Lets Talk Festivals: Cancelled or Continuing?

Music festivals are reacting to the current global pandemic in a variety of different ways, from cancellations to postponements, only the brave few are pushing forward with their events. 

Photo Credit: Festicket

This week news broke that Listen Out music festival was cancelled due to continuing social distancing laws and new spikes in Coronavirus cases inside Australia. This festival was one of the last music events to reveal its cancellation with organisers hoping the situation in Australia would change by the set dates in September. Days later and in contrast to Listen Out’s announcement, BIGSOUND, another renowned music festival and conference; announced that it would continue its 2020 edition of the festival despite increased Coronavirus fears. BIGSOUND revealed it would implement reduced capacity and social distancing regulations. 

Listen Out

Photo Credit: Pedestrian TV

Beloved electronic and hip-hop touring music festival Listen Out has just announced that it will not be continuing the 2020 edition of their events that were set to occur in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney. Starting in 2013, Listen Out is one of Australia’s biggest touring music festivals with three stages and an amazing portfolio of past music artists from home legends Flume and Rüfüs Du Sol to overseas superstars Childish Gambino and Travis Scott. Although its no surprise the festival called it quits amidst a global pandemic, it further exemplifies the extent to which the Coronavirus pandemic is annihilating the live music industry.

In the leadup to the festival, Listen Out refrained from revealing its artist lineup and limited their social media activity on all social media platforms. Even with the festival rapidly approaching, festival dates were never set. This is likely due to the uncertainty that 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic brought, which was probably a wise decision on their behalf.

In a press statement the festival told fans, “Well, we waited as long as we possibly could in case it became possible… but as you probably expected, the Listen Out / Listen In Aust & NZ tour can’t go ahead this year. We’re already working hard on Listen Out / Listen In 2021 and we cannot wait to see you there!”

Like all of us eager punters at home, Listen Out clearly held onto the hope that by some act of God the festival would go ahead this year. Although 2020 Listen Out has been cancelled, we at least have their 2021 event to look forward to with the team already in the organisational stages. Let’s hope next year’s festival is jam-packed with amazing artists and good times to make up for a not so eventful 2020.

Well, we waited as long as we possibly could in case it became possible… but as you probably expected, the Listen Out /…

Posted by Listen Out on Sunday, 12 July 2020



Photo Credit: Purple Sneakers

On the flipside, Brisbane’s BIGSOUND is going full steam ahead in October this year with a Covid-19-safe plan to ensure the event is following the appropriate procedures during the current pandemic. BIGSOUND is both a music festival and music conference where current and pertinent issues in music are explored with organisers reinforcing the need for the event to continue in the face of such instability in the music industry.

“With the culture of our industry under threat from COVID-19, our industrial culture under scrutiny as we face head-on the structural inequities for women, LGBTQI+ and First Nations people, and our culture as a nation under the spotlight as global trends put even more pressure on local artists and local stories, never has it been more essential for BIGSOUND to proceed and succeed,” said QMusic CEO Angela Samut in a press statement.

The event which is being held in the Fortitude Valley will differ slightly to previous years events running over two nights instead of four with reduced crowd capacity to follow social distancing guidelines. Organisers have told attendees that throughout the event they will execute “social distancing and safety protocols with a condensed program of conferences, workshops, facilitated conversations, live festival showcases, secret shows and official parties across two days and two nights across Wednesday 21 October and Thursday 22 October 2020.”

In previous years BIGSOUND hosted top Australian music artists such as Tones and I, G Flip, Kwame, Confidence Man, Cub Sport, and Vera Blue. The music festival/conference event also boasts a series of amazing speakers in the music industry including Fyre Festival’s Andy King, Declan Byrne from triple j, Australian music legend Paul Kelly, and many more. BIGSOUND also showcases emerging artists to showcase new talent and boost their music careers. Applications are now open to perform as an emerging artist at BIGSOUND, follow the link here.

There has been lots of support for the continuation of BIGSOUND with The Queensland Minister For The Arts Leeanne Enoch stating that she believes the festival is essential for the revitalisation of the live music industry.

“The reactivation of Queensland’s live music industry is highly anticipated and I am confident that BIGSOUND will play a central role in Queensland’s plan for recovery.”

Delegate passes for BIGSOUND 2020 will be on sale August 3rd and general festival tickets will be on sale September 17th. Apply for pre-sale here. With countless festivals either cancelled or postponed, at least we have one music event to look forward in the not so far future!

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