Kevin Jacobsen, Jacobsen Entertainment: 28th
Man Australia continues to interview Australia's
key figures in the media and entertainment business.
months of negotiation with the Jacobsen brother's,
we have secured an in depth interview with a living
legend of the Australian entertainment business,
How did Jacobsen Entertainment come about?
Entertainment is carrying on the business of concert
promotion; event and theatrical productions as
well as other areas of developing and presenting
live entertainment. It was considered that a public
company could eventually envelop other areas of
entertainment in due course.
your background, and that of the company?
began my working life in a chartered accountant's
practice. I played piano and formed a band with
my two brothers. The band Col Joye and the Joyboys
achieved 4 x #1 records and many more in the Top
40. Col Joye became a huge star. I left the band
and began managing artists and formed a company
as a theatrical agent representing leading pop
artists. We then became promoter of Col Joye concert
tours and tours by other Australian artists. We
began importing international artists to present
in concert throughout Australia. We were familiar
with the venues and procedure since we had promoted
Col Joye appearances. Col Joye was a major attraction.
are your aims and objectives?
aim and objective was to become a major production
house and producer/promoter of entertainment throughout
Australia and internationally. We have presented
Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet; Disney on Ice; FAME
- The Musical; and single pop artists in Europe
and Asia as well as presenting leading international
artists throughout Australia; and local Australian
artists in capital cities and regional areas.
have been your career highlights?
take on different meanings at different times.
We, i.e. Col Joye and the Joyboys, were asked
to take part in a Lee Gordon Big Show when Lee
Gordon himself called us at Festival Records.
The show was with Johnny Cash and Gene Vincent.
This was a big break since we had only just released
a single Bye Bye Baby. Minutes before going on
stage we received notice from Bob Rogers, who
was the leading DJ of the day, saying congratulations
Bye Bye Baby had gone to #1. This was a highlight.
Subsequent hit were all highlights.
b. Being awarded the O.A.M. for contribution to
the entertainment industry.
c. Being appointed for a 4 year term as a Commissioner
of the A.B.C.
d. Tours of Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel; Barbra
Streisand; John Denver.
e. Producing the Royal Bi-Centennial Concert from
the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1988.
was the biggest gig to date, and what sort of
revenue did it generate?
biggest gig in terms of gross takings for a concert
was the Barbra Streisand Tour. Four shows grossed
Three Tenors - 1 x show at the M.C.G. grossed
big gigs which cover multiple shows in all states
create a different type of 'big gig'. The biggest
theatrical event by way of sets, costumes, cast
etc. was Disney's Beauty and the Beast which ran
2 years in Melbourne and 15 months in Sydney and
- The Musical in capital cities for 12 months,
and has just completed its regional tour. FAME
- The Musical is still going after 2 years and
is about to open in South Africa.
Man From Snowy River- Arena Spectacular was perhaps
the biggest arena spectacular and was a huge success.
consider SHOUT and Man From Snow River to be important
events in Australian entertainment history.
We presented an outdoor spectacular AIDA at the
Sydney Football Stadium and the Melbourne Carlton
Football Stadium. That was big, with elephants,
tigers, snakes, 48 horses, 2000 people on stage.
We also promoted this at the Tokyo Dome doing
3 x shows and attracting 150,000 people.
think presenting Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce
Springsteen, and Long Way to the Top are all big
in some way or another.
events of yours were personal favorites and why?
Way to the Top; The Man From Snowy River - Arena
Spectacular; Barbra Streisand and SHOUT - The
Musical. Each was a huge challenge and I was personally
thrilled and satisfied with each of the productions.
As a performer my own favourite was John Denver
who was probably one of the nicest people I have
was the main reason you didn't get the WWF back
to Australia, after their first tour in the mid
the mid '80's we had Toyota as a sponsor. Without
Toyota we would have lost money. At that time
ticket prices were not high enough to make it
profitable. We also played all capital cities.
