A behind the scenes look at booking Fred Again..

We had a chat with our members and good friends at the Sydney Opera House about what it was like being the venue that kicked off Fred Again’s.. huge Australian tour. 

According to Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Music Ben Marshall this event had it all, from fans calling the box office impersonating Fred’s management to hundreds of thousands of people waiting in line for tickets, this gig was a special one!


Mick Gibb (MG), CEO NTIA: It started with an instagram post, but I think a lot of people would love to know how Fred Again.. wound up playing in Australia’s most iconic landmark?

Ben Marshall (BM), Head of Contemporary Music Sydney Opera House: It’s a whirlwind that’s for sure. Thanks to our longstanding relationship with the team from Handsome Tours, part of TEG, we were approached first. Mark Dodds from Handsome Tours calls me asking if we had “a small room for a secret act”. The moment he said “small room” and “secret act” my gut just knew it had to be Fred Again.. 

MG: So what happened next? How do you book an artist in secrecy?

BM: It was a bit of a puzzle at first. Fred and his team wanted a very small, intimate spot, but all our spots were booked up. The only space we had available was the Concert Hall, but only after 5 PM as the Sydney Symphony were rehearsing in there. This meant we’d only have a few hours to get it set up, sound check done and everything ready to go for one of the biggest names in EDM right now. It was a unique but exciting challenge to plan for an arena-size act in such short notice. What is amazing about Fred Again.. is his deep, deep understanding of sound and music. He was so excited to play the Sydney Opera House and during sound check became so excited about the unique acoustics and how it would work with his set. 

MG: Fred Again.. is known for a last minute show. Just how last-minute was this gig?

BM: Not as last minute as some of his shows, but it was certainly short enough to make it exciting. We had a week of this wild, exhilarating experience getting ready for this show.  feeling, knowing you’re part of something so spontaneous with an artist like Fred, who’s all about keeping things fresh and interesting. It was a testament to his desire to mix up the fame game with genuine passion for his roots and music.

MG: Keeping it a secret must have been tough.

BM: Oh, for sure. Handsome Tours have obviously been through this before so they provided a pretty detailed brief which included secret code words and a real containment strategy to stop news spreading. In fact, the whole secrecy process was put to the test when our Box Office received a call from someone at Handsome Tours asking to speak to the Fred Again.. production manager. Our Box Office team played dumb but obviously passed it on to me. I called Handsome Tours to let them know loose lips were risking the secret show. I was met with a laugh and told, “nope that wasn’t us, that’s his fans.” 

As it turned out, a fan had seen Fred’s instagram post of vegemite and decided to call around venues pretending to be from Handsome Tours asking to speak with production teams. When our Comms team went and checked the Discord forums there was even someone owning up to calling our box office and declaring their call was a dead end!

The lengths people went to try and find out were part of the fun, really.

MG: How crazy was the demand for tickets?

BM: The moment we opened up sales, it was like the floodgates broke. Fred Again.. broke records and became the highest demand for an on sale show we have ever had. When we closed online sales we still had 135,000 people in the queue and more joining after that. It felt like the whole city was buzzing with this feverish excitement, almost like we were part of this massive crescendo of energy.

MG: What impact did Fred Again’s show have on your venue?

BM: To see the Opera House become a beacon for EDM was something special. It wasn’t just about one night; it was about opening our doors wider, showing that this iconic place is for everyone, for every kind of beat and rhythm. Fred’s gig was like a reminder and a celebration of that. Plus, the buzz it created around our programming and the Vivid LIVE launch was absolutely electrifying. Sales for our Vivid LIVE line up have been extraordinarily strong.

NOTE – If you want to catch the astounding Vivid LIVE lineup you can check it out here.