Laneway, Elton John cancelled: What you need to know

Cheree Kinnear on the widespread chaos in Auckland this morning and frustrated travelers at Auckland Airport. Video / Jed Bradley

Elton John’s private plane left Auckland International Airport bound for Hawaii after his second concert scheduled for tonight was cancelled.

Concertgoers last night were forced to evacuate Mt Smart Stadium amid flash flooding just half an hour before the performance.

Organizers have also canceled Monday’s St Jerome’s Laneway Festival following severe flooding that plunged Auckland into a state of emergency this weekend.

“Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented weather event in Auckland, we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel Laneway Festival,” they said in a statement this afternoon.


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“We were very excited to deliver this show to our largest audience in New Zealand, our team have been working around the clock to do everything they can to save the site, but the damage and disruption caused by the weather meant which is no longer safe to continue.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by this weather event. Stay safe, be kind. We will be back in 2024.”

Tickets will be refunded.

The map shows the flight path of Elton John's jet.  Photo/Supplied
The map shows the flight path of Elton John’s jet. Photo/Supplied

The Gardens Music Festival will go ahead as it moves inside the Spark Arena.


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Festival organizers, which include Fatboy Slim, Peking Duck, LP Giobbi and Set Mo, have confirmed that they are in the process of moving into the Spark Arena ahead of tomorrow’s event.

“We are in the process of working through the logistics of such a move and will make more information available as soon as possible.

“We are excited about delivering a full-scale production, proper rave in New Zealand’s main arena and wish to thank all the hard work from the event professionals behind the scenes to make it all happen. Thank you all for your patience and support. We will be in touch very soon.”

John Morales and MissB will not perform.

A statement from Frontier Touring in relation to the Elton John concert released this morning reads: “It is with a heavy heart that both Elton John concerts at Mt Smart Stadium must be cancelled.

“Weather conditions at the stadium dramatically worsened in the upper North Island last night, leaving promoters Chugg Entertainment, AEG Presents and Frontier Touring with no choice but to prevent Friday’s show from going ahead.

Auckland was subsequently declared to be in a state of emergency and we are now forced to cancel tonight’s show at Mt Smart Stadium. Promoters, emergency services and venue staff have deemed the event unsafe due to surrounding floodwaters and continued disruptions to roads and customer safety across the city.”

The statement urged ticket holders to check their inboxes, including junk and spam folders, for information from Ticketmaster on how to obtain refunds.

Flooding at the Elton John concert on January 27, 2023. The concert was canceled after heavy rain.  Photo / Tanya Young
Flooding at the Elton John concert on January 27, 2023. The concert was canceled after heavy rain. Photo / Tanya Young

Rocketman himself has shared a heartbreaking statement, writing: “Two years ago, I was devastated to have to reschedule my last few shows in New Zealand and vowed to keep my promise to return to say one last goodbye.

“This is a very difficult decision that is not taken lightly and I am so sorry to all my fans who purchased tickets. Canceling shows is always a last resort, but we must think about my team, the venue staff and the safety of the fans.


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“Suppliers will be in touch regarding refunds and in the meantime my thoughts are with everyone in Auckland during this extreme weather. Please stay safe. Much love, Elton.”

Rotorua man Jason McMillan told the Herald He was due to come to Auckland with his partner and children for tonight’s concert, but was waiting for updates before he started his journey.

“We are heartbroken, we are going to miss seeing a legend, but we will still feel for everyone in Auckland that they have had a horrible 24 hours. Mother nature wins again. It’s still just a concert at the end of the day,” she said.

It comes after fans urged the music legend to postpone his shows as rain continues to lash the city.

“We’d love to see you, but this weather is crazy. Postpone for the safety of Aucklanders,” one person wrote.

“Someone please tell me they canceled Elton John’s second concert tonight,” another commented.


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“The city is a mess, state of emergency, more rain is coming and you want to send 40 thousand people to one place and divert emergency services to cover a concert? Just no. CANCEL IT.”

It is the second time the Auckland stop of his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road farewell tour has been cancelled.

Three years ago at Mt Smart, he was forced to stop playing due to being diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

He was heartbroken as he told fans, “I don’t have much left… I’ve completely lost my voice. I have to go home. Very sorry.”

A few weeks later, Covid-19 hit and New Zealand, along with much of the rest of the world, went into lockdown.

Elton’s New Zealand shows have been rescheduled as the world awaits the return of international music acts, but it’s a disappointing weekend for fans who have been waiting for the chance to see him perform one last time.


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Festival One and One Love Festival have also been cancelled.

“From the flooding of the site, to high winds, artists stuck in Auckland, forecast thunderstorms and heavy rain tomorrow too, we are unable to deliver One Love 2023 safely and logistically,” organizers said in a statement.

Ticket holders will get a full refund.

NZ Cricket has announced that tomorrow’s Hallyburton Johnston Shield match between Auckland Hearts and Wellington Blaze, scheduled to take place at Colin Maiden Park, will not take place.

“The points of this match will be shared.”

Flooding at Auckland Domain.  Photo / Brett Phibbs
Flooding at Auckland Domain. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It is not yet clear if St Jerome’s Laneway Festival will take place on Monday 30th January.


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A statement from the organizers shared this afternoon read: “Safety is Laneway Festival’s number one priority. With the major weather event Auckland is currently experiencing, our teams are working closely with local authorities and will provide updates as soon as possible.”

And the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira, is closed today as the Auckland domain is flooded.

A museum spokesperson said: “Our facilities team is closely monitoring the building and, after an initial assessment, has reported no damage or flooding. The team will continue to closely monitor the building during this weather event.”

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is also closed due to flooding, according to its website, with a goal of reopening tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

Auckland Zoo is closed today and tomorrow due to flooding, amid reports that staff were called to work early this morning for cleaning, and items such as industrial-sized refrigerators were washed away.


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