Almost half of all music festivals not making a profit with audiences getting older


A new report by Creative Australia into the nation’s music festivals has found that only 56 per cent of music festivals in 2022-23 were profitable.

The Soundcheck: Insights into Australia’s music festival sector report also found festival audiences are getting older.

Looking at the 535 music festivals held during that year, it found that more than one-third of music festivals are losing money, while eight per cent are just breaking even.

With the median average cost to stage a music festival sitting at $3.3 million, those that do manage to turn a profit make a median average of $731,569 per event.

That figure somewhat hides the true picture, with the highest profit sitting at $47.4 million and the lowest profit at $20,000.

Rising costs are the number one challenge facing organisers (47%), with almost a third saying rising insurance costs were a major problem post Covid coupled with a rise in extreme weather events.

Many organisers also blamed a lack of funding and grants behind their financial challenges. The rising costs of security was another issue facing organisers.

Despite the many challenges, average ticket sales were higher in 2022-23 than pre-Covid levels although the audience demographic was changing.

Festival goers in their mid-to-late twenties have overtaken the 18-24-year-old group as the biggest ticket-buying demographic, with the younger crowd slumping from 41 per cent of all ticket buyers in 2018/19 to 27 per cent in 2022/23.

“We hope this report will help us to better understand the role and contribution of festivals within the broader creative industries as they face multiple challenges,” said Georgie McClean of Creative Australia.