Are We Ever Going To Have Another Music Festival In Australia?

splendour in the grass cancelled 2024

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Splendour in the Grass 2024 has been cancelled due to “unexpected events”. It’s a massive gut punch to music fans, artists, and to those in the live music industry. Although exact reasons for the cancellation are not yet known, Splendour in the Grass joins a long list of music festivals that have been cancelled over the past two years in Australia. 

Just two weeks ago, on March 12, Splendour dropped their highly anticipated 2024 lineup. The headliner act was the princess of pop herself, Kylie Minogue. G-Flip, Omar Apollo, FLETCHER, Miss Kaninna, Future, Girl In Red, and Thelma Plum were also on the exciting list of performers. Then, barely a fortnight later, the entire event was cancelled. It makes it hard to feel positive about the state of live music in Australia. 

The cancellation points to an already worrying trend across Australia. Over the past two years, six other festivals have either been cancelled, delayed, or disrupted. The most recent cancellation was Groovin’ the Moo a month ago, citing low ticket sales. Following Groovin’s cancellation, Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young sent an open letter to Minister of the Arts Tony Burke requesting more government support for Australian festivals. Seems even more important now. 

Speaking in the Senate today, Hanson-Young said Splendour’s cancellation is “yet another reminder that we need urgent funding to support festivals and the arts through the cost-of-living crisis”. 

In a statement provided to Junkee, Hanson-Young said she’s hopeful that the Government will use the May Budget to provide that extra support. The Senator blames “skyrocketing inflation and difficulties with ticket sales in an uncertain economic environment” as reasons for the recent cancellations. 

Splendour in the Grass is one of the biggest and most iconic live music festivals in Australia. Running since 2001 and held in northern NSW, it’s been home to massive names like Lorde, Florence and the Machine, and Coldplay. Like other festivals, it has also provided a way for smaller artists to gain visibility and support from fans. Perhaps more importantly, music festivals are pillars of a healthy and thriving society. Live music brings people together. People deserve to be able to enjoy gigs, concerts, and festivals and the fact that they’re disappearing right before our eyes is extremely worrying.

The cancellations are even more alarming when you consider just how much time, effort, and care goes into putting a music festival together. How does all this impact those who work behind the scenes? 

Now that, from a live music perspective, the unthinkable has happened, where do we go from here? Is 2024 just a bad year, or is this how it’s going to be? Will Australia ever have another multi-day music festival? 

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

Image: Getty