More Australian Festival Promoters Expand Events As Better Times Beckon
More festival promoters are growing their events and setting up for the future.
The expansion plans for more than five events come either from a faith that customers will return in droves, or from support from government and tourism authorities which see festivals as a reboot of regional economies.
THE GRASS IS GREENER
The Grass Is Greener started out in Cairns, QLD, building from 4,000 to 8,000 punters at the Showground, and extending in its fourth year to the Gold Coast before the pandemic.
This week its capacity skyrocketed to 50,000 when Handpicked Group added Canberra and Geelong to its October 22 to 30 run.
“With plans to grow The Grass Is Greener into a national festival falling through in 2020, we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring regional Australia a truly unique offering they deserve,” Handpicked stated.
To entice its new audience, there’ll be international names in the June 16 artist announcement; all four sites will have multiple themed stages; adventurous activations; and it becomes the first Australian festival to release its own NFT and the VIP package is renewed.
Falls Festival was already reaching 90,000 capacity as its sites in Victoria and WA moved to larger addresses.
Now Secret Sounds has the offshoot Heaps Good on January 6 at Adelaide Showground.
This puts Falls acts as Arctic Monkeys, Peggy Gou, CHVRCHES, Jamie xx, Ocean Alley and Spacey Jane in a 25,000-capacity venue with two stages and a warehouse area for EDM fans.
Hope Estate in NSW’s Hunter Valley vineyard region hosts shows to 20,000 patrons, and had the Rolling Stones Red Hot Chili Peppers, Midnight Oil, Bruce Springsteen, CMC Rocks and Fleetwood Mac tread its boards.
Owner Michael Hope reveals he has applied to stage one or two mega-concerts a year with a capacity of 50,000.
This will allow him to bid for A-list acts such as U2, AC/DC and Coldplay.
“It gives them the opportunity to play a venue that people love attending, out of a stadium in the city,” he told Triple M.
“The problem is that any act over 20,000 has to go into the SCG or Olympic (Accor) Stadium and they’ve got the atmosphere of an empty cardboard box.”
The estate has 420 acres, so for Hope it’s no problem to move the stage to a larger paddock.
After its debut last December with 2,000 at Mackay Showgrounds (Qld) with Masked Wolf and Jungle Giants, BE Social returns on August 6 to the larger Harrup Park, expecting to pull between 4,000 and 5,000.
Festival director Michael Delaney wants it to become the biggest non-touring music festival in North Queensland, growing to 6,000 in 2024 and 8,000 a year later.
Mackay Regional Council and Mackay Tourism help with funding and marketing to help drive tourism in Mackay and the Whitsundays.
Delaney, who co-ran River Sessions in Mackay from 2008 to 2019 said, “Demand is growing … and in North Queensland, it’s not uncommon for people to travel four to six hours to go to an event.”
This year’s bill includes Hermitude, the Middle Kids, Thundamentals, Mashd N Kutcher, Peach PRC and KLP – picked to be having high rotation play on media partner triple j.
AIRLIE BEACH FESTIVAL OF MUSIC
Supported by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) for most of its ten years, this year the funding was extended to 2024 by $175,000.
More crowds are expected to the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef region from November 4 to 6 after it won people’s choice of festival of the year at the Queensland Music Awards, and increased the $2 million pumped into the economy.
Tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe said, “Significant events like the Airlie Beach Festival of Music bring extra visitors to the Whitsundays who contribute to the region’s economic recovery.”
The inaugural Wanderer September 23 to 25 is tied to a tourism and economic boost for the NSW Sapphire Coast, famed for native bushland and undisturbed waterways.
The multi-generation celebration of music art, comedy, circus, cabaret and theatre (programmed by Falls and Lost Lands founder Simon Daly) is on a farm near Merimbula.
Tourism minister Stuart Ayres said, “Wanderer Festival is going to attract thousands of visitors to one of Australia’s most inspiring destinations, providing a fantastic boost to the visitor economy of a region that has been badly impacted by successive years of natural disasters and COVID-19.”
The music comes from the Teskey Brothers, DMA’s, The Dandy Warhols, Ziggy Alberts, Confidence Man, Josh Pyke, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks and US soulster Curtis Harding making his only Australian appearance.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.