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Australia’s Future Music Festival Ends Run, Citing Travel Costs, Attendance Woes, DJ Fees

Australia's traveling dance-music celebration the Future Music Festival has grown too costly to produce and will cease to exist, the event's promoters announced on Thursday.

Australia’s traveling dance-music celebration the Future Music Festival has grown too costly to produce and will cease to exist, the event’s promoters announced on Thursday. In a statement, organizers The Mushroom Group said that despite the critical acclaim of this year’s festival, headlined by Drake, ticket sales “underperformed” — much as they did in 2014.

“Mushroom Group share the belief expressed by a number of promoters globally that the day of the large scale travelling festival in its current form is unfortunately numbered,” the company said. 


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In a separate statement to fans, the festival apologized and echoed Mushroom’s view of multi-city festivals, saying “It’s been a difficult decision to make but in the end travelling the festival in its current form across Australia simply doesn’t make financial sense anymore.”

Without a doubt it’s been a tough stretch for traveling festivals in Australia. The Future news follows last year’s decision by C3 Presents to put the rock-heavy Big Day Out festival on hold for 2015. Another roving Aussie event, Soundwave, has decided to scale back in 2016.

Mushroom took the helm of Future just two years ago. This year’s iteration ran from Feb. 28 through March 9 in major markets across the continent — Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide — and featured Drake, Avicii, The ProdigyAfrojack and Martin Garrix, among many others. (An Asian leg of the event,  scheduled for March 13-14 in Singapore, was canceled over licenses.)

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However, travel costs aren’t the only factors in the roving festival’s demise. Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski told theMusic.com.au that other variables included a fluctuating Australian dollar and the rising popularity of EDM in the United States, which has “seen DJ fees escalating out of control.” Gudinski also cited an increasingly crowded Aussie festival circuit — which has created more “choosy” concert-goers — and rising competition in the booking of major artists.

Mushroom said Future’s closure would not impact its under-18 spin-off festival, Good Life, nor its Day on the Green concert series or the boutique festival Sugar Mountain. Gudinski also said that the company is working on a new festival that will likely focus on fewer markets and would take on an approach that “recognises the desires and needs of today’s music fan.”

A request for additional comment from Mushroom was not immediately returned.