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The Thriving Australian Festival Sector in 2021.

Andy Robertson

Looking on with some jealousy music festivals in Australia are already taking place with close to normal visitor numbers. Whilst the reast of the world reels in coronavirus related lockdowns the Australian music festival industry has bounced back from a catastrophic 2020 to make its future look secure. 

A quick search online reveals that Australia had 345 festivals of all types at the beginning of 2020 and the current status shows that 165 (48%) have confirmed dates for 2021 and 159 (46%) are yet to confirm dates. That leaves 21 (6%) of festivals that have completely cancelled 2021. Considering that 2020 was a terrible year for the entire live events industry it is encouraging that so many (48%) have already confirmed firm dates for 2021 (with 17 festivals that have already taken place as at 4th February) and hopefully those that are yet to confirm dates will do so in due course. Of the 21 festivals cancelled for 2021 it is a sad fact that some of those will not survive and will likely disappear forever.

There has been a steady increase in the number of festivals taking place in Australia over the last few decades thanks primarily to the availability of land nationwide. Add into this that due to the huge size of the country, Australia has several different climate zones enabling a summer style festival to take place year-round depending on the territory. Despite a population of just 26m there is an enthusiastic crowd attracted to festivals and Australians love their outdoor activities. Some of the most well-known and established festivals include the following:  

Already taken place in 2021: 

  • Beyond the valley January - attendance circa 16k
  • Mona Foma January - attendance circa 50k
  • Lost Paradise January – attendance circa 30k

Coming up: 

  • Pitch Music Festival March expecting up to 10k
  • Groovin the Moo in April and May expecting up to 20k
  • Byron Bay BluesFest in April expecting 10k 
  • Big Pineapple in May with up to 15k
  • Splendour in the Grass for July is Australia's largest festival expecting 42k
  • Strawberry Fields takes place in October with 10k expected 

These festivals have had to become very much homegrown affairs with no international visitors allowed to enter Australia currently. The artist line ups have also been restricted to Australian performers making them very parochial events. The entry requirements for international visitors may be eased later in 2021 but expect the authorities to enforce strict entry requirements including evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

If the survival rate of Australian festivals and general rebound can be reflected in the UK and Europe when restrictions are lifted in the summer of 2021 then the festival sector should make a good recovery going into 2022.

For any music festival organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing.

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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