Elton ‘boldly’ cements Coffs as an events destination
IT was the grand farewell the people of Coffs Harbour had not thought they would ever have the privilege to witness on home soil. But it happened, and there's no doubt it was a resounding success.
Around 28,000 Elton John fans poured into the C.ex Coffs International Stadium across two nights to watch the legendary English singer's incredible performances as part of the final tour of his career, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
With his powerful piano and vocals, and clad in his iconic glitter and colour, there was little hint that the 72-year-old had been struck down with a case of pneumonia only a week earlier.
A true showman, John powered through a setlist of all the classics and opened up each concert with Bennie and the Jets, the performance completed with an incredibly dedicated and talented band, as well as immersive visuals.
And while the glam-rocker undoubtedly delivered, the hard work of event organisers could not be ignored.
The Advocate has received an incredible amount of messages of praise for the organisers.
Daniel Heather, Coffs Harbour City Council Section Leader Stadium and Major Events, was rapt with the positive response.
"It's been great to see so much positivity especially on social media, a place where it can be so easy to be negative," he said.
"Everything went seamlessly, from the bus transport to the food and bars. There's such a big team who worked on making these concerts happen, so it's been really rewarding.
"I don't mean to sound surprised but there was so many moving parts in terms of logistics in delivering these concerts. It was one of the largest level of logistics involved in running an event in Coffs."
He added a crowd of around 12,000 watched the show on Tuesday night, and over 16,000 on Wednesday night.
"It was a really fun loving crowd, the amount of people that just had a smile on their face was awesome to see."
On Wednesday night, the bus system that had been organised specifically for the concerts saw the 16,000 patrons clear the venue within just 90 minutes after the show ended.
Mr Heather said he believed the concerts have now put Coffs on the map as a major events destination into the future.
"It's further demonstrated Coffs' ability to host major events," he said, "we've been building a reputation for a number of years but I think this has now loudly and boldly shown Coffs as very capable events destination."
The council had been first approached by John's tour promoter Chugg Entertainment to potentially host a concert early last year.
Mr Heather said the promoters had their eyes on Coffs after they'd been given the opportunity to put on a few more shows on the Australian leg of the tour.
"The one thing we as a council and as the Coffs region promised Chugg was that we wouldn't just provide a venue, but a city that would love to host and embrace it. Sitting here a day after the concerts, I think we under-promised and over-delivered."
And while he hasn't heard from John on what he thought of his Coffs' concerts, there's whispers he was 'excited' by how his performance went.
"It's hard to get a word out of Elton, no one on the ground talked directly to him but I did hear a whisper that he thought he had a great show.
"People sitting quite front and centre said he was just having fun, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy performing."
Mr Heather thanked the city of Coffs Harbour for supporting and attending the event, as well as the local services and businesses who all contributed.