6 music festivals benefiting from government funding

State governments are increasingly funding music festivals and events as part of the post-pandemic economic recovery with the aim of boosting tourism and employment.

How well is the strategy working? Let’s look at six examples.


Victoria tested her Always Live program with Foo Fighters, Amyl and the Sniffers and the Meanies in front of 30,000 at the GMHBA Stadium in Geelong on Friday March 4.

The state has yet to release economic impact figures for the event, delivered with Frontier Touring.

But the city of Greater Geelong revealed Spendmapp data in June which showed the gig injected an additional $1.3 million into its food and entertainment sector, up 26% from the previous Friday and up 10% in travel expenses.

Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan called it “the highest overnight spend we’ve seen since our records began in 2018” and that the concert “exceeded the spend we’d generally expect to see in the days before Christmas”.


This month, the City of Sydney provided Vivid Sydney with $100,000 in cash (May 27-June 18) and an in-kind injection of $300,000.

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The cash portion will fund the ‘X/Celebrate’ live music program, which will ‘continue to support Sydney’s thriving music scene with a particular focus on programming events in the villages’.

Value-in-kind translates into fee waivers for outdoor spaces, indoor room rentals, cleaning and waste management services, marketing support and visitor information services.

Returning after two years, Vivid could see $172 million in visitor spending overnight and 2.4 million over 23 days, if 2019 numbers repeat.


Now in its seventh year, South Australia’s concert hall winter bonanza continues to grow.

The extent of funding from the South African government through the Music Development Office and Events South Australia for 175 events at 90 venues between July 1 and July 31 is unknown.

There is a new ticketing partner at Moshtix to accommodate increased demand and new investment in a digital marketing campaign.

In 2021, Umbrella had over 55,600 plays, which generated $1.8 million for South Australia.

The recent SA 2022-23 state budget earmarked over $21 million for the music industry.

This included $3.3 million over two years for vouchers and grants for hospitality venues and festivals, $1 million for 200 concert halls to upgrade facilities, $250,000 for mental support, 500 $000 to bring music back to the Royal Adelaide Show after 20 years, $8 million over four years for Adelaide Fringe and $8 million over four years for artists and organisations.

Compare these expenses to the benefit of the state.

Government figures show the music sector’s contribution increased by $8 million from 2014 to 2018, while in 2018-19 music and performing arts companies directly contributed $183.4 million in gross value added to the economy and was the most employing sector within the creative industries, providing 4,559 jobs. .


In 2021, the Tasmanian government finalized a new three-year deal providing $7.5 million to the Dark Mofo music festival as part of its $21.5 million fund to secure Tasmania events.

The deal included dedicated marketing support from Tourism Tasmania.

Dark Mofo canceled in 2020 and launched a mini-release last year.

The 2022 installment (June 8-22) is on track to reach 2019 numbers, with 100,000 tickets and $3.7 million at the box office (a 25% increase).

19,000 came from the mainland and generated over $20 million for the visitor economy.

According to creative director Leigh Carmichael, weeks before the doors opened, the box office had clicked $3.2 million and 40,000 tix had moved.


The Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, which welcomes 25,000 people to its Woodfordia site every day, has been canceled in 2020 and 2021, with a reduced Bushtime version for 2,200 last December.

In May, 400 organizers, vendors and volunteers came together and voted overwhelmingly to bring the event back to December/January.

In December 2021, the Queensland Government invested $4 million in funding over four years.

Director Bill Hauritz feels Woodford will return to a 100% format, saying, “We’re seeing the slow dissipation of COVID.”

If so, the music festival will more than pay for itself.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said: “At its peak, Woodfordia creates over 2,500 employment opportunities for artists and arts workers and brings $29 million in economic impact to the Queensland economy each year. .”


The Caloundra Music Festival is back for its 15e September 30 through October 2 each year at the oceanfront Kings Beach Amphitheater.

This is an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Council and supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.

Its future was thrown into doubt last year when a new adviser questioned whether the event should be backed saying it had operated at a loss since its launch in 2007 and wanted a full financial review .

However, a 2019 council report calculated that the festival cost taxpayers more than $675,000 a year over the previous three years.

He said the 2019 event attracted 30,000 bettors and injected $4.4 million into the region and another $1 million into Queensland.

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