Australia’s battered live sector was in trouble before COVID-19
While COVID-19-related attendance restrictions and health concerns saw Australia’s live sector collapse in March 2020, figures now show that it was already in trouble over summer.
Global first-quarter figures released over the weekend by Pollstar showed that Australia’s bushfires and resultant air pollution had already made an adverse impact on live music events.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world continued on its growth path with record attendance.
In Pollstar’s mid-year 2019 report, there were a record 10 Australian promoters listed in the Top 100 performances, including Live Nation Australasia, Frontier Touring and TEG Dainty.
But in this year’s Q1 figures, there was only Frontier Touring rating at an impressive #5 globally grossing US$47.4 million, Chugg Entertainment was at #7 with a turnover of $55.7m, Illusive Presents at #43 after making $5.1m and Adrian Bohm Presents who grossed $4.9m.
The overall health of the sector was obvious: Frontier, Chugg and Illusive are part of Mushroom Group and Bohm focuses on comedy.
Missing in action were the six outdoor venues that were in the quarterly placing last year.
There were only three Australian entries in the Top 100 Arenas, compared to four last year.
They were Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena at #31 with $14.4m in takings and 130,990 stubs.
At #55 was Brisbane Entertainment Centre after generating $7.3m from 61,790 seats.
Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion ranked #72 with take of $2.2m and 42,270 sales.
In the Clubs section, only Melbourne’s Corner Hotel made the cut, and Melbourne’s Hamer Hall was the sole Aussie entrant in the Theatre category.
Globally, the Q1 data showed that gross revenue for the Top 100 Tours was up 10.9% over 2019’s record-setting year, to $840 million for 2020, while ticket sale volume rose 4.5% to 9.4m.
Based on these preliminary figures, Pollstar estimated that the global live sector would have reached $12.2 billion by the end of 2020.
Its worst-case scenario from COVID-19 was a loss of $8.9b of revenue, but the magazine emphasises it is not expecting things to reach that bottom line.
Audiences waiting for spring
As far as Australia is concerned, the next two quarters will obviously be dark, with Australian tours expected to spark up in late spring.
Promoter Michael Chugg told the Sydney Morning Herald that he expected overseas touring to only go back a consistent level this time next year.
The latest major cancellation was Niall Horan’s three-city Nice To Meet Ya arena run in September, through TEG Live.
Many of the festivals like Splendour In The Grass had earlier moved to spring.
Last week those announced for spring were Red Hill Entertainment, Greater Shepparton City Council and Shepparton Show Me’s second Land Of Plenty was confirmed at the Shepparton Showgrounds on Saturday, October 31.
Zaccaria Concerts & Touring’s Icehouse-headlined By The C at Perth’s City Beach Oval is now rescheduled to Saturday, November 7.
Music SA’s showcase of South Australian talent, Umbrella, moved to September 18 to October 4, and the $25 entrance fee is now dropped.
Cancelled last week were Adelaide Guitar Festival Melbourne Fringe and NSW’s Bello Winter.