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Australian fests rebound to pre-pandemic levels

Major events such as Laneway, Falls, Tamworth Country Music Festival and Woodford Folk have defied the odds to pull in bumper crowds

By James Hanley on 10 Feb 2023

Falls Festival, Lorne

Falls Festival


Australia’s summer festivals have defied expectations by reporting attendance figures on a par with pre-Covid levels.

Despite many promoters expressing fears that the economic climate – as well as the ongoing effects of flooding in several states – would result in softer ticket sales, major events such as Laneway, Falls, Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) and Woodford Folk pulled in bumper crowds.

According to The Music Network, Laneway’s Brisbane (4 February) and Sydney (5 February) editions attracted a combined 46,000 punters to see acts such as Haim, Phoebe Bridgers, Finneas, Fontaines DC and Fred Again. The travelling festival landed in Adelaide today, with additional legs still to come in Melbourne and Perth this weekend. A 30 January stop in Auckland, New Zealand was cancelled due to “biblical” flooding.

“It was awesome to see new festival goers attending for the first time ever and our regular fans returning to support us and the incredible 2023 line-up,” say Laneway co-founders Danny Rogers and Jerome Borazio.

Secret Sounds’ first Falls Festival in three years drew around 20,000 people to each of its Melbourne, Byron Bay and Fremantle editions with a line-up headed by Arctic Monkeys and Lil Nas X, while TCMF averaged 30,000 fans a day over 10 days.

“Huge thanks to our Falls community for their ongoing support and love for the festival”

“Huge thanks to our Falls community for their ongoing support and love for the festival, as well as to everyone that has helped make the return of Falls 2022/2023 such a success,” say festival producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco.

Elsewhere, Woodford Folk Festival enticed an estimated 120,000 festival-goers over six days (20,000 a day), Sydney’s Field Day recorded a 27,000 sellout at The Domain, and Victoria’s Meredith Music aggregated 37,500 over three days (12,500 a day).

In less positive news, Queensland’s Jungle Love Festival has cancelled its 2023 edition, which was scheduled for September, citing financial concerns.

“The ongoing inflation is driving supplier costs up to amounts that aren’t financially feasible for us,” says a social media post by organisers. “And with the cost of living going up, we understand many people are struggling to justify the expense of a multi-day festival. We’re just not seeing the ticket sales we need to be assured that we can pay for the expense of creating a mini-city for three days.

“Having had many setbacks since 2020 that could have defeated us, we’ve decided to lay low until better economic times rather than try to fight this uphill battle. We’ll be back when we have the confidence that we can make it a success and make the balance sheet work. As a small independent not-for-profit event, our margins are thin, and we can not afford the risk of operating at another loss.”

 


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