There’s few things that Australian’s love more than their live music – it’s just a shame that we don’t get a lot of it here. The EDM scene has exploded overseas, but festivals are yet to reach critical mass down under. As an avid festival-goer myself, it is painfully obvious that Australia’s sparse population is preventing its events from becoming internationally renowned.
Ultra Music Festival
Take Ultra Music Festival (UMF) for example. Ultra Miami hosts around 170,000 people and brings in hordes of unique artists to fill their 3-day, 7 stage roster.
Ultra Australia runs 3 stages – Main, Resistance (Trance) and UMF Radio. Essentially, the same 1-day event is played in Sydney and Melbourne, with the artists playing for 40,000 people over the Saturday and Sunday.
Although it’s a step in the right direction, Sydney and Melbourne tend to be the only metropolis’ large enough to feed the goliath appetite of the major festival labels.
One of the other reasons for our scenes size is the demographics. Although 58% of Aussie millenials attend festivals, directly injecting AU$1.2b into the economy, the older folks just aren’t into it.
As Ultra Australia powers into it’s 2nd year in 2020, Aussies shouldn’t get too attached. Creamfields, a festival mega-label owned by UK club promoter Cream, ventured into the Aussie market in 2010, only to sheepishly withdraw 2 years later.
With successful editions of Creamfields in Hong Kong, Chile and China, it’s clear that the Aussie EDM market is a headscratcher when it comes to turning a decent profit.
Another sign of the times is the rise of FOMO, a 3 year-old Australian electronic festival hosting names including Kaytranada and Madeon. The title, an acronym for ‘Fear Of Missing Out‘, aims to be an ‘all-inclusive entertainment experience’ – hosting ONE stage for only ONE day.
Must be getting REALLY expensive to entice artists to fly to Australia.
Despite its small roster, the festival has flourished and patrons are happy to cop the AU$150 price tag. Coupled with the fact that promoters blatantly use the tagline ‘Only Australian Show‘ to sell tickets; it’s a telling sign that we’re quite desperate for some big names down under.
Despite this, I still look to the future with positivity.
Australia has a strong niche market for hardstyle and trance. Harder Styles United (HSU) hosts multiple hardstyle events per year with attendance often breaching 10,000, whilst sourcing leading artists from the Netherlands.
Mainstays like Splendour in the Grass, Laneway Festival and Listen Out power on, often backed by amazing local talent.
Many artists such as Dom Dolla, Blanke, What So Not and more have expressed their opinion on the festival scene in Australia. I believe it is only a matter of time until the festival scene establishes a home here.