Winery numbers to eclipse Arena

Sandalford Wines chief executive Grant Brinklow wants to attract world-class acts.
Sandalford Wines chief executive Grant Brinklow wants to attract world-class acts.

But Sandalford Wines was given a green light to boost its capacity to 16,000 patrons at last Wednesday’s City of Swan council meeting, effectively opening the door for the Caversham venue to compete seat for seat with Perth Arena’s 15,500 capacity.

Sandalford’s concert venue started with a 4500 capacity about 15 years ago and, over the years, that was incrementally increased to 12,000 as the winery gigs gained popularity.

But since the Perth Arena opened nearly two years ago, the venue has struggled to attract top acts, filling only two of its allotted 10 concerts last year.

Sandalford Wines chief executive Grant Brinklow said concert promoters were regularly opting against Sandalford because of its smaller capacity.

‘We want to be able to attract the Elton Johns, Fleetwood Macs and Rolling Stones of the music world; artists and audiences love the venue but we just needed the capacity,’ he said.

‘I would have thought with a capacity of 16,000, we would have presented a compelling case to host Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones; these are the calibre of acts we will now be aiming for.’

It is unlikely Sandalford will host a 16,000-person show before December but Mr Brinklow said the signing of two high-profile artists had hinged on the decision made at the meeting.

The winery is also set to have an additional entry point from which people will enter.

While the news will be met with clinking champagne flutes at Sandalford Wines, not everyone is happy. Mickele Amonini, owner of Ambrook winery, an adjoining property, said the roads were unlit, unsafe and unmarked. He said he was also regularly having to deal with issues of dust, litter, trespassers and antisocial behaviour when the concerts were on.