The Boss, a Byron Bay festival staple, two legendary singer-songwriters, and ‘our Kylie’ were all recognised for their outstanding achievements in the live music performance sector at the 13th Annual Helpmann Awards.

Taking place at the Sydney Opera House, the Live Performance Australia-hosted event saw over 43 Helpmann Awards handed out to theatre productions, performing arts, musicals, drama and other events for their contribution to the live performance sector from over 822 entries for nomination.

The coveted Best Australian Contemporary Concert saw nominees Gotye, Archie Roach, and Keith Urban lost out to Neil Finn & Paul Kelly, who took out the category for their mammoth co-headline 2012 tour; presented by Lave Nation Australia by arrangement with Artist Voice, that saw the Australian icon and New Zealand legend rolling around the country playing selections from each songwriter’s esteemed back catalogue to critical acclaim.

Beating Coldplay, Bee Gee Barry Gibb, and Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and The Frontier Touring Company took home the Best International Contemporary Concert Award for the Wrecking Ball 2013 Tour; one of the biggest Australian tours of the year, raking in grosses of $25 million.

The tour included Springsteen’s two outdoor concerts at Hanging Rock, which alone generated a quarter of the Australian tour revenue, generating $5 million from its over 34,000 ticket-holders. The Helpmann Award win also marks a personal triumph for Frontier Touring Company boss and Mushroom mogul, Michael Gudinski, who accepted the award on behalf of Springsteen. [do action=”pullquote”]Taking place at the Sydney Opera House, the Live Performance Australia-hosted event saw over 43 Helpmann Awards handed out…[/do]

The three-hour plus Springsteen and E Street Band shows at Hanging Rock were the brainchild of Gudinski, marking the third and last of a deal with Macedon Ranges council, who are likely to approve a five-year deal to host more concerts at the site following the success of previous tours.

The Mushroom boss also accepted a gong on behalf of Kylie Minogue at the ceremony last night, the former Mushroom starlet taking home the JC Williamson Award, granted for an outstanding contribution to the live entertainment and performing arts industry. Minogue was named alongside co-winner David Blenkinsop, the brains behind the Festival of Perth for 23 years.

It was Peter Noble’s own Bluesfest Touring company that that claimed top spot in the field of Best Contemporary Music Festival, for the 24th edition of the Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest, which generated millions for the local economy while drawing huge numbers to its Tyagarah Tea Tee Farm site with its enormous lineup featuring Santana, Robert Plant, Wilco, Paul Simon, Ben Harper, and many, many more.

Bluesfest beat out the likes of VIVID, Laneway, and the newly expanded Falls Festival and Laneway in the music festival category, while the 24 hour arts and music event White Night Melbourne was given the Best Special Event accolade, presented to Victorian Major Events Company on behalf of the State Government of Victoria, just as organisers confirmed that White Night would be returning to the Melbourne CBD for 2014.

The news of the award winners was slightly soured by the results from organisers Live Performance Australia’s annual survey on ticket revenue and attendance rates that shows that Aussie live music has taken a hit due to increasing ticket prices and an economic downturn.

Helpmann Awards 2013 Music Winners

Best Special Event

Victorian Major Events Company on behalf of The State Government of Victoria
Production/Event: White Night Melbourne
Presenter(s): Victorian Major Events Company on behalf of The State Government of Victoria

Best International Contemporary Concert

Nominee: Bruce Springsteen, The E Street Band and The Frontier Touring Company in association with Jacobsen International 
Production/Event: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Wrecking Ball 2013
Presenter(s): The Frontier Touring Company in association with Jacobsen International

Best Australian Contemporary Concert

Nominee: Neil Finn, Paul Kelly and Live Nation Australasia by arrangement with Artist Voice
Production/Event: Neil Finn & Paul Kelly
Presenter(s): Live Nation Australasia by arrangement with Artist Voice

Best Contemporary Music Festival

Nominee: Bluesfest Touring
Production/Event: The 24th Annual Bluesfest Byron Bay
Presenter(s): Bluesfest Touring

The JC Williamson Award

Kylie Minogue and David Blenkinsop

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