Caloundra Music Festival Canned For 2024

16 April 2024 | 11:39 am | Mary Varvaris

The festival won’t be held this October, but organisers hope it returns in 2025 if conditions improve.

Caloundra Music Festival

Caloundra Music Festival (Credit: Bruce Haggie)

Beloved Queensland event, the Caloundra Music Festival, is taking a break in 2024, citing “rising operating costs and cost-of-living pressures on event ticket sales”.

No pre-sale tickets were released for the event, so punters won’t need to seek refunds. Performers also haven’t been affected, as organisers hadn’t opened the Artist Expression of Interest submissions.

The festival won’t be held this October, but organisers hope it returns in 2025 if conditions improve.

Like many festivals in Australia, the Caloundra Music Festival has been struggling due to increased operating costs, which include event infrastructure, production, security, policing, labour/crew costs, travel/ transport, accommodation, and more, according to a press release.

In addition to the rising costs for festivals to operate, organisers have cited the cost-of-living crisis, namely “higher interest rates, rent, fuel, power and food costs on household budgets”, meaning that potential punters have less disposable income for festival tickets.

Caloundra Music Festival is often a real money maker for the Sunshine Coast region, with an estimated $4 million pouring back into the local economy annually.

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“The increasing expenditure required to deliver a safe and entertaining event while trying to keep ticket prices reasonable puts festivals like this in a precarious position,” Sunshine Coast Council Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg commented in a statement.

Landsberg added, “We needed to make a decision early in the planning process to avoid the potential of costly cancellation fees.

“This is a real loss for our local event industry and local businesses that have supported or benefited from this event for so many years. Hopefully, conditions will improve, and it can get back on its feet.”

Festival Director Richie Eyles added that the Caloundra Music Festival has shown its support to Australian legends including Powderfinger, Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, John Butler Trio, Jimmy Barnes, Empire Of The Sun, The Cat Empire, Jet, The Temper Trap, and more, while supporting interesting international acts such as Michael Franti, Arrested Development, George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, Tower Of Power, and The New Power Generation.

“The Sunshine Coast has such a vibrant music community, and the loss of CMF, alongside other events in 2024, like Groovin The Moo, will be felt deeply,” Eyles stated.

“I encourage people to support other festivals, venues and artists by purchasing tickets often and early.”

Last March, Sunshine Coast councillors went through the last few years of the Caloundra Music Festival to determine whether the event has a future

“Obviously, the financial result of 2022 was not what we expected,” the Sunshine Coast Council’s economic executive, Greg Laverty, said in a meeting.

Laverty argued that ticket sales for the 2022 event were so low because of bad weather. 

“When the headliners include international acts, the revenue is much higher,” Laverty said over a slide featuring revenue summaries of Caloundra Music Festival from 2016 to 2022.

From 2016 until 2019, the event's revenue was always over $2 million; in 2022, it was $1.1 million.

Pre-COVID-19, the Caloundra Music Festival saw over 32,000 punters embark on the Sunshine Coast for three days of live music. Since its beginnings in 2007, the festival has only missed one year—2020.

When the event returned in September 2021, that number had more than halved to 15,790 attendees. Things got bleaker in 2022 when just 13,183 people attended the Caloundra Music Festival.