For the international contemporary live music industry

Festivals cancelled as bushfires rage

World News
January 29, 2020

A SWATHE of music events have been cancelled due to record-breaking temperatures causing massive bushfires across the country.

At the time Audience went to print, it was reported that more than 30 people have died and thousands of homes destroyed. The fires have spread across forests and parks in Australia, forcing event organisers to cancel and postpone events.

Among the first events to be cancelled was Subsonic Music Festival (cap. 5,000), which was due to take place at Riverwood Downs in Sydney between 6 and 8 December, but was cancelled four days before the event amid “safety concerns arising from ongoing fires in the area and critically low water levels in the Karuah River”.

Ticket holders were able to access a series of club shows happening in Sydney across the same weekend, but the festival has been postponed indefinitely.

“We had hoped things could have moved along a little quicker, but given the holiday season and the current fire events we still cannot confirm a new date or venue where we can safely hold the event,” says festival director Scott Commens.

“We are working closely with insurers and stakeholders and although we can’t formally notify people regarding the next steps of the process just yet, we hope to have news for you all very soon.”

Craig Richards, Late Nite Tuff Guy and Archie Hamilton were due to play.

Elsewhere, Falls Festival (18,500), was due to take place from 28 to 31 December last year in Lorne, Victoria.

Organisers made a statement on the 29th saying the conditions were too dangerous for the event to continue, forcing 9,000 campers to leave the site.

Halsey, Vampire Weekend and Disclosure were among the artistes booked to play the event. Tickets ranged between A$259-349 (US$17-232) and all ticket holders have been issued refunds. The festival’s sister events in Byron, Marion Bay and Fremantle were unaffected.

Most recently, a leg of the concert series A Day on the Green (20,000) was cancelled. Cold Chisel were set to headline the event on 7 January, in Rutherglen, Victoria but was abandoned “due to unsafe environmental conditions and hazardous air quality”.

“We have been on-site for the past week preparing for the show, and sadly we have seen the air quality deteriorate to a level where we have been advised that it would not be safe to proceed,” says promoter Michael Newton.

“We are also concerned about traffic, given the fires in the area. This is a really unfortunate situation. We do not cancel shows lightly, and we are devastated that we have had to cancel what would have been our first show for 2020.”

The festival is offering refunds via Ticketmaster.

A number of live music events have been organised to raise funds for the relief effort, including TEG Dainty and TEG Live’s Fire Fight Australia, which will take place at ANZ Stadium (70,000) throughout the day on 16 February.

Queen + Adam Lambert, k.d. Lang and Alice Cooper will perform at the sold-out event.

Tickets range from A$70-100 (US$46-66) and contributions will go directly to Red Cross Disaster ‘Relief and Recovery’.

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