If you speak to many stakeholders in the music industry, they’ll tell you that the festival bubble has already popped and now it’s just a matter of who survives the inevitable purges and how much money they can keep whilst doing it.
They cite many factors as contributing to the downfall of numerous festivals, including dwindling attendance overall, a changing market, a sluggish economy, a lack of viable headliners, and festivals that basically trade lineups each year.
However, the promoter of Great Southern Blues Festival, an Australian music festival hosted at Narooma for the past 18 years, thinks something else is responsible for his lacklustre ticket sales – Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“Nightly we seem to hear the nation’s leader Tony Abbott on national television sharing his unrelenting dialogue on terrorism,” said promoter Neil Mumme in a recent statement.
“There can be no doubt that it is a global problem, but I am sure the Australian people are smart enough to understand the issue without being constantly bombarded with it by the Prime Minister.”
As far as Mumme is concerned, the Prime Minister’s alleged fear-mongering and “unrelenting dialogue on terrorism” is responsible for harming the ticket sales of his long-running music festival and Mumme’s not happy about it.
Mumme has seen the ticket sales for the Great Southern Blues Festival decline since 2014 and he believes the controversial PM is “building fear” and hurting the event’s bottom line. He insists events should be given a “fair go”.
Mumme told The Music that while sales for this year are “tracking okay so far”, they’re still “a little bit behind where they’d like it to be”. A sell-out year, he said, would see about 3,300 people per day, but last year’s event saw a turnout of only 2,400 per day over the three days.
“Everyone’s saying the world’s not in a good place right now, and I’m just over this crap,” said Mumme. “Surely the Prime Minister must understand that if he keeps up this rhetoric, Australians will think twice about leaving home and going to the football, attending festivals or just moving about doing the things we like to do.”
“We should be getting out and going to festivals and sporting arenas and community events and standing strong as a nation. Mr Abbott needs to understand how his statements impact the community and our economy before it’s too late.”
“We, along with hundreds of other organisations, are committed to building community ties through sporting and cultural events and, in our case, showcasing regional NSW to a broader audience both in Australia and overseas.”
“It certainly would be great if the Prime Minister could help us keep doing that. I extend an invite to Tony Abbott to come to our humble little festival in Narooma to enjoy himself.”
Now, as far as we know, recent sporting and cultural events, such as the State of Origin, experienced healthy levels of attendance and if they didn’t, it probably had more to do with the problems we mentioned above, such as the sluggish economy.
There’s many things one could blame on Tony Abbott, even when it comes to the music industry, but if we’re being perfectly honest, we don’t think dwindling festival attendance is one of them and we certainly don’t think you could blame it on his anti-terrorist rhetoric.
Regardless, if you’d like to stick it to the man and show that you won’t be intimidated, this year’s Great Southern Blues Festival at Narooma kicks off Friday, 2nd October and run till Sunday, 4th October, with a lineup featuring Blue King Brown, JJ Grey & Mofro, and more.