Matthew Lazarus-Hall, the tour producer on behalf of Chugg Entertainment, told the Central Western Daily that
Bathurst had been on the radar for a while.
“We have been eyeing Bathurst for a number of years – it’s something unique and different. We think the time is right for the region,” he remarked.
He said Bathurst had a reputation for accommodating big events.
“People know where it is from a motorsport perspective and there’s great infrastructure – the city’s used to putting on big events,” he said.
“We’re not going to somewhere that has never done this. People are skilled.”
Carrington Park, which will host the concert, has the right location and the right profile, Mr Lazarus-Hall said.
“We really like Carrington. It’s very level, very flat. The seats can go a long way back,” he said.
Hosting an NRL game a year – under Bathurst Regional Council‘s long-term deal with the Penrith Panthers – had raised the profile of the ground, he said.
Bathurst signed an initial five-year deal with the Panthers to bring a game each year to Carrington and that deal was extended to 2028 last year.
Last year’s game against the North Queensland Cowboys attracted a record crowd of almost 10,300 – thousands fewer, though, than the 15,000 Mr Lazarus-Hall hopes the Sir Elton concert attracts.
Council has funded a number of improvements to Carrington Park since the deal began, including an upgrade to the playing surface and lighting.
Matthew observed that Elton had played at rugby league grounds at Wollongong and Mackay on previous Australian tours, so experience had been gathered.
He said there would be a number of visits to Bathurst over the next year to prepare for the Sir Elton concert before the site set-up began in the days before the gig.
The final crowd number, he said, will determine the logistics for the event – including “whether we need to push the stage back.”
The Rocket Man will play at Bathurst on January 22, 2020.