Australian Music Festivals: How Organisation Affects Attendance
Australia is known worldwide as a music mecca, both as a pioneer creating hits and a platform for emerging artists. Festivals play a large role in the permeation of new music in Australia, serving as a venue for people to come together and celebrate sound.
These festivals take massive planning and preparation. As the festival culture evolves, audiences set certain expectations. When festivals meet or exceed what’s expected, it’s a win-win situation both for participants and organisers; several small music events have gained momentum around Australia as a result. However, when expectations aren’t met, events can lose their audiences, as we saw with the cancellation of the Pyramid Rock Festival in 2013. So we ask, when it comes to Australia’s music festivals, what kind of role does organisation plays in their success?
Quantity Doesn’t Always Equal Quality
Australian festivals that have been touring for dozens of years still face the same struggles as emerging events. With all of the options available, attendees are wising up to what they are really paying for. Their personal experience matters.
Size doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, as organisers of the well-known Big Day Out (BDO) have come to realise. Popularity of BDO has steady declined due to poor planning and negative guest experience as expressed through bad reviews. The event seems to be losing more money than it gains, with participants reeling from higher ticket prices and less than stellar performances. The future of BDO seems uncertain, as the festival has become less sustainable with each passing year. It is estimated that in 2014 alone the festival lost between $8 and $15 million.
On the flip side, the Falls Festival, a camping event spread out over several days with locations in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, books bands from all over the world and continues to gain a following. Originator Simon Daly thought up the idea whilst sitting around a campfire with friends in 1993. With no prior experience or plan, the first Falls took 12 months to plan. About 5,000 were expected for the one-night concert, more than 11,000 showed up. Falls has learned to grow and adapt to the times, asking participants how they think the festival could improve. This special attention to detail and guest experience, in addition to extensive planning and experience, is what makes Falls thrive.
A Recipe for Success
The recent standouts in the Australian music festival scene seem to be the smaller, less known events. With the overwhelmingly positive reputation of newcomers such as Boogie and the Deni Blues & Roots Festival, we’re seeing new trends form: substantial and impressive performances by artists, painstaking attention to detail for maximised participant experience with regards to staging and infrastructure, unique and accommodating venues.
Proper planning of the festival has become paramount. Event attendees no longer simply buy tickets to follow the festival trends; participants want to know exactly what and whom they’re paying to see. While some promoters try to simply pack in crowds, they seem to over promise and under delivery when it comes to guest experience. If the artists don’t play a good show, the audience knows it. With the rise of social media, negative reviews can spread like wildfire, actually affecting future ticket sales, attendance, and ultimately the success of the event. Because there is such a vast choice of music events in Australia, quality is worth more than ever.
Author Bio: Naomi Fuller writes for Crowd Control Barriers who offer event barriers for all types of music events. You can discuss options for event barriers and crowd control with the team at CCB. Simply call 1300 119 998 for more information today.