Metavents launches study into the true cost of cancelled festivals.

Updated: Jan 24, 2019

Metavents in partnership with Future Music Industry Network (FMIN) launches a comprehensive study into the economic impact of cancelled festivals.

The survey will run from May 30 - June 31.

Findings will be available mid July.

For more information contact:

The first phase of the study will focus on Australia but we are currently seeking international partners to make this a global study.

This research will attempt to quantify the true costs of cancelled festivals across Australia, since 2012. We will then simulate what the next five years might look like if more festivals succeeded. The research will comprise of surveys tailored to the following cohorts:

  • Festival directors, producers & core team

  • Festival stakeholders

  • Audio/Visual artist & performers

  • Labour, supplier & vendor ecosystem

  • Emergency management, safety & security

  • Grants, partnerships, sponsorship & investment

  • Attendees & community

  • Education, work experience & Career pathways

This study follows on from research conducted between 2014 - 2016 on festival failure drivers from which, Metavents was designed. Many of the insights have come directly from observing the planning and operations of 2015 Soundwave, 2015 Stereosonics, 2015 & 2016 Maitreya Festivals.

Maitreya Festival 2015

A recent post in the Melbourne Doofers Facebook group requesting names of cancelled festivals quickly return a rather large and depressing list. However, it also demonstrated the willingness of the festival community to engage in constructive discussion on the subject.

Cancelled Festivals 2012 - 2017.

2017 The Shiny Disco Ball ACT

2017 Autumn Equinox QLD

2017 Monsoon Rockstock QLD

2017 Party In The Park NSW

2017 Chi Wow Wah Town VIC

2017 Bushweek FNQLD

2017 Earth VIC

2017 Yemaya VIC

2017 Maitreya QLD

2017 Babylon NSW

2016 Cheesfest (Food&Wine) SA

2016 Disconnect WA

2016 Maitreya VIC

2016 Soundwave VIC, NSW, SA, QLD, WA

2016 Stereosonic VIC, NSW, SA, QLD, WA

2016 Legion (Soundwave replacement) VIC, NSW, SA, QLD, WA

2016 Local Produce VIC

2016 Lucid Labyrinth NSW

2016 Burning Seed NSW

2016 Confest VIC

2015 Bojangles VIC

2015 Soulfest VIC

2015 Yemaya VIC

2015 Industrial Jungle VIC

2015 Big Day Out VIC, NSW, SA, QLD, WA

2015 BFG Winter Solstice VIC

2014 Future Music VIC, NSW, SA, QLD, WA

2014 Fat as Butter, NSW

2014 Bojangles VIC

2014 Harmonize QLD

2013 Parklife VIC

2013 Confest VIC

2013 Psychedelica VIC

2013 Harvest VIC

2013 Lost The Plot VIC

2012 Playground Weekender VIC

2012 Royal Doof VIC

2012 Good Vibes VIC, NSW, QLD, WA

2012 Pyramid Rock VIC

List of festival disasters prior to 2012 Tonedeaf

Article on Western Australian event industry in crises Scenestr

While Australia is geographically disadvantaged, with a much smaller market to other countries, festivals globally share the same problems with planning and execution. Everfest List of cancelled US festivals for 2016

Producing a festival in Australia is only getting harder. An outdoor event called The Shiny Disco Ball was cancelled as recently as two days ago. Despite having met every legal requirement, it was shut down by the Australian Federal Police on the day of the event. The cancellation was made worse due to it being a fundraiser for the crew's earlier festival, Psyfari which took a significant financial loss.

In a similar scenario, one of Australia's most respected festivals, Earth Frequency from Queensland was almost cancelled due to planning difficulties. It did manage to proceed but took a significant financial loss as a consequence. They set up a GoFundMe Campaign seeking assistance of $50,000.

Earth Frequency Festival 2016

While some of the events listed above have been train wrecks, they all pale in comparison to the recent, Fyre Festival. Founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule are now facing several class action lawsuits. One of them worth AU$133m. The video below offers a glimpse into the ill-fated event.

Fyre Festival 2017

By now, you should have a good idea of the challenges our beloved festival industry and culture is facing. While we are confident Metavents will solve most of the problems associated with planning a large scale event, much more needs to be done. We need to come together as an industry and fix our own problems using the best data, technology and thinking currently available to us. So mark the 30th of May in your calendars and keep 20 min spare to participate in the first of our surveys.

On behalf of the Metavents team, thank you for reading, sharing and discussing.

PS Don't forget to subscribe.

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