As Sydney, Melbourne and Perth prepare for the arrival of Mariah Carey’s big Australian tour, a suburban hotel an hour outside of Brisbane is confident it can handle the logistics of hosting the megastar — and is spending big bucks to make it happen.
The best-selling female artist of the 1990s is bringing her #1s Tour to Australia in February, performing at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Parramatta Park and Perth Arena.
But the choice of Queensland venue, the Sandstone Point Hotel north of Brisbane near Bribie Island, has surprised many given it is relatively unknown and an hour outside the CBD.
Previously a rural property, the $30 million pub and restaurant development opened about two years ago, and has been hosting concert crowds of 3,000–6,500 people on a stage on a grassy knoll.
It’s hoping to put its name on the map as a premier venue as it hosts its first act on a larger stage, for potentially 10,000 people.
Sandstone Point Hotel owner Robert Comiskey is confident the hotel can pull it off.
“This will be the first time we use our large stage,” he said.
“I don’t think there will be a problem. The infrastructure is there.
“We will bring in external site managers who are used to dealing with this every day.
“We will make sure everything is nailed off, 100 per cent, and get it right the first time.”
Mr Comiskey is no stranger to ambitious projects, having also turned the Eatons Hill Hotel into a popular live music venue in Brisbane’s outer suburbs.
Owners of the Sandstone Point Hotel say the event will boost the local economy. (ABC News: Sandstone Point Hotel )
“When we built Eatons Hill people said ‘that won’t work, it is not in the city’. It wasn’t easy, and it was a hard road, but we’ve proven it works,” he said.
Mr Comiskey said a promoter approached the Sandstone Point Hotel about hosting Carey.
“It was designed to have big stars like this,” he said.
“It was always going happen. It’s just what star was going to happen.
“We hope it sells as much as possible. Last time she was in Brisbane she sold around 10,000 [tickets] so probably something around there.”
He said he did not know how much Carey was paid per gig, but guessed the tour would bring in millions.
But an event of this scale is not without logistical challenges, and the hotel is spending upwards of $250,000 on infrastructure to host the concert.
For example, the main road leading into the venue for the last kilometre is currently single-lane — something which will need to change.
“We will have a staggered start, good traffic management, planning and signage and making sure we have adequate parking on site which we do,” he said.
Sandstone Point Hotel opened in mid-2015 at a cost of $30 million to host live music events. (ABC News: Sandstone Point Hotel)
The stage and sounds system alone can cost up to $120,000.
“And it is not just the stage; it is the toilets, tents, fencing, paramedics, police, traffic management. You are talking hundreds of thousands to set up for one day,” he said.
“If you don’t do it well, everyone knows about it straight away. Not many people are forgiving if they have to wait or if car parking is an issue.”
Mr Comiskey said despite the high costs of hosting Carey, the numbers did stack up.
“We do the numbers and make sure the risk is satisfactory, and if we think the risk if too high we pass. We’ve passed on many deals because we think the risk is just too high for that artist,” he said.