The Money Maker Myth: Aussie Music Festivals Feel The Pressure.

I have been to a lot of concerts and festivals while growing up. It is what I did. Often there were a couple of big ones which you would go to during the year and there was enough time in between each to save up and go to the ones you wanted to. A far cry from today where there is a feeling of over saturation in a market where promoters are struggling to keep up with demand and competition from each other.

Too often I have heard friends and acquaintances lament the cost of ticket prices these days to such events eg. The Big Day Out. If they are old enough they usually compare the good ol’ days of how much they used to pay and chastise the promoters for today’s’ prices. I do point out that if we take this years’ announcement for the headline acts for next years’ BDO which is seeing the likes of Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam and Blur all on the same bill, with the whole event running for roughly 12 hours and with over 30 acts performing on the day, I would have to personally disagree that $185 is too expensive. I have paid around that amount to see one act. Radiohead was $150. Arguably one of the best gigs I have been to, but where do we draw the line at what is seen to be an appropriate price for such events? And ultimately it can come down to what the individual is willing to pay.

The reality is these events cost a lot to put on and more often than not they are not huge money making ventures.

Already we have seen the cancellation of the Harvest festival this year with its’ promoter AJ Maddah citing early on that the festival was struggling with ticket sales due to the huge line up for next years’ BDO. Punters simply do not have the means to go to everything. Additionally it has surfaced he may have brought shares in the BDO which is causing some rumours to now circulate.

Ken West the promoter of Big Day Out recently spoke to Pedestrian TV about what it takes to run this event, how they choose who will play, how they secure these acts and the acknowledgment that these days promoters are not just up against each other within Australia but are now competing with overseas festivals such as Coachella and Glastonbury.


  1. I have to say I think the festival line ups have gone through a Renaissance in the last year or two. Less Parklife, more Laneway and OutsideIn. Kudos to the organizers of these events for pushing the envelope musically. Good article!

  2. Good article with some nice points raised.

    The authors here really should run the articles by a proofreader though. Some of the grammar and pronunciation is poor and really detracts from the otherwise good articles, at least for me.

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