Sir Elton John arrival years in the making

From sublime football to ridiculous obstacle challenges, Sunshine Coast Stadium has seen action aplenty over the last decade as our region’s premier venue for outdoor events.

A whole new ball game awaits tonight (Tuesday, March 3) when the stadium hosts one of the highest profile guests on the planet in Sir Elton John.

The British singer, pianist and composer is one of the most revered and celebrated music icons of the 20th century with 38 gold records, 31 platinum and multi-platinum albums, over 50 Top 40 hits and more than 300 million records sold worldwide.

So he’s kind of a big deal and securing Sir Elton for a gig has been no small feat. Sunshine Coast Stadium Venue Manager Simon Ball said more than 10 years of planning, persuasion and persistence had paved the way for the music icon’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour to arrive at 31 Sportsmans Parade, Bokarina.

“Around 12 years ago conversations started between Sunshine Coast Council and Chugg Entertainment about hosting Sir Elton John in a concert on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Ball said.

“The stumbling block back then was the fact we weren’t viewed as having the facility or capacity to host this type of event. Over the years, we’ve worked extremely hard to build a relationship with promoters and we’ve had numerous site visits at Sunshine Coast Stadium with representatives from Chugg Entertainment and Sir Elton John’s production.

“Conversations progressed over the past 12 months or so and with Sunshine Coast Stadium now up to standard, our time has come.

“It’s extremely exciting and a huge thrill that Sir Elton John’s Executive Producer has put faith in our venue and region to support such an iconic event – Sir Elton John’s last ever show in Queensland and his second last performance in Australia.”

The National Rugby League helped put Sunshine Coast Stadium on the national map last year by hosting a premiership match for the first time and was rewarded with a sell-out crowd of 11,912 and rave reviews from the South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors. Two more fixture matches are scheduled for 2020 and 2021 and the venue will also host the Women’s State of Origin match this coming June

The goalposts, among other things at the Stadium, have shifted considerably to accommodate Sir Elton John’s enormous production entourage, including the 46 tonne, 90 square foot stage and prepare the arena for more than 30,000 fans across the two concerts.     

“The logistical considerations involved with this event are absolutely enormous. Whilst we have seen some improvements to the venue in recent years, we’ve still had to ‘bump in’ an enormous amount of temporary infrastructure for this event. If we can secure the funding partners to deliver the stadium expansion upgrade approved by Council late last year, not only will we see more of these events, but it will also become easier and more commercially viable for promoters and artists,” Mr Ball said.

“From transport and traffic planning, to how and where we store and have access to the 35 semi-trailers that have arrived for staging and production. There’s also been significant logistics in catering for the crew, band and the artist, like access to the venue, accommodation, transport and airports.

“We had to prove to the promoter that we can deliver in all of these aspects and ensure that Sir Elton John’s experience and the promoter’s experience before, during and after the event will be a positive one.

“We don’t want this to be our first and last concert of this magnitude, we want to attract many more amazing live touring acts to our region to perform at Sunshine Coast Stadium.”

And as for Sir Elton John himself?

“His movements to and from the Sunshine Coast and the stadium tonight and tomorrow night are still a bit of a mystery but what we know is it is all well planned and what we have heard from other venues and media reports is he may arrive on the Sunshine Coast in his private jet,” Mr Ball said.

What else would you expect from a ‘rocket man’?