BEHIND THE SCENES FOR SIX60 AT EDEN PARK
Six60’s concert at Eden Park was the result of months of complex negotiations, involving a huge variety of legal and regulatory issues, with the final conditions only confirmed 24 hours before the band took the stage
Multiple stakeholders were involved, unexpected issues cropped up at every turn, and months of back-and-forth discussions took place in what K3 Legal director Chris Lee calls “one of the most intense, fun and challenging deals” he’s been involved with.
Chris Lee is the lawyer for legendary promoter Brent Eccles, the former drummer of Aussie band The Angels and, amongst others, Kiwi groups Space Waltz and Citizen Band. Together with his wife Helen, Brent owns and runs Eccles Entertainment - the #1 promoter in the world for Q1 2021, as ranked by POLLSTAR, the internationally recognised live music industry publication.
Chris believes it would have been almost impossible to get the Eden Park concert over the line if it hadn’t been for Eccles’ “unique energy, passion, experience, pragmatism and diplomacy”.
In early 2019, Chris worked with Brent and Eccles’ Booking Agent, Dave Munro, to combat guerrilla marketing at Six60’s historic 1st Western Springs concert – the first time a New Zealand band had sold out that 50,000 capacity venue.
In early 2020, just after the band had sold out Western Springs for a second time, the three began negotiating with representatives from Eden Park to gain the option for Six60 to be the first to play there, should the venue win its much prized resource consent to hold concerts at the ground. Separately, a heads of terms for the concert agreement was tabled in July 2020. With a good working relationship established and progress being made on the negotiations regarding the option, the band and Eccles supported Eden Park’s resource consent application, including making written submissions and in-person appearances at the November 2020 hearing.
Six60 decided not to play any form of gig in Auckland until after the consent decision was released. Their “Saturdays” tour was born, with sell outs in Paihia, Hastings, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton.
The parties were on tenterhooks when the independent commissioners delayed the announcement of their decision on the resource consent. However, when it was finally awarded in mid- January this year, and then not appealed by a single person within the 30-day window, the band’s Auckland financial gamble had seemingly paid-off – so long as a window for the concert could be found (around existing cricket and rugby fixtures) and the terms of the deal agreed. That window was found to be 24 April 2021.
It was only then that negotiations on the concert agreement commenced in earnest. Whilst both parties were keen to nail down a contract as early as possible – planning and selling a concert of this scale is not a short nor small exercise - up to that date, Eden Park had understandably been focussed on obtaining the consent – after all, without a consent, there was no need for a concert contract.
From the start of the negotiations until their late conclusion, a natural tension existed which meant there was always a very good chance that a deal would be achieved. As Chris says “Eden Park is a very publicly accountable commercial entity, with commitments not just to its historical sporting stakeholders, but also to the Auckland Council, given the Council’s financial support. Having invested in the Resource Consent, the venue was looking to produce concert income as quickly as possible. With Covid-19, Six60 was the only band that could play an Eden Park concert in early 2021 - no other band in the world could get here to play, no other group in Australasia could fill a stadium that big. On the flip side, the band had made it clear that they wanted to be the first at Eden Park and had not played in Auckland this summer as a result. Together, those things meant that, even though negotiations were long and hard, everyone kept working towards the desired outcome.”
Even then, there were a number of challenges to overcome. Eden Park had hosted many epic sporting events, including 2 x men’s RWC finals, the last with over 60,000 in attendance. However, it had never welcomed tens of thousands of people onto the playing field. Further, a stage and set the size of Six60’s had never been built inside the Stadium. Various structures required by the resource consent condition had to be erected and certified. The parties also had to satisfy planners that the concert would meet the consent’s noise restriction requirements. With support from Auckland Transport, Auckland Unlimited and the Council’s planning teams, and a massive effort from the staff at Eden Park, Eccles and Global Production Partners (responsible for the show’s “production”), all aspects of the concert processed smoothly through the relevant approvals and all went well on the night.
Chris Lee says: “It was a very complex process with many moving parts and a number of unusual aspects. Even the RMA issues extended beyond those associated with a construction – we were dealing with decibel levels, how sound travels and ensuring the pack in, concert and pack out didn’t unduly disturb Eden Park’s neighbours. It was an enormous eye-opener to see how organised and professional parties in the show business and venue management business have to be. Throughout, Brent and Dave were the filling in the sandwich with the venue on one side and the artist on the other. Luckily, they proved to be irresistible!! With the assistance of Eden Park’s team, a fair deal was achieved and a brilliant concert held. ”