oil, The Angels and Crowded House performed at what was then the International Sports Centre for the Newcastle Earthquake Relief Concert.

The benefit concert attracted more than 42,000 people and raised $900,000.

It has also hosted international stunt show Nitro Circus and supercross event Super X.

Venues NSW says Newcastle is a compelling location for major events as McDonald Jones Stadium has good capacity, there is an abundance of accommodation options and the transfer of stages from Sydney would be logistically simple.

Documents submitted as part of the application say the existing infrastructure "is underutilised and can accommodate more frequent large events outside the sporting mode".

In February this year, Lake Macquarie City Council approved a development application from Winarch Capital for a 30,000-seat concert and event venue at Morisset on the NSW Central Coast.

Image: McDonald Jones Stadium and the surrounding Newcastle sport and entertainment precinct.

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