November 22, 2021

Aussie festivals reboot promising millions of tourism dollars

Aussie festivals reboot promising millions of tourism dollars
Darwin's BASSINTHEGRASS

More major Australian festivals are returning as live music’s new normal kicks in – bringing back millions of tourism dollars to local economies around the country.

Announced today, Destroy All Lines is staging Monolith at four outdoor spaces on successive Saturdays with Karnivool, COG, Ocean Grove, Plini, Sleepmakeswaves, Reliqa and Yomi Ship.

These land at Bella Vista Farm, Sydney (March 12), Eatons Hill Outdoors, Brisbane (March 19), Reunion Park, Melbourne (April 2) and Red Hill Auditorium, Perth (April 9).

Tasmania’s midwinter solstice Dark Mofo is held in Hobart June 15 – 22.

Creative director Leigh Carmichael said after the death of the 2020 festival, and a near-death experience in 2021, “we’re beginning the next era of Dark Mofo by exploring the ideas of rebirth, reincarnation, and new life”.

Acts will be announced in autumn. In 2019 the event sold 100,000 tickets with $4 million at the box office and a total of $11 million in revenue.

Darwin’s BASSINTHEGRASS revealed its 16-strong bill to include Jessica Mauboy, Hilltop Hoods, Peking Duk, Dune Rats, G Flip, Xavier Rudd and Dope Lemon, at Mindil Beach on May 21.

Earlier this year it drew 14,000, about half from outside the Northern Territory. That number is expected to rise with Virgin Australia offering a budget $159 ‘Seek adveNTure’ ticket deal to the festival and the NT until June.

In 2019 it generated an economic impact of $4.3 million for the Darwin economy and $5.13 million for the NT.

Sydney Festival (January 5 to 30)’s second lineup includes The Cat Empire, Jaguar Jonze, Tropical Fuck Storm, Washington, The Beths, Gordi, James Morrison & William Barton, Cash Savage & the Last Drinks, Amyl & the Sniffers and King Stingray.

Most play at the 1,000 seat pop-up theatre Speakers Corner, situated in the CBD although the original lineup of The Cat Empire bid farewell to Sydney with a show at the 18,000-capacity Parramatta Park and Fat Freddy’s Drop are at the 3,500 seater (pre-COVID) Hordern Pavilion.

Sydney Festival drew 394, 818  in 2020, of which 17% were from outside Sydney.

Parkes Elvis Festival (NSW), with an annual draw of 24,000 and an injection of $13 million to the local hamlet, confirmed an April 20—24 return.

Riverboats celebrate its 10th year during the February 18 to 20 weekend at the Victorian twin towns of Echuca-Moama, drawing 6,000.

Performers include Baker Boy, Vika & Linda Weddings Parties Anything, Sarah Blasko, Custard and local names as William Crichton.

Peninsula Music has its second year at the amphitheatre and surrounds of the Briars on the Mornington Peninsula (Vic) on December 4 with Boom Crash Opera, Mark Seymour, Choirboys, Taxiride, Dragon and Deborah Conway.

Melbourne’s alt-country Out On The Weekend is scheduled for December 11 at Williamstown’s Seaworks with an all-Victoria bill including Wagons, Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission, Liz Stringer, Sherry Rich & The Grievous Angels, Lost Ragas and Warner Brothers.

Four new festivals are joining the slate.

Down South is in Port Fairy (Vic) on February 26 with Amyl and the Sniffers headlining and presented by Yeah Nahhh (who tell visitors “bring your fishing rod”), at The Star of The West.

Surround Sounds is a series of shows from April 8 to May 8 from City of Greater Geelong (Vic) to showcase the Geelong and the Bellarine scenes including workshops and multi-arts collabs.

Bellarine Music is a multi-date outdoor festival series from Premier Artists, Bellarine Estate and MoonMother in Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula from December 11.

Acts are Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks, Daryl Braithwaite, Black Sorrows and Brian Mannix.

The punters are definitely there for festivals: The 29th Blues at Bridgetown in WA drew thousands over the three days, with the Saturday night at 10,000.

However, Golden Plains (Vic) won’t be going ahead in March due to safety and health reasons, much to the disappointment of the 12,000 who attend over three days.

“We tried incredibly hard to make it happen. Turned every stone a hundred times,” its promoter said.