Splendour in the Grass 2024 was officially cancelled by the event’s organisers yesterday afternoon – in an announcement that paints a grim picture for the future of Australian music.

While a lack of ticket sales are assumed to be the deciding factor behind the cancellation, there is an undeniable list of factors that could be the cause for anticlimactic slump in music festivals in recent years.

Namely, a generation of young people who have had their adventurous streak stifled by pandemic lockdowns and a slowing economy. Three finishing classes of Australian students who never went on a school excursion after their visit to Canberra in year 7, are now not that eager to spend 3 days camping in Byron.

The reasons are, they would sooner spent half the costs of Splendour on a 3 hour Taylor Swift concert in a football stadium. Or, alternatively, the money they’d spend on 3 days in Byron could be redirected to 2-3 weeks in Bali.

The lack of identifiable media channels that have cut-through with young people could also be a cause, with Triple J’s stranglehold on the youth culture weakening with the rise of TikTok and streaming services. As well as this, a lack of funding for the arts now means ‘biggest names in Australian music’ are more often than not one-hit-wonders and industry plants that aren’t really as popular as the 67-year-old music label bosses that ‘found’ them insist.

Splendour in the Grass has become the latest Aussie music festival to be cancelled in recent months – which is bad news for an entire industry. Except for the multinational music corporations who will always survive by bringing overseas artists to Australia for

But what does this mean for grassroots Australian music: with local radio no longer playing the role of kingmaker, and concerts being dominated by international artists who reluctantly visit to squeeze whatever they can out of the ailing Aussie dollar. Will we ever see another Powderfinger or Silverchair?

The answer is absolutely! They’re just going to have to do more with less.

Homegrown musicians say in this difficult climate, they’ve never been more thankful for the nation’s roaring pub scene, with live music thriving between 5-9pm in the 1 out of 10 Australian pubs that aren’t solely reliant on poker machines or yuppie novelties like ‘dog menus’ and 67 craft beer taps pouring $19 pints for partygoers while the downsizing boomer neighbours call the cops repeatedly to complain about noise.



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