Chugg celebrates 50 years of music


It started as a novel way to make money in Launceston, but went on to include Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John, AC/DC and Coldplay.

This week marks 50 years since Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg booked his first event.

But instead of celebrating the milestone in his native Tasmania, he's in Austin, Texas making sure all goes to plan for Chugg Music's clients at the South By South West festival.

There his company is responsible for The Griswolds, Lime Cordiale, Sidney York, The Creases, Parade Of Lights and JP Hoe at TenOak.

It's a long way from the dance Chugg organised as a 15-year-old on March 14, 1964 for the Launceston Amateur Cycling Club.

As the cyclists' representative on the club's committee, it was Chugg's idea to hold a soiree.

So he booked the trades hall, and asked his mate's band The Dominos to perform. Chugg also looked after all the advertising, and sold tickets.

"We had about 250 people and made $80 for the cycling club, which in 1964 was a fair bit of money," the 65-year-old recalls.

Since that enterprising evening, Chugg's career has grown from Tasmanian dance bands to the likes of Coldplay, Radiohead, Eddie Vedder, Robbie Williams, AC/DC, Simon & Garfunkel and Elton John.

His hard work hasn't gone unnoticed.

This month Chugg was honoured with an exclusive London party at the International Live Music Conference and showered with tributes from Vedder, Alice Cooper, Robbie Williams, Neil Finn, Luke Steele, Dallas Green, Jason Mraz and Robert Plant.

Back home, "Chuggie" is considered a hero of the Australian music industry for his support and nurturing of local talent.

Chugg Music now boasts Sydney group Lime Cordiale and Brisbane band Sheppard on its long list of credits.

Not one to waste an opportunity, the promoter launched Chugg Music in the United States in February.

Down under, Chugg is looking after upcoming tours by Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, Biffy Clyro, Keith Urban, and the Doobie Brothers, as well as the Deni Blues & Roots Festival.