Sound Relief Melbourne show breaks record

Venue sells out its 78,000-plus tickets

BRISBANE, Australia -- The Melbourne leg of the March 14 Sound Relief bushfire benefit concerts has become the biggest live music show in Australia's history after selling out its capacity of 78,000-plus tickets, organizers said today.

The boxoffice feat for the Melbourne Cricket Ground show eclipses the previous record for a paying event of 74,600 tickets sold for a Guns 'N Roses concert at Melbourne's Calder Park motor racing track in 1993.

With tickets for the benefit concerts priced at $75 Australian ($47), the Melbourne event alone has generated more than $5.85 million Australian ($3.7 million). All profits will be donated to help rebuild communities shattered by bush fires in the state of Victoria.

Frontier Touring managing director Michael Gudinski, who is steering the Melbourne Cricket Ground show confirmed the record today, when he announced the addition of Kylie Minogue to the star-studded bill. Minogue, who will also co-host the concert, will grace the stadium's stage with the likes of Kings of Leon, Midnight Oil, Jack Johnson and Split Enz.

"To me, Kylie is Melbourne. Her attendance is the cherry on the top of an already phenomenal line-up," comments Mushroom Group chairman Gudinski. He describes the lineup as a "once in a lifetime" bill, adding: "it's truly impressive how much the Australian public has gotten behind this. It speaks volumes of the passion of our great country -- helping a mate in trouble."

The simultaneous concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground has been met with "impressive," ticket sales, according to promoter Michael Chugg, and new sections of the 40,000-plus capacity venue have been opened up to cater for more ticket holders.

The Sydney concert features Coldplay, Icehouse and the Presets. Other major names are due to be announced in the coming days. "This is the type of event that you'll be telling your grandchildren about many years from now," said Chugg, a co-organizer of the Sydney event.

As previously reported, money raised from the Sydney concert will be split 50/50 between the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal and the Premier's Disaster relief Fund Appeal in support of victims of the floods in the state of Queensland.

Earlier in the day, Sydney-based pay-TV broadcaster XYZnetworks announced it would broadcast both concerts live. The MCG concert will go out from noon local time on Channel V, while the SCG concert will air from midday on XYZ's MAX channel.