Aussies moving away from festivals towards stadium acts


Australians are moving away from music festivals towards stadium acts, with bad weather and rising costs identified as factors in the shift.

New figures by Flight Centre Travel Group’s Stage and Screen show 89 per cent of young people (18 to 35) cite multiple reasons deterring them from attending festivals.

Almost a third (31%) of respondents now prefer a headline act, such as Taylor Swift and P!NK, in a city stadium.

Two thirds (66%) cited ticket prices as a major deterrent. More than one third (35%) are put off by the sheer logistical challenges of getting to festival locations as well as the general ‘festival atmosphere’.

One third of 18-35s (33%) additionally want to avoid exposure to bad weather, with festivals generally having limited available shelter. Over half (58%) of female respondents cited safety concerns.

In conjunction with the survey, Stage and Screen analysed Flight Centre bookings to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concerts in February. It discovered an 88 per cent increase in fare sales to Sydney around the concert dates (February 23-26) compared with the week prior. Flight bookings to Melbourne around Swift’s concert dates there (February 16-18) increased by 89 per cent on the week prior.

In comparison, Splendour in the Grass and BluesFest witnessed far lower flight booking volumes to their events. Flight bookings to Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass last year (specifically from July 21-23) were 49 per cent higher than the week prior. Stage and Screen also compared flight volumes from to Byron Bay’s BluesFest this year (specifically March 28 to April 1), and saw a mere 1.6 per cent increase in bookings on the week prior.

Stage and Screen general manager Adam Moon says the data highlights a major music culture shift across the country, with rising costs, the elements and logistics fuelling the trend.

“Price, convenience and comfort are clearly steering fans towards headline acts in city stadiums, but our figures show that ‘FOMO’ is another factor,” he said.

“Major international artists only come to Australia every few years and the last time Taylor Swift toured Australia was in 2018. Festivals, however, are typically held every year.

“This is proving to be a costly shift for festivals, with a recent report showing only half of the nation’s festivals are now profitable.”

Moore says the data offers a chance for festival organisers to evolve.

“Providing more shelter, reducing ticket costs, ensuring safety and an inclusive atmosphere could breathe life back into this beloved Australian pastime,” he said.

“Perhaps now is the time to rekindle the flame of our homegrown talent and revisit the power of grassroots music. We’re a big believer of supporting artists of all stripes at Stage and Screen and we’re passionate about nurturing the very soul of Australian music.”