Exclusive: Six60 and the battle for an Eden Park concert

New Zealand’s biggest band is battling to become the first group to play at Eden Park in a fresh fight for live music at the country’s premier stadium venue.

Six60 – who made NZ music history by becoming the first local band to sell out Western Springs – have become the new faces of a long-running stoush to host concerts at the home of the All Blacks.

“This is our premier venue,” said Six60 frontman Matiu Walters. “Crazily, there’s never been a gig here. We thought why don’t we just pump the brakes on that and see if we can make this thing work.”

Under Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan, Eden Park is allowed to host six music events a year, contingent on the venue and respective promoters

gaining resource consent.

The process is so costly that to date Eden Park hasn’t lodged an application; any bids are set to be hotly contested by the Eden Park Neighbours’ Association (EPNA). The group opposes

additional night time and noisy events at the ground dubbed New Zealand’s “National Stadium”.

But next Monday, Eden Park bosses and the EPNA will be locked in a resource consent hearing at Auckland’s Town Hall after a proposal from venue management to be able to host the six events annually without consent.

If Eden Park is successful, then Six60 could add Eden Park to its list of 2021 summer gigs. The country’s biggest city was a surprise ommission from the band’s six-gig tour early next year.

Walters confirmed that after playing to two sold-out audiences at Western Springs, they had then hoped to play at Eden Park.

But then they realised the red tape they would have to get through to be allowed to perform at the venue – the site of two World Cup-winning efforts from the All Blacks.

No concert has been hosted at the ground in its 120-year history.

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said he hoped the suburban venue would win, based on the support it had received ahead of the showdown.

“Ninety-four per cent of submitters resoundingly indicated they support music at the stadium,” Sautner told the Herald on Sunday.

“We’ve received support from a range of people and organisations and we are thrilled to have an overwhelming level of support from our local community. This further showcases the current and ongoing positive relationship the stadium holds with its neighbours.”

The neighbours’ association is vehemently opposed to the move. Its last newsletter on its website states residents who did not oppose “risk permanently giving away the rights and protections currently under the Auckland Unitary Plan for no gain or benefit to you, your family or your community”.

“Eden Park Trust’s aim is to profit at your cost.

“If this is granted – that’s it. There is no way to reverse or review. You have the one chance – it’s not worth the risk.”

It warned of concerts that could finish as late as 11pm and could attract up to 60,000 people.

“Don’t worry at all about the over-the-top/fact-free campaign under way by Eden Park,” the newsletter continued. “Fake news as they say.”

Eden Park had previously been in talks about hosting a charity concert raising funds for LifePod baby incubators – with the line-up set to include chart-topper Phil Collins – in 2018.

That was shelved after opposition from some locals, including former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Walters performed the national anthem in the lead-up to last weekend’s All Blacks/Wallabies clash at Eden Park.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wpmshPlP7nc%3Ffeature%3Doembed

He said it was a “strange thing” that he could sing the national anthem there but “I can’t perform my own show”.

If Eden Park’s bid is successful, Six60 could play there in April.

“We want to be the first band to ever play in this stadium. It makes sense to us that it is a local band and we are in a position to do it, to fill it and do something here that’s crazy. I think we can do an amazing show.

“It’s just sitting there dormant and ready. Look at it. You can see it in there and how awesome it would be. How amazing it would be for Auckland and for NZ music,” he enthuses, looking down over the park from the corporate box we’ve been talking in.

“Let’s do cool stuff and allow New Zealanders to do cool s*** in the coolest places.”

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