It's a long way to the top if you want to rock with the best

Published 12:39pm 8 March 2018

It's a long way to the top if you want to rock with the best
Words by Kylie Knight

When the likes of Prince and the Beach Boys performed at the Eatons Hill and Sandstone Point hotels safe to say industry insiders and outsiders are surprised.

The venues in those days were new, or fairly fresh, and untested.

That's definitely no longer the case with a constant stream of major names performing at venues like Bryan Adams and Mariah Carey.

Rob Comiskey, director of the Comiskey Group, says attracting this calibre of star power was a priority from the very beginning with the venues designed to host major gigs.

“We invested millions into that side of it before we had our first concert,” he recalls.

Throughout the early years, however, it was difficult to persuade big names to take a chance at a new venue and area. And if it didn't work then word would spread pretty quickly. Rob says that they made a deliberate decision to start and grow small from there.

“We were offered some big acts early on but wanted to make sure we could do it well,” he recalls.

“I think the biggest thing is confidence. No-one wants to test a location out or take a risk. There’s enough risk in the industry as it is.”

Rob says they had to prove themselves and put their “money where their mouths were”. They did this by buying shows and entering into partnerships.

People are seeing the places work now. The Eatons Hill Hotel is seven years down the track, and the Sandstone Point Hotel is more than two years down the track.

He says people say they've come so far but that's just the start. And the spin-off benefits for the region come in the shape of tens of thousands of visitors looking to stay and eat somewhere every year.

“There’s also been massive growth in property prices (at Eatons Hill and Sandstone Point). They’ve become more desirable areas to live. I’m hoping we’re part of that,” Rob says.

The venues are very different, with the Eatons Hill Hotel providing parking, France's latest audio equipment, as well as a vibe and intimate experience for performers and fans.

Sandstone Point Hotel is an outdoor venue with “200 degree views of the water”.

Both have won awards for Best Hotel in Queensland, Best Hotel in Australia and Best Entertainment Venue in Queensland.

Rob says he’s glad he didn’t listen to those who said ‘don’t do it, it won’t work’.

Believe in yourself and surround yourself with great people,” he says.

Eatons Hill Hotel: 646 South Pine Rd

Sandstone Point Hotel: 1800 Bribie Island Rd

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