Live Nation has tapped entertainment industry veteran Stuart Clumpas to oversee its New Zealand affiliate, a new role which leads a raft of executive appointments Down Under, Billboard can reveal.
The Scottish-born executive becomes chairman of Live Nation New Zealand, with Rick Latham (formerly operations manager) and Steve Wheadon (formerly production manager) named head of operations and head of production, respectively. At the same time, promoter Mark Kneebone rises to head of promotions, overseeing strategic event, talent development and marketing.
Latham and Wheadon will be responsible for overseeing operational and production for all Live Nation events in the territory and the pair will retain full oversight of the operations and production teams at the 12,000-capacity Spark Arena (formerly Vector Arena), which Live Nation bought into in 2015. Clumpas, co-founder of the U.K.’s T in the Park and V festivals, was director and part-owner in the Auckland venue.
Clumpas tells Billboard his remit is to grow the NZ entity into one that stands for itself. “Generally, it’s a country on the up,” he says. In years to come, “I’d like to be able to turn around and have people say, ‘New Zealand is part of a world tour’ and an artist asks Live Nation, ‘where’s my New Zealand date?’ It’s a challenge,” he explains, “but I’m looking forward to it.”
New Zealand, notes Live Nation Australasia’s CEO, Roger Field in a statement, is a “valuable and vibrant entertainment market, and it’s time it is recognized for its importance and growth potential it the region.” The appointments are a foundation to LN’s plan to bring “more events, to more people across the country.”
The shakeup comes on the heels of LN’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Rhythm & Vines Festival which, according to the concerts giant, places it in a strong good position to expand its footprint in the region.
In a statement, Clumpas observes, “Whilst we will always be close geographically to our cousins in Australia, the demographics of the two countries have moved in different paths over the past 20 years, and it’s time to capitalize and build on that in a positive fashion for New Zealand.”
Clumpas has seen a lot of action in the NZ market since he emigrated 16 years ago. And with Lorde leading the way, he sees enormous opportunities for Kiwi artists on the global stage. “Australia got its international legs in the middle to late ‘80s with INXS and Mental as Anything and others. I think NZ got its international legs in the early ‘00s, but we haven’t had the artists come through. Ella (Lorde) is one of the first (big stars from New Zealand) and there are hopefully more. It feels like NZ has that magic that Aus had when it really broke in the ‘80s.”