Our Festival pauses as costs rise

The much-loved Caloundra Music Festival (CMF) will take a break in 2024 due to the impact of rising operating costs and cost-of-living pressures on event ticket sales.

Our Festival pauses as costs rise

It will join the growing list of major music festivals across Australia that have been affected by similar challenges.

As such, CMF, which won the People’s Choice Award for Festival of the Year at the Queensland Music Awards, will not be held this October, but there are hopes of a return in 2025 if conditions improve.

Creative Australia, the Australian Government’s principal arts investment and advisory body, released a report on April 9, 2024, listing rising operational costs as the most significant barrier to running a music festival (Home - Creative Australia ).

CMF, like many other festivals, has experienced rising operating costs, including event infrastructure, production, security, policing, labour/crew costs, travel/ transport, accommodation and others.

Additionally, the impact of higher interest rates, rent, fuel, power and food costs on household budgets means patrons have less disposable income for festival tickets and other entertainment.

At a Council meeting in February 2023, Council backed the Festival, giving it the opportunity to run for three years from 2023 to 2025. Running two events over three years may still be a viable option and a new 2025 date will be considered by the new Council in coming months.

Sunshine Coast Council Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg said the annual event had provided considerable economic benefit to the region, estimated to be more than $4 million per year.

“The increasing expenditure required to deliver a safe and entertaining event while trying to keep tickets prices reasonable puts festivals like this in a precarious position,” Cr Landsberg said.

“We needed to make a decision early in the planning process to avoid the potential of costly cancellation fees.

“This is a real loss for our local event industry, and local businesses that have supported or benefited from this event for so many years.

“Hopefully, conditions will improve, and it can get back on its feet.”

Festival Director Richie Eyles said the festival had provided an enormous and rare opportunity for local performers to get a leg-up into the festival scene.

CMF has supported hundreds of local artists who have shared the stage with Australian headliners such as Powderfinger, Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, John Butler Trio, Jimmy Barnes, Empire of the Sun, The Cat Empire, Jet, The Temper Trap, just to name a few,” Mr Eyles said.

“Then there’s the international artists including Michael Franti, Arrested Development, George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, Tower of Power, The New Power Generation and countless others.

“The Sunshine Coast has such a vibrant music community and the loss of CMF, alongside other events in 2024, like Groovin the Moo, will be felt deeply.

“I encourage people to support other festivals, venues and artists by purchasing tickets often and early.

“The 2024 Queensland Music Awards have again highlighted champions of rural touring, with two of the top three Regional Venues nominated for the People’s Choice award being King’s Beach Tavern and Solbar at Maroochydore.”

Tickets are on sale for the Maleny Music Festival and the Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival .