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Roaring into Clare Cup

Whether he’s catering to jockeys at the Clare Valley Racing Club or managing rockstars at the Adelaide 500 – Peter Darwin’s approach is the same.

“It’s very similar. To me an event is an event is an event. In the horse racing world, I’m catering to jockeys and patrons and stewards. And in the rock’n’roll world I’m catering to artist and promotors and a bunch of rev heads for the weekend. It’s not that different, just a different sort of track,” Peter laughed.

The legendary tour manager who is in the AMC South Australian Hall of Fame, is also the Secretary and Events Manager at the Clare Valley Racing Club. He joined the racing club back in 2021 when the events industry came to a stand-still due to covid.  

Peter has so far managed both roles flawlessly, but there were a few nervous moments when tentative dates were put out for the Clare Cup, and it overlapped with this year’s Adelaide 500 event.

“I probably should thank Racing SA because when I was working as secretary of Clare they sent out the racing dates, and I had a quick look through and went oh OK they’ve scheduled our Cup day on the 26th of November that’s a problem, so I actually grovelled a fair bit to Racing SA, and after a bit of reviewing they shifted our Cup meeting to the 3rd of December,” said Peter.

“So we are trying to get most of my stuff done for the Cup now – prior. So for a couple of weeks I’ll be a little bit distracted and hoping that I’ve put everything into place, and then run from the Supercars up to Clare on the Tuesday,” he said.

Robbie Williams is the headline act at this year’s car race, and it’s the second time that Peter has worked with the English superstar who’s in the midst of a world tour.

Peter’s role with the Adelaide 500 is to oversee and manage the building of the concert stage, the infrastructure needed for the concert, organising the artists, PA, lighting, and running of the performances within the supercars schedule.   

Over the journey he’s hosted Kiss, Motley Crew, Keith Urban, Santana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Killers at the Adelaide 500 alone, and that’s not including the countless acts such as Guns ‘n’ Roses and The Rolling Stones he’s managed when they’ve toured Australia.

“When you’re dealing with an international artist that starts roughly three to four months out. It always depends a bit on how well organised each individual band is. Sometimes they’re coming in for a one-off, sometimes they’re on tour on the road.

“Robbie is in the middle of a world tour now so they’ve been getting us information quite early. But there’s just a lot of toing and froing you know, trying to work out things like - OK they’re normally having 15 to 16 dressing rooms overseas on their own show.

“And they’re coming to us which is part of like a festival-type event, so we’ve got to work out all the dressing room requirements.

“Then there’s a whole lot of security issues, because we’re a big open drinking event as opposed to some of the other gigs they do. Then there’s all the play times.

“We’re supplying most of Robbie’s production because their tour is in Geelong the night before, and then goes to Perth, so there’s no time to bring the touring production into Adelaide get it up, get it out, and send it to Perth, so we’ve got to source that through a range of contractors here.

“So it can be really quick, and very pressured in a few weeks, or it can be spread over months. And generally you have zoom meetings at 1am/2am in the morning because you’re talking to people on overseas time.

“So it’s a bit of fun on occasion, and a fair bit of stress on other occasions,” he said.

The Clare Valley Cup will be run on Sunday, December 3.

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