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Festival Fatigue Among Small and Large Events Alike

From Faster Louder yesterday:

Late last year, FasterLouder’s parent company Sound Alliance ran an online survey to find out your take on a range of topics. 5,000 respondents aged between 18-30 years old from Sound Alliance websites responded, making it the most comprehensive survey of its kind in Australia.

Well, the results are in, and they have some telling answers about that ‘fatigue’ question. While some punters are tiring of festivals, the good news is that the festival industry still has plenty of life in it yet.

“About a third of respondents agreed that they enjoy festivals less than they used to, which is natural as early adopters move on and get that bit older,” says Sound Alliance Managing Director Neil Ackland. “But the vast majority, 76%, disagreed with that statement.”

“When a festival like Big Day Out sells 200,000+ tickets a year, it’s hardly underground anymore, and this is reflected in the survey results where 74% agreed that festivals have become very mainstream, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

“Whilst the festival scene has most definitely tipped, prices of tickets are still seen by most, to represent good value for money,” says Ackland. “Just 15% thought otherwise.” Big Day Out in particular fared well with 71% stating that they intended to buy a ticket next year.

So the industry is still going strong despite "about a third" of survey participants stating less enjoyment at festivals than previously. Almost three quarters are still very much enjoying festivals, although they acknowledge festivals becoming "very mainstream."

A comment from Faster Louder user, ThatDude123, on the Sound Alliance survey, caught my eye:

Were any questions asked about overcrowding on the festival market? When I filled it out I don't remember any, and that seems to be the big issue when I talk to people. It isn't that festivals are better/worse (in fact I personally find them to be better due to our strong dollar bringing in top acts and better understanding of the logistics involved), it's just that you can only take so much time off work and spend so much money before you are eventually fired/broke.

Really the biggest success story of the festival season so far, I'd say, is the Laneway Festival. In less than five years it's sold out two major markets and brought a crowd who usually find festivals "disgusting" and "mainstream" back to festivals.

As opposed, Big Day Out promoter Ken West said to Faster Louder last year that the festival has had numerous reasons and opportunities to skip a year. Glastonbury is taking 2012 off according to Faster Louder in the same article.

Last year, Katherine Feeney of The Brisbane Times wrote about the sheer quantity of festivals in Australia and reasons why the public might be sick of them. The comments confirm the idea that festivals are no longer about music, but an overcrowded, wasteful experience of drug taking (me thinks I'll address the extortionate drink prices at festivals another day), ridiculous sunglasses and fluoro t-shirts.

In the article, Jan Skubiszewski of Melbourne band Jackson Jackson states his view that festivals are "mass populated" and that niche events are starting to emerge, much to the preference of musicians and other creative types looking for differing, improved gig experiences.

However, the more these niche events come up, the more I see of these mini-festivals fail. There was BAM! Festival and Lost Weekend at the same Queensland venue last year, and Blueprint which lost $500,000 in Victoria, late 2009. Trailer Trash, as mentioned by Skubiszewski, has turned to the Woodford festivals calendar to run its programme, opting to cater to a captive audience inside the Planting, Woodford Folk and other festivals held at the venue.

Another result is the constant barging of club events at bars. Is there now just too much of the same stuff happening, that punters are too busy with pubs and clubs to fork out for festivals? Gossip, 299 or whatever the heck that place is, constantly finds a way to invite me via Facebook to every event at the venue. Rosie's Tavern is another in Brisbane that does a similar job. I don't even like DJs or care for any of the unknown bands they promote.

I would definitely like to do more exploration as to the reasons of Australian mini-festival success rates in comparison to larger events. What are your experiences at larger versus smaller festivals?

Building Resilience Against Depression: Round 2

They're back! The next Building Resilience programme runs as an all-inclusive one day event on 5th February and all the information is available at the website.

Building Resilience is a not-for-profit association, set up to empower individuals who suffer from depression or low moods to seek assistance through conventional, natural and creative therapies. More than one in five Aussies are facing this every day, so it's a very important issue that can be worked on in safe, comfortable surroundings.

Building Resilience Logo

I wrote about their maiden, August programme back in July.

Some of the topics covered are conventional such as psychology, exercise, nutrition and medication; others are natural such as acupuncture and naturopathy; whilst some are creative (yay!) such as art therapy.

“We are endeavouring set up a program that helps participants to gain clarity about their path to happiness, through the assistance of a variety of trained practitioners.”

Details

When: Saturday, 5th February, 2011 When: 9am - 4:30pm Where: The Exchange, Shop 1, 42 Blamey Street, Kelvin Grove, QLD Pricing: $70 or $40 concession. The cost to attend is based on your current financial means and is self-selecting. For example, if you are employed full time, choosing the full price would be appropriate. If you are not currently employed, then choose the concession price. Relaxing, huh?

You should totally check it out. I think I might even sign up for this one, so I hope to see you there!

By the way, if you or someone you care about is in crisis and requires immediate assistance please contact one of the services below:

Ambulance Services – call 000 Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 SANE 1800 18 7263

Building Resilience Against Depression

Building Resilience is a not-for-profit association, set up to empower individuals who suffer from depression or low moods to seek assistance through conventional, natural and creative therapies. More than one in five Aussies are facing this every day, so it's a very important issue that can be worked on in safe, comfortable surroundings.

Building Resilience Logo

The programme, starting in Brisbane on July 27th, encompasses both educational and active aspects to support and treat anyone in their journey fighting depression.

Program creator Nadine Zrinzo has been battling depression for the past 15 years.

“What I learnt is that everyone’s experience with depression is different and that a one size fits all approach will not always work. We all need to manage the complexities of our lives, families, jobs and other priorities, making it sometimes necessary to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to managing depression.”

I agree! And the programme reflects this pretty well. Some of the topics covered are conventional such as psychology, exercise, nutrition and medication; others are natural such as acupuncture and naturopathy; whilst some are creative (yay!) such as art therapy. The topics covered for the course starting on the 24th August are available at the website. My favourite angle they examine is self-care, something I struggle with a lot.

There are just twelve participants in each work group, so there is a relaxed atmosphere. They even let you bring a loved one for support. Sometimes the people around us need a hand too, and it can help them understand what really helps us get by.

“We are endeavouring set up a program that helps participants to gain clarity about their path to happiness, through the assistance of a variety of trained practitioners.”

Details

When: Tuesday 24 August - Tuesday 6 October When: 6pm - 8pm Where: The Exchange, Shop 1, 42 Blamey Street, Kelvin Grove, QLD

Building Resilience is celebrating their first round on August 24th, with an introductory 50% rate. Check it out, or pass onto anyone you think would benefit.

If you or someone you care about is in crisis and requires immediate assistance please contact one of the services below:

Ambulance Services – call 000 Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 SANE 1800 18 7263