Australia’s federal government is to hand A$100,000 to Live Nation-backed Splendour In The Grass as part of its latest round of funding for live music festivals.
A total of $2.5m has been allocated to 37 festivals in what is round seven of the Live Music Australia Programme. The $20m programme was founded in 2020 to revive business ventures in local suburbs, towns and regions across the country, building capacity for a sustainable live music scene with strong community roots.
The festivals assisted in this round cover all states and territories, reflect a wide range of genres and include established and upcoming events.
Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass, which is operated by Secret Sounds – whose majority shareholder is Live Nation – has been awarded a grant of $100,000 (US$66,000/€60,000). The three-day event, which attracts 50,000 people per day, has attracted headliners such as The Strokes, Kendrick Lamar and Gorillaz over the last two decades. According to Office for the Arts documentation, the cash will allow Splendour in the Grass “to program and showcase a diverse and exciting array of Australian artists performing original live music across various stages.”
Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival – attended by around 125,000 patrons annually – will also receive $100,000 to fund a programme that sees three iconic Australian songwriter/musicians collaborate with 10 emerging “to inspire original live music that distils the essence of Australia”.
“The Live Music Australia Programme aligns with the Australian Government’s National Cultural Policy, Revive, recognising the Australian music sector as a vibrant part of our arts and culture landscape,” said an Office for the Arts spokesperson.
“As well as providing support to established festivals, these grants will also assist up and coming, grassroots level events—creating opportunities for original Australian live music to reach audiences across Australia.”
Live music in Australia recovering after pandemic
A Live Performance Australia report published in December 2023 found that live music generated total revenue of $2bn in 2022, with 24.2 million tickets sold. This was the second highest recorded attendance and revenue since the report commenced in 2004.
Contemporary music experienced the largest growth in revenue and second largest growth in attendance amongst all categories in 2022, although this was compared to 2021 which saw the lowest attendance and revenue numbers in two decades due to COVID-19. It led market share for revenue (35.2%) and attendance (35.9%) in 2022.
Contemporary music festivals experienced the second highest growth in revenue and the highest growth in attendance in 2022, following the poorest results in the previous two years for more than a decade due to the pandemic.
Combined, contemporary music and festivals (contemporary music) recorded close to half of total revenue ($940m) and almost 42% in total attendance.