NZ promoter quits after 30 years due to restrictions


April 5, 2022

A New Zealand promoter has called it quits after 30 years in the business, blaming the government’s lack of support for the events and entertainment sector.

Phil Sprey, owner of Wellington’s Capital C Concerts, counts Elton John, Alice Cooper and Bon Jovi among his clients but says two years of Covid-19 restrictions has ruined the business he built over 30 years.

He says the “final straw” was the government’s decision yesterday to remain in the red traffic light setting, which limits indoor concerts to 200 people.

“Nobody’s giving clear, long-term answers – and on that basis you can’t do international deals,” Sprey told The Stuff.

“For domestically based promoters it’s becoming nigh on impossible at the moment because you can’t write a contract.”


Before the pandemic, Capital C specialised in major stadium-sized concerts. Since Covid-19 hit there had been no bookings to keep the business afloat, and no help from the government, he said.

“We haven’t had an artist in over two years, so I thought, let’s finally pull the plug.

“Instead of passing my business on to my eldest son, I had to make him redundant, unemployed and now can’t even leave him anything more than a memory,” Sprey said.

The long list of shows brought to Wellington by Capital C also includes KISS, Moody Blues, Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, Sol3mio, Little River Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Herman’s Hermits and The Searchers.

The government announced last month it was extending the Events Transition Support Payment scheme, which offers a 90% subsidy of unrecoverable costs to events with more than 5,000 people cancelled due to restrictions.

For Sprey, who couldn’t arrange international acts because of the pandemic, there were no bookings in place to claim on.

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