It was announced today that an Auckland version of Austin City Limits is coming to Western Springs Stadium in March next year. This is good news, as this sort of “mainstream” music festival is one of the few pieces in the Auckland live music puzzle left to be filled. The Big Day Out needed a replacement and this might just do the trick for now. As yet no lineup has been announced, but based on the lineup from the Austin event this year, the chances are it will be a banger.
The Auckland live music jigsaw puzzle seems to be filling in. Laneway is back next year for the more alternative music crowd, while there are other niche events such as Soul Fest, Ragamuffin, Northern Bass and Splore to cater for various musical tastes and crowds. Vector Arena for all its sound problems continues to attract the big name international acts, and there is always a good range of acts from overseas playing there each year. The Powerstation and more attractive venues such as the Town Hall and St James are also very suitable for smaller crowds. On a side note, it is great that the St James has some gigs coming up in the form of Father John Misty and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
There are, however, two pieces of the puzzle which to me still need filling. Firstly, Mount Smart Stadium is not a suitable music venue, it is quite frankly a ghastly venue for large-scale concerts. It is hard to get out of and aesthetically is not attractive, or comfortable. The sooner all large-scale outdoor concerts are held at Western Springs the better, hey, even North Harbour Stadium is a better bet than Mount Smart. I also feel Auckland needs an indoor mid-range size venue for around the 5000-6000 type-crowds, and preferably with better acoustics than Vector Arena. Other than that, the Auckland live music puzzle is looking quite good from my perspective, with a bit of everything for everyone. Long may it continue.