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Soundcheck: Insights into Australia’s music festival sector

Apr 09, 2024
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Overview

Australia is host to a wide range of music festivals which play an important role in Australia’s live music sector and provide positive benefits to our society and our economy.  

In recent years, however, music festival organisers have been faced with unprecedented challenges due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events, regulatory changes and rising operational costs. Greater knowledge is needed to understand these challenges and support the ongoing sustainability of the Australian music festival industry.  

Soundcheck: Insights into Australia’s music festival sector provides a comprehensive overview of the scope and scale of the Australian music festival industry, as well as insights into the social, cultural and economic impacts of music festivals and the challenges that festival organisers currently face.  

The first of its kind, Soundcheck provides a benchmark for measuring and understanding Australia’s music festival industry – now and into the future. The research seeks to support the work of the Australian Festival Association (AFA), its member organisations and others involved in the music festival sector.

 

Watch our online information session

Click here to hear about the key findings of the research and the significance of this work for the Australian music festival industry.

 

 


 

Key Findings

  • 535 music festivals were presented across Australia in the 2022–23 financial year, with Victoria and New South Wales presenting the highest number of festivals – 149 each. That is almost 1.5 music festivals for every day of the year. 
  • Australian music festivals represent a diverse range of music genres. Almost one in four music festivals in Australia is an electronic music festival (23% of festivals).  Other popular genres are rock (21%), country (19%) and indie (17%).  
  • Ticket sales in 2022–23 indicate the industry is recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2022–23 financial year, 9,506 tickets per festival were sold on average, up from 8,116 tickets in 2018–19. Despite an increase in ticket sales in 2022–23, data suggests that patterns of later ticket buying are continuing; however there has been a slight shift back towards advance purchasing 
  • 18–24-year-olds are purchasing tickets at lower rates than before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018–19, before the COVID-19 pandemic, young Australians aged 18–24 were the primary consumer group for music festivals. However in 2022–23, those in their mid-to-late 20s were purchasing tickets at greater rates. 
  • The most significant barrier to running a music festival is rising operational costs (47% of festivals say this has a severe or major impact on their festival), followed by lack of funding and grants available (39% of festivals say this has a severe or major impact on their festival). Other significant barriers which have a severe or major impact on festivals include insurance (31%) and extreme weather events (22%). 
  • Festival organisers are also challenged by complex and inconsistent regulatory requirements across states and territories. The two key regulatory barriers for festival organisers are navigating planning and/or local government/council requirements and navigating police and/or security requirements (both 27% of festivals). 

Music Festival Dashboard

The dashboard below is an interactive tool designed to be used in conjunction with the Soundcheck report. It provides data on the location and characteristics of music festivals held in Australia during the 2022-23 financial year.

Please note that the data below is a static snapshot of festivals held between July 2022 and June 2023. Some festivals in this dataset may no longer be in operation and other new festivals may have started since the data was collated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it is possible that omissions may be present.

Note: This dashboard was designed as a static snapshot of data as presented in the Soundcheck report. Following the publication of Soundcheck, three additional music festivals were identified and have been added to the dashboard. As a result, numbers and percentages presented in the dashboard may differ slightly from the figures published in Soundcheck. No further updates are planned.