A 19,000-capacity crowd filled the Hope Estate amphitheatre for last Saturday night’s Fleetwood Mac concert.
It was the biggest winery concert ever held in Australia and according to Hope Estate owner, Michael Hope “It went a treat, the feedback has been very positive.”
He said the whole wine and entertainment industry was watching to see how the venue and infrastructure coped, and it went beautifully.
The crowds started to arrive around 4.30pm with Stevie Nicks arriving by helicopter and the remainder of the group jetting into Cessnock Airport.
Crowds were well behaved and the venue coped well with the record number.
Mr. Hope said that while he has no exact figures, the area would have received a huge boost to the economy through the number of visitors who booked local accommodation and transport, not to mention meals and other needs.
He said the big challenge was to get cars back on the road and the winery will be beefing up its message for people to take public transport in the future.
He said a big percentage did use public transport and this is backed up by figures supplied by Michael Kerr at Rover Coaches.
Mr. Kerr said the company organised 121 coaches and then needed to bring in an addition seven to meet the demand.
He estimates there were 40 mini buses on the road and another 15 coaches from outside the area.
Mr. Kerr said the biggest number of coaches used previously was about 90 at the Elton John and Rod Stewart concerts. “This has been the biggest by far,” he said.
Licensing sergeant Barry Meyers said the crowd was well behaved and that Hope Estate had enlisted 20 user pay police officers. Police set up a mobile command station at the winery.
He said the road structure does not lend itself to so many people and he also urged future concert goers to consider using public transport.
Upcoming concerts at Hope Estate feature Rob Thomas on February 12 and 13 and the following Saturday Cliff Richard and The Shadows, followed by Whitney Houston on February 27.