Sly Withers' Festival 'Sidefest' Struggling, 'A Bit More Intimate Than We Had Hoped For'

15 August 2023 | 9:17 am | Mary Varvaris

"We're still gonna pull it off - it will just owe us a bit of money.”

Sly Withers

Sly Withers (Source: Supplied)

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Sidefest, the festival curated by Sly Withers and independent artist management company Sidequest, has revealed that this year’s event will be a bit more intimate than anticipated.

Sly Withers’ manager, Skinny O'Leary, took to Instagram, making a post about the state of this year’s festival (in Brisbane and Fremantle this year) and how it may not meet some punters’ expectations.

“When Sly Withers, Casey [O'Shaughnessy, Select Music) and I started SIDEFEST, I told myself we would take the festival slowly,” O’Leary wrote on social media. “The absolute success of the festival in 2022, just moments after WA venues went back to 100% capacity, buoyed our confidence for the festival this year.”

The second-ever Sidefest, a great success in 2022, isn’t as easy to put together in 2023. “Safe to say that the live music industry is in a downturn at the moment, with lower than projected ticket sales pretty much across the board - from institutions like Splendour in the Grass down to smaller in-venue shows,” O’Leary continued.

“This year might be a bit more intimate than we had hoped for, but we're still gonna pull it off - it will just owe us a bit of money.”

While it may be unusual to hear frank statements about financials, O’Leary says, “It feels taboo to talk about financials in public”, but believes it’s essential as “it might help to shine a light on the great bands and their teams doing it a bit rough at the moment.

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“Things are not grim in our camp however, and we're confidently working on refilling our cups and bank accounts for a future on the road,” O’Leary added. “Everyone's cost of living has gone up a lot, but if you can, go see a show when you can, grab a ticket to SIDEFEST and we'll all get through this together.”

This year’s Sidefest doesn’t feel more intimate, with the festival expanding to Brisbane and bringing a killer two-day line-up to Fremantle and Brisbane.

It’s Brisbane’s turn tonight (15 August) and tomorrow night, with Sly Withers headlining tonight’s show alongside Tigers Jaw, Teenage Joans, Darren Cordeux’s solo project Daz & The Demons, Aleksiah, Platonic Sex and more.

Tomorrow, Bugs, The Buoys and Drug Church will rock The Brightside, with Bec Stevens, Suzi and more providing extra bangers.

Sidefest heads to the Freo Social this weekend (19 and 20 August), with most of the same acts heading to Western Australia.

You can buy tickets to the 2023 edition of Sidefest via the Sidequest website.