The Greens Are Fed Up With Music Festivals Being Cancelled

groovin the moo 2024 cancelled

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When organisers of popular music festival Groovin the Moo announced that the 2024 event would be cancelled just two months before it was meant to start in South Australia, citing low ticket sales, it shocked many music lovers across Australia. Moreso, it sent a worrying signal about the “dire” state of live music at the moment. 

Recently we’ve seen music festivals cancelled due to bad weather or the COVID pandemic — low ticket sales usually aren’t to blame. But that appears to be changing. Just last month, Coastal Jam cancelled their festival because of the rising cost of living. Groovin’s low ticket sales may also be a symptom of the rising cost of living — when regular life becomes more expensive, many will struggle to justify buying tickets and accommodation to attend a music festival. Regardless, it’s a significant blow to regional music lovers because Groovin (a regional festival) is their only chance to see live music each year. 

Groovin the Moo, along with other popular live music festivals like Splendour in the Grass, Falls, and Laneway, are vital to the Australian music industry. Not only are they a great way for Aussie acts to share the stage with internationally beloved musicians, they also boost local economies. But live music has been under attack for several years now following the pandemic and has struggled to regain its footing. To date, more than 1,300 live music venues and stages have closed and crowds at nightclubs have almost halved from what they were before the pandemic. 

In NSW specifically, live music was severely impacted by then Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government deeming 14 NSW festivals as “high risk”, which made it incredibly difficult to get licensing for festivals to go ahead and required a stronger police presence. Sydney itself has battled with reviving live music after lockout laws saw a 40 percent drop in live performance revenue in the CBD

All of this has the Australian Greens concerned about the state of the live music industry. 

“The addition of Groovin the Moo to the growing list of festival cancellations is another major blow to the live music industry in Australia,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement provided to Junkee. “The industry has been struggling to get back on its feet since it was decimated by the COVID pandemic.” 

After Groovin’s cancellation, Hanson-Young sent a letter to Minister of the Arts Tony Burke requesting more government support for Australian festivals. “Over the past 2 years a number of Australian festivals have collapsed or been cancelled due to skyrocketing inflation and difficulties with ticket sales in an uncertain economic environment,” the letter reads. “The situation for festivals and live music in Australia is dire and needs urgent support.”

Hanson-Young also said she’d be calling representatives from Australian festivals into the next National Cultural Policy senate inquiry hearing to find out what is needed to better support the industry. 

Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on Instagram or on X.

Image: Groovin the Moo