Fans say let it be in Newcastle as McCartney highlights benefits of major events

27 Oct 2023

Newcastle's reputation as a major events destination took centre stage this week as almost 30,000 fans packed McDonald Jones Stadium to watch Paul McCartney's historic first concert outside an Australian capital city.

The show, which was secured as part of City of Newcastle's Major Events Partnership with Venues NSW, has injected an estimated $9 million into the local economy.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the capacity crowd and booked out accommodation across the city were testament to the benefits of CN's strategic investment into major events.

"Events deliver both an immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and economy," Cr Nelmes said.

"When Elton John toured here earlier this year, his concerts were watched by almost 50,000 music fans, with more than 75 per cent of people coming from outside of Newcastle and Newcastle's accommodation occupancy rates almost double compared to the same period the year prior.

"Accommodation providers were similarly inundated with bookings to coincide with Paul McCartney's concert, reaffirming the essential role major events play in boosting tourism, as well as encouraging repeat visitation in the future."

The former Beatle and Wings frontman also shone a spotlight on the tourism potential of events, asking the crowd during his show who had travelled from outside of Newcastle and surrounding areas. The cheer from visitors from beyond was by far the most rapturous within the stadium.

"Well, on behalf of the tourist board we welcome you," McCartney said.

A report to next Tuesday's Council meeting highlights CN's commitment to attracting and hosting major events in line with its Destination Management Plan 2021-2025. The report also notes the key role the Newcastle 500 played in attracting significantly more major events, including those with international reach, to the city.

"The Newcastle 500 was the first major, multi-day, international event hosted by Newcastle and has led to the city cementing its reputation as a premier tourism and major events destination," Cr Nelmes said.

"Since the inaugural Newcastle 500 in 2017, Newcastle has played host to a suite of significant events including Van Gogh Alive, the AFC Asian Cup, Oceania Super Moto, Elton John and Paul McCartney concerts and a number of international women's football matches including the record-breaking Matildas clash with Brazil. Together with the Supercars events, these have been attended by almost one million people.

"City of Newcastle is now regularly approached by event promoters about potential major and major events, and we look forward to securing new and exciting events for our community and as a key economic and tourism driver for the region."