About

Australian music festivals update: sales up, profits down

Share
Of the 535 music festivals held in Australia during the 2022/23 financial year, 35% lost money. Creative Australia’s latest report found average losses amounted to almost $800,000.
australian music festivals update

Over a third of Australian music festivals lost money last year, according to new data from the national arts council, Creative Australia.

Of the 535 music festivals held in Australia during the 2022/23 financial year, 35% lost money. Creative Australia’s latest report found average losses amounted to almost $800,000.

It said impacts from the pandemic have seen many popular festivals cancelled or downscaled, “resulting in multi-million dollar losses for organisers and promoters.”

Here’s what its report found.

About Australian music festivals

  • Half were held in cities
  • A third were held in regional areas near cities
  • Nearly a quarter were electronic music festivals

Financial reports

  • 56% of Australian music festivals made a profit in 2022-23. Profits averaged $2.6 million.
  • 35% of Australian music festivals lost money in 2022-23. Losses averaged $779,000.
  • 8% made enough to cover costs, but did not report any profit.

Ticket buyers

Younger people are buying fewer tickets to festivals overall.

18-24 year olds purchased tickets at lower rates compared to the same age group pre-pandemic. They represented 41% of all ticket buyers in 2018/19. Last year, that number decreased to 27%.

25-29 year olds purchased tickets at higher rates compared to the same age group pre-pandemic. They represented 23% of all ticket buyers in 2018/19. Last year, that number increased to 35%.

9,506: the average number of ticket sales for festivals in 2022/23

An average 8,116 tickets were sold per festival in 2018-19, meaning post-pandemic numbers are 17% than pre-pandemic ticket sales.

Creative Australia found that while ticket sales are increasing, buying habits have not fully recovered from a shift in behaviours following the pandemic.

People are less likely to purchase tickets far in advance, it found. More people are purchasing tickets within a week before the festival compared to before the pandemic, it said.

Operating costs

  • The average cost to organise and run a music festival was $3.9 million
  • 26% of staff at music festivals are unpaid volunteers.
  • 47% of organisers said “rising operational costs” had a severe impact on their ability to run events.

Funding arrangements

  • Nearly two in three music festivals received financial sponsorships, e.g. brand partnerships.
  • Around half of music festivals received some form of government funding. 40% of festivals received state/territory funding.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.