Splendour in the Grass cancelled due to “unexpected events”

Splendour in the Grass cancelled due to “unexpected events”
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Music festival Splendour in the Grass has been cancelled, event organisers have confirmed.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, organisers confirmed that the three-day festival, set to be held in the North Byron Parklands in July, would not go ahead due to “unexpected events”.

The news comes just two weeks after the popular Aussie festival released its 2024 lineup, which includes Kylie Minogue, G-Flip, Future, Tash Sultana and more.

Secret Sounds chief executives Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco said, “We’re heartbroken to be missing a year especially after more than two decades in operation.”

“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.”

Minister for Music and Nightime Economy John Graham said the cancellation of Splendour in the Grass was “devastating news”, especially in light of government efforts to save it.

“The festival industry is under extreme pressure, and I am deeply worried about the health of the festival scene here in NSW,” said Mr Graham.

“The NSW Government offered financial support to help the event proceed this year. We will continue to work with them and hope to see them return next year.”

“This needs a national approach”

The popular Byron-based festival is only the latest in a series of music festivals to be cancelled.

Regional festival Groovin in the Moo was cancelled in February due to insufficient ticket sales, igniting calls for reform.

Managing Director of the Australian Festival Association Mitch Wilson said the industry is currently facing a crisis.

“The flow-on effects will be felt across the local communities, suppliers and contractors that sustain our festivals and rely on them to support their livelihoods,” he said.

“Some festivals have seen strong ticket sales this summer, but with costs up 30-40% across the board and affordable insurance difficult to obtain, margins are tight. Festival organisers haven’t raised ticket prices to offset or meet these increases due to cost-of-living challenges being faced by everyone.”

“We need government at the table to help us through this period and assist in stabilising our industry to sustainable levels. This needs a national approach.”

Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for Music and Night-time economy, previously accused NSW Police of “price gouging” music festivals and potentially ruining their viability.

A “serious crisis” for live music

Dr Sam Whiting, Lecturer of Creative Industries at the University of South Australia, said that not even Australia’s queen of pop Kylie Minogue, who was set to perform in this year’s line-up, could save the festival sector from it’s ongoing woes.

“The wages, housing and cost-of-living crises are hitting young people hardest, so it is unsurprising that they are cutting back on expenses such as festival tickets,” he said.

And without high demand for tickets from the outset, promoters are less willing to shoulder the risk of running events below capacity, he continued.

“Additionally, streaming and other changes to music consumption habits have changed the way young people engage with music.”

“A multi-stage, multi-genre festival is not as appealing as an immersive experience focussed on one genre or a closely curated group of acts.”

The ‘something-for-everyone’ models are losing their popularity, he added.

Apart from changing audience behaviours, events and festivals have been impacted by increasingly severe weather events, huge costs associated with international acts, skyrocketing public liability insurance, and a depreciating Australian dollar that “can’t compete with American and European markets.”

These factors are all contributing to “a serious crisis not only for music festivals, but for the live music sector at large,” said Dr Whiting.

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