Australia Now Has an Industry Body For Music Festivals

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A music festival-goer displays an Australian flag in Sydney, Australia.

Australia’s legion of festival professionals is now represented for the first time by a trade body, the Australian Festival Association (AFA).

Unveiled Friday (Dec. 21), the AFA is led by festival veterans Jessica Ducrou (Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Download) Matthew Lazarus-Hall (CMC Rocks QLD, ex-Chugg Entertainment), Rod Little (Groovin The Moo, The Plot), Adelle Robinson (Listen Out, Listen In, Field Day, Harbourlife, Curve Ball) and Danny Rogers (St Jerome’s Laneway Festival), with an aspiration to help its members “deliver safe and well-run” festivals around the country, and to establish “world-leading operating standards” for the industry. 

According to a statement, AFA was created so its members could share and shape better practice strategies, from event liquor licensing to drug policy, harm minimization practice, building code compliance, green initiatives, user pays policing, event medical guidelines, and third-party ticket sites.

“Our aims are to make festivals safer for patrons, and reduce friction between festival promoters and regulatory bodies, by aligning evidence based practices and decades of combined industry experience with the requirements of government policy,” reads a joint statement. “We are also committed to ensuring the ongoing viability of festivals as thriving businesses, significant municipal events and sites of global cultural exchange in the interest of all Australian citizens.”

Australia’s broader music industry is well served by a range of industry associations, supporting record companies (ARIA) and indies (AIR), promoters and ticketers (LPA), artist managers (AAM), publishers (AMPAL), retailers (AMRA), country music (CMAA) and even blockchain enthusiasts (ABMA) and the media (MMEA). The festivals space, one of the crown jewels of Australia’s music industry, hasn’t had a dedicated association, until now. 

The launch of AFA follows the publication of Live Performance Australia’s 2017 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report, which found the “contemporary music” festivals category last year enjoyed a “significant increase” in attendance and in revenue, by 26% to A$100.7 million ($71 million), powered by Splendour in the Grass, Bluesfest, CMC Rocks Qld, Gympie Muster, Groovin’ the Moo and other brands. Expect the festivals category to continue in this trajectory following the launch this year of the three-city Good Things, and the ongoing expansion of the traveling Download fest.

AFA membership is open to festival owners, operators and managers through to site managers, production managers and bar operators. The organization also welcomes venues and venue groups working alongside the festival industry and there are membership plans for not-for-profit groups operating in festival-land.

Annual membership covers administration, legal advice, media strategy and more. Options are open to festivals that have been operating for three years or more, are ticketed and licensed to sell alcohol and have a capacity of 2,000 patrons or more, with fees starting at A$2,500 ($2,770) plus-GST. Fees for festival professionals start at A$250 ($177) plus-GST for not-for-profits, rising to A$500 ($355) plus-GST.

Read more at www.australianfestivalassociation.com.


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