Is The Australian Music Industry In Trouble? Inquiry Launched Following Splendour Cancellation

Is The Australian Music Industry In Trouble? Inquiry Launched Following Splendour Cancellation

Earlier this week, an inquiry was launched into the challenges and opportunities currently facing the Australian live music industry in the wake of multiple festival cancellations.

On 25 March 2024, the Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Tony Burke MP, asked the Committee on Communications and the Arts to inquire into and report on the challenges within the Australian live music industry.

After yesterday’s cancellation of the Byron Bay-based music festival Splendour in the Grass and the previous cancellations of the Falls Festival, Dark Mofo, Coastal Jam, Goomfest, ValleyWays, and Groovin’ The Moo, the Australian live music industry is clearly suffering.

Catherine Strong, an RMIT sociologist, told that festivals are on a much more dangerous edge than they have been previously. “If people are struggling to pay rent and struggling to buy food, they’re not going to be spending hundreds of dollars on a ticket to a festival or a concert, unfortunately,” she said.

“And of course, all of those things are impacting the people putting on the festivals as well – everybody from artists who are touring through to those pulling together all the infrastructure, and even vendors on the day selling food and drinks”.

Splendour organisers yesterday confirmed that the reason behind the cancelled festival was “unexpected events” and that the team was working to bring the festival back next year.

“We’re heartbroken to be missing a year, especially after more than two decades in operation,” Secret Sounds’ Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco said in a statement. “This festival has always been a huge community effort, and we’d like to thank everyone for their support and overall faith. We hope to be back in the future”.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young fronted Parliament yesterday, saying that the news of the event cancellation paints a grim picture of the future of the live music industry in Australia.

“Arts and music is such an important part of what makes life great. It also is an important part of our economy,” she said. “Thousands of people, because of today’s decision to cancel Splendour in the Grass, will be out of work. Thousands of people will be scratching around thinking how they’re going to pay their bills”.

Submissions for the inquiry have been requested by Tuesday, 30 April 2024.

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