Industry News

Australian music industry takes aim at government festival funding

Featured Image: Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

Live music industry operators have called for Australian governments to pause funding for the festival sector in the wake of several cancellations.

Political party The Greens has urged the federal government to find emergency funding in the upcoming May budget to support festivals, with suffering highlighted by the cancellation of this year’s Splendour in the Grass event.

Earlier this week, the Victorian government announced it would make grants of up to A$50,000 (£25,000/$32,000/€30,000) each to established festival organisers.

However, some insiders claim that putting more money into festivals will not address the industry’s problems of ownership concentration and lack of competition.

According to The Guardian, Oztix co-founder Brian Chladil feels no multinational company should be being supported with taxpayer money.

“I don’t know how this happened, but there is no reason at all that any government should be financially supporting any festival, venue or event that is being promoted by these large foreign owned companies,” Chladil said.

Another live music operator, Paul Curtis, echoed Chladil’s dismay saying, “It’s tick-a-box funding from a lazy government that just chucks money at the big players because they all still believe in the trickle down thing.”

“But it doesn’t trickle down. It just stays at the top. It’s myopic thinking.”

Producer and agent Paul Sloan stated that festival goers and artists were losing out and believes it is only a matter of time before both turn against promoters.

The likes of US-based multinational Live Nation entertainment generated $22.75bn in total revenue last year and posted a net profit of $563m.

Despite this, combined with Secret Sounds, Live Nation’s Australian brand has received more than $16m in state and federal cultural grants.