How Concerts And Festivals Are Boosting Tourism Dollars

30 May 2023 | 12:49 pm | Christie Eliezer

The big success, of course, was getting Coldplay to include a sole Perth show in November when they added four shows in Asia...


Photo of BASSINTHEGRASS 2023 (Source: Supplied)

More governments and tourism bodies are tapping into concerts and festivals to generate millions of tourism and economic dollars.

The most recent example was on Saturday, May 20, when BASSINTHEGRASS in Darwin drew a full house of 16,000 punters to Mindil Beach for 11 hours of Angus & Julia Stone, Baker Boy, LDRU, Ocean Alley, Peach PRC and Spacey Jane.

Half the crowd was from outside the Territory. Based on last year’s figures, they’re forecast to generate $14.5 million for the Northern Territory economy, $12 million of it in new money.

Delivered by Northern Territory Major Events Company for the NT government, marketing for BASSINTHEGRASS included tour packages for the rest of NT, including wildlife adventures, jumping crocodile cruises and national parks.

The festival, which already has patrons coming from abroad, also increased its international profile with two wins at this month’s global events and experience Eventex Awards 2023.

It took bronze for the Best Festival and Best Australian/Oceanian Event.

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Taking out six gongs at the same awards was Parrtjima – A Festival in Light in Alice Springs which drew close to 23,500 people over ten days and generated $14.7 million.

Almost 7,000 came from outside NT, with 70% of these visiting the Alice only for the festival.

The Western Australian government is also ploughing money into music events to generate global tourism.

When Perth prog-rock band Voyager jumped on the Eurovision gravy train, the government paid for the video for the band's new single, Promise, which featured the band playing at WA landmarks.

The strategy was that the millions who saw it on Eurovision channels would be tempted to visit.

But when Voyager reached the Top 10 in the Grand Final, the video’s reach extended to European TV networks and streaming platforms.

The big success, of course, was getting Coldplay to include a sole Perth show in November when they added four shows in Asia.

The one show at Optus Stadium, through Live Nation, became two, shifting 140,000 tickets.

Many will be internationals, as the dates are being promoted in places like Singapore and New Zealand that missed out on Coldplay shows, with hotel packages designed to encourage them to stay on and travel through the state.

The WA government is tight-lipped about how much the two Coldplay shows are costing it but says it will get “millions of dollars” back.

A rough calculation can be made from what other “one-off exclusives” are made in other states.

This month, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) released a report on its partnership with Frontier Touring, which saw Sam Smith play the Cube winery on January 11.

Australian and international media and influencers were flown in.

As a result, the report said, the show got the sort of huge publicity that generated an estimated Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) of more than $32 million directly for the state.

“Additionally, the SATC generated 18,000 new subscribers to their database and achieved more than 23,000 competition entries on and @southaustralia.”

Similarly, the deal between Visit Victoria and Frontier for Billy Joel to play a one-off at the MCG drew 76,300.

42% were from intestate with hotel occupancy peaking at 93.7% on the night, and estimates that the state benefitted by $30 million.

A few weeks back, the ABC reported that tourism and business identities on the Sunshine Coast are working on how to get more music festivals into the region to increase the younger tourist trade.

This comes after Groovin’ The Moo played the Coast on April 30 for the first time, to a sold-out 25,000 crowd, showing there was a market.

Locally, Woodford Folk attracts about 132,000 with $29 million in economic impact, Caloundra Music attracts 30,000 fans and injects $3 million, while Big Pineapple Music was drawing 10,000 punters before it went on hiatus.

Gympie Music Muster in August could recreate its 2022 numbers of 40,000 patrons and create close to $7 million while Mitchell Creek Rock ‘n’ Blues can expect 30,000 in September.

Visit Sunshine Coast's Matt Stoeckel is hoping more promoters come abroad.

"Having Brisbane just over an hour down the road is just such a great feature and we can expect to see more and more festivals and events calling Sunshine Coast home," he told the ABC.