Last week we said a final goodbye to one of Australia’s greatest music icons of all time, Michael Gudinski. Whether you know the name or not, almost every Australian has been touched by Michael and his work.

Michael began his career as a promoter of local dances, and by the early ‘70s he formed Mushroom Records. Through this he promoted up-and-coming Australian bands, before becoming one of the country’s biggest labels, releasing some of the most acclaimed records of all time. Kylie Minogue, Amy Shark, Jimmy Barnes, and Tina Arena…the list is endless.

In 1979, Gudinski founded the Frontier Touring Company, one of the largest promoters in Australia and New Zealand. And he changed the live music scene forever.

Since 2012 the team at RAC Arena have been welcoming Frontier’s acts to our stages. From Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith and Imagine Dragons to The Rolling Stones, Celine Dion, TOOL and Rod Stewart.

“I’ve toured the world for the last 50 years and never met a better promoter,” said Bruce Springsteen, who worked with Michael over both his 2014 and 2017 tours.

“When you thought of Australia, you thought of Michael.”

Even during live entertainment’s toughest year, Gudinski led Aussies in supporting the music scene, creating the State of Music television program, Sounds Better Together concert series and Music From The Home Front special during 2020’s COVID-19 lock downs.

A state memorial held in his hometown of Melbourne honoured the entrepreneur and businessman, who gave so much to the music industry.

Taylor Swift, Billy Joel and Elton John were among a mass of musicians to lead tributes at the state memorial, while Ed Sheeran was granted an exemption to fly into Australia to perform, after the “tornado of joy” led Sheeran’s tour in 2015.

RAC Arena’s General Manager was amongst the many members of the live entertainment industry who attended the memorial to pay his respects, flying to Melbourne to bid a final farewell to the music legend.

“Gudinski was a man like no other. A true music icon who brought so much joy to the people of Australia,” said RAC Arena GM Michael Scott.

“The passing of Michael Gudinski is the most significant loss in the history of the Australian live and recorded music industry.  He was the industry’s most influential figure, a true force of nature and simply quite irreplaceable” said Tim Worton, ASM Global Group Director of Arenas.

Whether you’ve been in the mosh pit rocking out to Green Day in 2017, Shawn Mendes in 2018 or Arctic Monkeys in 2019, we all have Michael to thank for bringing live music to our state. His legacy will last a lifetime.