Rising insurance costs pose threat to Australian music festivals

Industry calls for government support

Rising insurance costs pose threat to Australian music festivals

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

Festival organisers have expressed concerns about the escalating challenges confronting Australia’s music festivals, attributed to rising insurance costs and stringent regulations.

During a Senate inquiry in Canberra, Adelle Robinson from the Australian Festival Association (AFA) detailed significant increases in insurance premiums, some as much as tenfold, and a 40% rise in operational costs. The inquiry is part of an evaluation of a five-year national cultural policy initiated in January 2023 to revive the arts sector.

Challenges facing Australian live entertainment industry

Describing the situation as a crisis caused by these concurrent issues, Robinson referred to it as a “perfect storm” adversely affecting the festival industry.

“Festivals are currently experiencing a crisis from a combination of issues occurring at once, to create what we see as a perfect storm,” she said, as reported by The Advocate.

According to Robinson, more than 25 music festivals across Australia have been cancelled since 2022, including the notable cancellation of the 2024 Splendour in the Grass.

The committee also heard from Adrian Collette, CEO of Creative Australia, who acknowledged the sector’s pressing problems. Speaking from Italy, Collette highlighted recent government-backed music projects and promised urgent discussions with state authorities to tackle the challenges.

Meanwhile, Mitch Wilson of the festival association voiced concerns over what was described as the inadequate role of Music Australia in orchestrating the festival ecosystem.

“Having government funded new events competing against those ones trying to re-establish just really distorted the market,” Wilson said, as reported by The Advocate.

Australian live entertainment industry calls for government support

Proposals to enhance government support include the distribution of live entertainment vouchers to youth, a successful approach in Europe.

Peter Noble, of Bluesfest Byron Bay, differentiated his festival from those operated by multinational entities, noting the impact of corporate decisions on festival sustainability.

“I think the multinationals are a different animal,” he said, as reported by The Advocate. “We are seeing that more and more recently, and how that their primary loyalty is to the shareholders and that may have a devastating effect.”

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