“Done right, the production stats are instantly boosted and it makes for a better show for the artist and the community. Sydney needs to unlock its potential to become the premier events destination in Australia and creating these types of spaces is certainly one of the keys,” he said.
But former Greater Sydney Commission chief Lucy Turnbull, who co-wrote a report on the Macquarie Street East neighborhood for the government with former Prime Minister Paul Keating, cautioned against the proposal.
“Basically, having more outdoor celebration and entertainment areas in the right place, with good design and good execution, is a great thing,” she said. “But if it’s somewhere near a conservation area, you have to be very careful when you invade a public space.”
At Parramatta Park, the proposed “Crescent Shell” would be built adjacent to Old Government House, across the river from Commbank Stadium and Old Kings Oval. The Bradfield envelope would be part of a park planned for the new town center (near present-day Bringelly).
Both political sides have already partially endorsed the concept. As part of its plan to redesign the Macquarie Street East Precinct, the coalition state government commissioned a business case for a permanent domain soundshell, and the shell is included in their flyover video showing the future precinct.
A spokesman for the Department for Planning and Environment said the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is still developing the business case and “it remains a proposal at this stage”.
Meanwhile, Labor has pledged $250,000 for a business case for four Sound Shells – the three in the greater Sydney area and an additional venue in regional NSW. The pledge was part of a broader $103 million live music bailout announced by the opposition last week.
Cedar Mill Group, owned by Winarch Capital, has ambitious plans to transform outdoor concert and tourism offerings in NSW and Victoria with three major developments outside the capitals; a 20,000-seat amphitheater in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley; and a 30,000-person venue on Lake Macquarie, part of the $235 million Morriset Golf Course rehabilitation. With similar plans, the company also bought 100 acres in Victoria’s Yarra Valley last year.
Founder Paul Lambess said Sydney is failing to fulfill its potential while its culture and entertainment offering “falls massively short of cities like Melbourne, Australia’s de facto cultural capital”.
Business Western Sydney chief executive David Borger, a former employment minister for western Sydney, said the plan was a no-brainer given the city’s enviable climate.
“It’s frankly stupid that we don’t have a proper infrastructure for outdoor concerts,” he said. “If we could build these three shells, we could bring a lot of fun to our three-city model and actually breathe some life into it.”
Business Sydney boss Paul Nicolaou said it was “pretty bad” for an international city like Sydney not to have a permanent outdoor amphitheater and that it was badly needed.
The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Login here.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/the-ambitious-plan-to-resuscitate-sydney-s-open-air-music-scene-20230224-p5cnf8.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Sydney’s open-air music scene is set to be revived