Yesterday, Splendor In The Grass (SITG) announced it would not be going ahead as planned in 2024.

This follows a string of recent festival cancellations, including Falls Festival & Groovin’ The Moo, leaving many festival lovers to wonder: What is happening to the Australian festival scene?


Music festivals are at their core, a celebration of the incredible Australian entertainment industry. They have a long and vibrant history of engaging and enriching our society, playing a huge role in the coming of age stories of many young people and bringing together communities that would not otherwise not have the opportunity to interact.


Australia's arts sector has seen several recent developments and witnessed the changing landscape of the global music and events scene of late. Although in the eyes of popular media it may look like things are grim, we at JMC have the experience and industry knowledge to reassure ourselves that the Australian music festival isn't dying… but it is changing.

So… what’s causing the shift?

It’s impossible to place blame on any one factor when it comes to the cancellation of a music festival. In this case of Splendour, officials have blamed “unexpected events” as the root cause of the decision. So, let’s break that down.


One of the biggest factors being thrown around  in the Aussie festival debacle is the all-too-familiar (and all too exxy) cost of living. With 3-day camping tickets to Splendour easily setting back punters $460 before any additional spend on travel, camping equipment, food or festival ‘fits, this can be a mighty blow to the pockets of any eager festival goer. Is this what Splendour’s target audience is able to spend in this financial climate?

The answer… yes it is. Young people are spending to attend multi day festivals. Gen Z are some of the smartest consumers around, and when you have the right product.. Or in this case; lineup, they will come running (or dancing). Whilst way more goes into a festival cancellation than a lineup, (see: higher operating costs, cost of living and massive competition from overseas artists), the festivals that are currently bringing in big crowds and coming back year after year are booking acts that are on the precipice of making massive waves: see St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival with Fred again.., Billie Eilish, Raye and Beyond The Valley with Dom Dolla. They understand their audience and the acts that young people are itching (and willing to pay top dollar) to see.


Splendour In The Grass is no doubt an incredible event (we have no doubt it will be bouncing back better than ever), but it’s also a business whose model for production must be sustained through revenue streams like ticket sales, brand sponsorship and most importantly, government support. According to documents published by Live Music Australia, Splendour received a grant of $100,000 to aide in hosting its 2024 edition, but that pales in comparison to previous grants it has received in previous years (in 2021 Splendour In The Grass staged Splendour XR, a virtual edition of the festival that was funded by a $1.5 million Government RISE grant). In 2022 Splendour ambitiously raised its cap on audience attendees by 43% (from 35,000 to 50,000 patrons) in an effort to get more punters through the gates than ever before, a decision that received mixed reviews from critics. 

What does the future of the Aussie music festival look like?

What you might be reading/watching in the news/content wave that has hit us post Splendour’s announcement might paint a solemn picture for Australia’s music festival space, but it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. 

There have been stories of incredible festival success in Australia in recent years that paint a hopeful picture for the future of the industry. After a three year hiatus, the iconic touring festival St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival stormed back into the scene with record breaking attendance records in 2023 and 2024. We’re also seeing smaller, boutique festivals such as Mode Festival expand into new markets across Australia (helloooo Melbourne!) and massive international conference-style events like SXSW dip their toes into the Australian market with great success. The common factor between these events? They each offer a program that is highly attuned to the desires and needs of their target audiences, with clever partnerships and activations to support the central attractions of their respective events.

Additionally, we’re seeing a groundswell of support for smaller music venues across the country. As part of Round 8 of the Government’s $20 million Live Music Australia program, grants of up to $100,000 are now available for applicants who can demonstrate their commitment to presenting original Australian music. What this looks like in practice is smaller, cheaper, more accessible and more regular performances from Australian artists in an effort to provide and fortify opportunities for these creative individuals and the businesses that host them.

How can creative professionals adapt their talents to thrive in these changing times?

There’s no doubt that Australia’s creative and entertainment sector is enduring a massive shift in status quo, with the evolution of our music festival circuit a large-scale indication of this fact. Creative professionals and lovers of the arts can be reassured in knowing that this is by no means a death, but more of a metamorphosis towards what we believe is a smarter, more sustainable and much brighter future.

Learning core, scalable skills that are malleable across industry such as logistics coordination, event management, planning and execution will become vital for creative professionals that plan to perform, operate and produce in these spaces as we walk together towards an emerging future. The vibe is shifting and at JMC we are planning to be at the forefront of this change.

At our next Open Day, we’ll be giving people the chance to create their own dream festival lineups and asking the public which acts they would book to draw massive crowds. Drop by our EBM lounge to learn more about the festival industry and see why we’re more excited than worried about the changing face of Australia’s music landscape.

Check out what's happening at our May Open Day!

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