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Organisers of cancelled Oz fest lament $5m loss

Organisers of Australia’s HomeBrewed festival say the event’s cancellation has resulted in a negative economic impact of AUS$5 million (€3.2m).

Promoted by the team behind the city’s established Beer & BBQ Festival (BBF), artists due to perform at the festival included Bad//Dreems, Teenage Joans, Luke Million, Peter Combe and Horror My Friend.

HomeBrewed, which attracted 10,000 punters to its inaugural edition last year, was set for Adelaide Showground from 21-23 January, but has now been axed due to Covid restrictions – including rules banning “vertical consumption” (drinking while standing) dancing – in South Australia will remain in place until at least 27 January.

“The BBF team have been working hard on this event for several months and have been excited to present a Covid-safe festival by following the guidelines that were set to come into place on 28 December in line with the government of South Australia’s 90% vaccinated re-opening plan,” says event director Gareth Lewis in a social media post.

“This plan has obviously been quashed and instead has been replaced with heavy restrictions for South Australian events indefinitely, at least until 27 January, which includes a ban on ‘vertical consumption’ and dancing, amongst other things – even at fully-vaccinated events.”

The constantly changing goalposts and inconsistency of any real financial support, coupled with total lack of empathy or respect, has led to the destruction of businesses and livelihoods

Lewis notes that South Australia is the only state or territory in Australia whose restrictions would not allow the event to safely proceed.

“We simply can’t run HomeBrewed in a seated format, and a postponement into a time where we would be competing with the beasts that are Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe and WOMADelaide is simply not viable,” he adds.

Breaking down the losses, organisers told The Music that local businesses have missed out on $1,6m in revenue streams and put the overall economic impact lost at upwards of $5m.

“Our industry desperately wants to get back to work in a safe format but the constantly changing goalposts and inconsistency of any real financial support coupled with total lack of empathy or respect has led to the destruction of businesses and livelihoods, the degradation of mental health to the point of costing lives and will now take years if not decades to recover,” adds Lewis.

“We call on the government to engage with the events and hospitality industries, end the state of emergency, develop a proper events insurance scheme as other states have, give us a clear roadmap and stick to it so we can plan for the future.”


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