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Are We In A Festival Cancellation Crisis?

22 February 2023 | 10:18 am | Parry Tritsiniotis

5 festivals have been cancelled or postponed in the past month.

(Image via: Duncographic)

Many independent festivals are struggling due to factors outside of their control.

More NRG Music & Arts, 2 Degrees Festival, Play On The Plains, Lunar Electric Festival and Laneway Festival Auckland have all been cancelled in the past month.

At the end of last year, Strawberry Fields was also cancelled. Splendour In The Grass also had their first day cancelled due to flooding of the festival site. 

The factors as to why range wide, with the festivals quoting poor ticket sales, flooding, COVID, bushfires, venue insecurity and more.

The news broke today with 2 Degrees Festival, an emerging dance music festival who had to cancel 2 days out due to extreme heat and threat of fire. They had already postponed twice, firstly due to COVID then secondly thanks to La Niña and the floods of winter last year.

The festival's promoters released a statement saying, "we have tried our very best to keep pushing through mother nature but our event this weekend will now be cancelled."

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It continues, "We have had constant consultation with the CFA Emergency Services and Council but we have been forced to cancel due to the safety of all patrons. An active fire 8kms from our site, while contained, has been deemed to much of a risk due to weather conditions over the weekend."

Other festivals have also faced a similar fate in regard to weather and other external factors driving low ticket sales. 

More NRG Music & Arts Festival also had to cancel their festival saying, "Unfortunately, everything from light rain to storms has been forecasted for the next week. These predictions are continuing to change on a daily basis but with the combination of already low ticket sales we have to manage risk."

It was just earlier this month that Laneway Festival Auckland cancelled their leg of the tour for flooding, "Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented weather event in Auckland we have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel Laneway Festival." A  record-breaking 249mm of rain fell over 24 hours in Auckland. 

Play On The Plains festival, a community-run, not-for-profit event that would have celebrated its third year in 2023, was also cancelled this month. "Play On The Plains is such a great event, and we’ve been committed to getting it off the ground, but the numbers are just not there," Russell Tait, Chairman of Play On The Plains, explained.

As weather crises and extreme weather events begin to increase, the risk associated with throwing a festival is getting higher and higher each and every single year, leaving many independent festivals having to cancel without much structural support.

The climate crisis is real and music festival promoters are once again facing the brunt of it.