Concerns Over Future Of Beloved Aussie Festival

1 March 2023 | 1:10 pm | Mary Varvaris

"When you see the economic benefit it [Caloundra Music Festival] contributes to the local economy, it’s obvious it’s very important."

(Caloundra Music Festival via Facebook)

Concerns have been expressed about the future of the beloved Queensland event, Caloundra Music Festival, after last year’s edition generated half the income and half the attendees compared to 2019.

In a Courier Mail article about the uncertainty of the festival, it was revealed that Sunshine Coast councillors had allocated $250,000 in funding per year until 2025 to assist Caloundra Music Festival.

“It is a great outcome; it continues to support the event for another three years and gives them confidence to schedule some great Australian artists,” Councillor Terry Landsberg said.

Landsberg added, “We have seen major music events cancelled due to the global pandemic and had concerns over how we continue to support the industry, but when you see the economic benefit it contributes to the local economy, it’s obvious it’s very important.”

In a Sunshine Coast Council Meeting streamed on YouTube (go to 2:28:44), 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 the meeting.

Laverty argued that ticket sales were so low because of bad weather, particularly on the Saturday. 

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

Pre-Covid-19, Caloundra was seeing over 32,000 punters embark on the Sunshine Coast for three days of live music, featuring the likes of Jet, Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Living End, John Butler Trio, The Bad Seeds, Baby Animals, Michael Franti, Ronan Keating, and many more. When the event returned in September 2021, that number had more than halved to 15,790 attendees. Things got bleaker last year when just 13,183 people attended Caloundra Music Festival.

While the money will help, high attendance remains uncertain when many people in the community grapple with the rising cost of living and unpredictable weather events that have shut down recent events.

The Music has reached out to Caloundra Music Festival for comment.