Now that it has become a Special Event with high
ticket prices it would probably work doing a short
Sydney/Melbourne only tour. However I think they
have developed a relationship with another promoter.
do you see as the main reasons for your consistent
success in the business?
don't know about consistent success. It is a volatile
business. However elements that are considered
before contracting artists include local and international
knowledge - research - artists exposure - CD sales
and many other aspects that have to be brought
into account. Being trusted by agents and managers
to deliver on all fronts is one of the utmost
importance in procuring the services of the artists.
is the biggest misconception about the entertainment
biggest misconception is that the promoter makes
all the money. Artists fees, advertising costs,
venue costs, travel costs, light and sound, accommodation,
ticket commissions etc. etc. are all paid first.
The promoter who has taken all of the risk, is
the last on the list to be paid. Another misconception
is that all artists are charismatic star-type
people. Today's artists often feel very insecure.
They are usually surrounded by accountants, lawyers,
managers etc. etc. Most decisions of a concert
tour are not directly made by the artist.
and why did you become a public company?
have always considered that a large entertainment
company embracing concerts, theatre, television
production even eventually films would be viable
in Australia with the Australian public holding
its shares. However it was not a good time to
launch a public company for many reasons. Besides
the corporate downturn for public companies there
was a drought, the war in Iraq, the bombing in
Bali, September 11 in New York and all of these
major events had a profound effect on theatre
and concert attendance's not only in Australia
but throughout the world.
should people see a show organised by Jacobsen
Entertainment, rather than another promoter?
don't think people buy tickets or are swayed one
way or another by "who presents the show".
It is a bit like an artist who is as good as his
or her last record or the sustainability of the
artists. Having said that, I believe that we have
presented the most varied shows be they pop, theatre,
spectaculars, ballet, locally created e.go. Snowy
River and SHOUT and we have always strived for
excellence in direction and production. As far
as international artists - the promoter has little
influence over the performance value of the artists.
has new and emerging technologies been good for
technologies for stage production enable much
better lighting and sound etc, which are essential
for today's concert or theatregoer.
public, with or without knowledge of technology
of the entertainment business, is receiving better
sound and visuals on DVD and Television than years
ago and live entertainment is keeping up with,
and in some instances, surpassing those technologies.
On one hand TV, CD's, DVD's and tapes are re-useable.
On the other hand a show is over once it is over
and cannot be 'replayed'. Therefore the patron,
who has paid cash, is entitled to the best performance
possible but the technology to provide this is
an ever increasing cost.
is the biggest misconception about you?
don't know. I have no idea of what concept people
have of me.
other important information should we know about
you and your company?
company began as a family business with family
values and aspirations. We have presented the
type of concerts and theatre we thought the public
would enjoy. No t only have we always loved this
business, I believe we have given good value to
note: An insightful, rare interview with one of
the greats of the Australian entertainment business.
Man Australia: Entertainment News
Man Australia: Personality website links
The Musical official website
Long Way to the Top
Rock Snaps - Col Joye
Mushroom Records: Col Joye
The Great Aussie Promoters, by Greg Tingle - 5th
Man Australia interviews:
Joye on stage
Jacobsen - Chairman of Jacobsen Venue Management
Profile credit of Jacobsen
is acknowledged as one of Australia's most prominent
entertainment entrepreneurs. He has produced,
promoted and presented the world's finest stage
spectaculars, concerts and major special events
in Australia and around the world, including special
projects for the staging of national and international
celebrations for the Australian Government, New
South Wales Government and Queensland Government.
Jacobsen Group is one of the largest operators
of public facilities in Australia. Kevin is on
the Board of Directors at the Sydney Entertainment
Centre, Sydney Capitol Theatre and Brisbane Convention
& Exhibition Centre.
has been awarded the medal of the Order of Australia
for services to the Performing Arts and Entertainment
industry. He has served as a Government appointed
Commissioner of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
(ABC) and was influential in establishing the
JJJ radio network, which is the biggest provider
of Australian and new music. He is an Australia
Day ambassador and is regularly asked to speak
with leading financial institutions on forecasting
entertainment trends. Recently he was appointed
to the working party for implementation of immigration
laws in Australia. He is an expert in the management
of venue facilities and consults for numerous