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ITNTW: You better not kill the Groovin – Can the Aussie music festival scene be revived?

Barely two-weeks from ticket release, Australian music festival Groovin the Moo (GTM) has released a shock announcement that the festival will not be going ahead in 2024. Blaming the decision on insufficient ticket sales, the announcement has caused major upset and backlash amongst fans. The cancellation comes after several other Aussie music festivals have also had to call it quits including Falls Festival and ValleyWays. 

Is this really the beginning of the end for Aussie music festival culture or is poor organisation to blame? 

The Greens Party blamed rising cost of living pressures for the decrease in ticket sales, arguing young people are having to give up luxury purchases like concert and festival tickets. But with an ample amount of young fans willing to spend thousands of dollars on tickets for stars such as Taylor Swift, it’s clear the demand for music events is still high. 

Perhaps GTM just needed a little PR makeover to keep the public behind them.

GTM has long branded itself as a ‘regional festival’, touring to smaller towns around the country that often wouldn’t get to see such a large-scale event at their doorstep. These festivals were a major economic boost to the towns, regularly selling out accommodation and providing support for local businesses.

However, GTM recently announced several changes of venues, moving to more metropolitan areas. The NSW Maitland festival was relocated to Newcastle this year, a decision met with large backlash. Festival goers believed there never was a problem with hosting it in Maitland, so why move? 

But that wasn’t the only location that recently got the axe from  GTM. In fact, it seems Townsville mayor, Jenny Hill, may have predicted the downfall of the festival after its QLD leg was relocated from Townsville to the Sunshine Coast last year. Hill labelled the Sunshine Coast as “an outer suburb of Brisbane” in an interview with the ABC, slamming Triple J for their lack of support to regional areas such as Townsville, believing GTM would no longer be able to successfully brand itself as a regional festival. 

And she’s not wrong. The other stops for GTM this year included Canberra and Adelaide, which means an overwhelming majority of the festival’s destinations are no longer regional. 

If you’re branding yourself as one thing but delivering another, you’re almost guaranteed to be set up for failure.  

But that’s not the only influence on GTM’s downfall. People are also blaming the lineup. Once host to world famous artists such as Billie Eilish, Fisher and Fat Boy Slim, 2024’s lineup was met with disappointment from many. 

Perhaps GTM was lacking bigger acts to persuade people to purchase tickets this year. Or perhaps they just needed to better market the lineup they had. GTM traditionally releases their lineup in an A-Z format, with all acts appearing in the same sized font in a single paragraph of text. Key performers such as Jet, The Kooks, GZA and former ‘Spice Girl’ Melanie C are all lost in the long list.  

Many other festivals release a lineup with key acts marketed as headliners in larger, bolder fonts grabbing attention from audience’s straight away. If you’re sitting on the fence about buying tickets but a key act easily catches your eye as you’re scrolling instagram, it might just be all you need to be convinced. 

Beyond just the set list, GTM could’ve improved strategies throughout the whole campaign. Their only major partners were Triple J, Spotify and MoshTix, meaning their branding didn’t go beyond anything but the music itself. GTM organisers should have partnered with clothing retailers, alcohol brands and influencers to boost publicity and generate momentum around the lead up to the shows, something that many other Aussie festivals successfully do every year.    

Although it may be hard to pinpoint exactly what caused GTM to call it quits this year, it’s clear that if they wish to make a successful comeback in 2025, they will need to undergo some major rebranding. 

Written by Victoria Guest–  PR & Influencer Coordinator @ InsideOut PR & #AsSeenOn

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