Soundwave Revolution sounds death knell for the golden age of music festivals

When Michael Eavis announced the demise of his own Glastonbury Festival, in an English newspaper last month, many thought he’d jumped the gun, believing that his forecast was the ramblings of a man who had lost touch after 41 years in the business. With further poor sales and what seems like a festival going under every week maybe the 75-year-old will prove himself as the industry prophet after all?

Soundwave Revolution is the newest kid on the chopping block, cancelled due to the withdrawal of a major headliner.  But surely there is more to it than meets the eye?   Usually one headliner does not make a festival?  There are plenty of bands that would be itching to step up and fill the void.  Recent ticket sales of rival festivals suggest that lack of interest and low sales are probably closer to the mark.  This year’s Splendour in the Grass failed to sell out for the first time in its decade long history, while last year’s Big Day Out second day in Sydney offered 2 for 1 ticket sales and they still fell short of maximum sales.  Good Vibrations had such bad returns Justin Hemmes has decided to put the festival on ice until the end of next year.  In another new twist and more evidence of dwindling sales, Parklife announced today that they have exclusivity over all their acts, meaning there will be no sideshows from any of the main headline acts.  With less than two months until the festival opens its gates the announcement hints at sluggish sales and the anxiety to inject a USP into the marketing.

According to The Music Network there are over 55 registered mainstream music festivals in Australia, which actually doesn’t seem that many compared to a staggering 300+ in the UK.  So congestion and competition doesn’t seem to be a primary reason for such disinterest in the Australian festival season, not compared to the clogged up circuit in Britain.  Which means the root of the cause is the combined effect of high costs, large travel distances and festival fatigue.

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