The summer and autumn season is one of the busiest periods on the yearly music and entertainment calendar, especially since the sun is a-shining and the weather aligning.
But as it is universally known, things are a little bit different in a world of COVID normal.
The last two years have been the harbinger of much suffering for artists and musos, with gig cancellations, decreased attendance, and a whole lot of mundane admin work that organisers simply can’t afford to undertake.
According to Music Victoria chief executive officer Simone Schinkel, it’s been quite a ravaging time. And with the rise of Omicron, she says it’s hard to know how festivals and events will be impacted.
‘We know that there have been a lot of no-shows at other music events locally and internationally, so we’ll have to wait and see,’ Simone says.
‘In addition, when festivals are constantly shifting dates, this creates a snowball effect because they move to a date that a smaller festival is on, and then that smaller festival gets screwed over, so they have to move to another date which impacts everything from contractors to artists.
‘It is so frustrating, and the fact that it keeps happening two years on is very disappointing. Musicians don’t get paid until they play, so there is a whole workforce that is out of work whenever cancellations or postponements happen.’
But a glimpse of hope does seep through the chaos.
Regional music events such as OK Motels and Down South Fest have sold out, which Simone says is a sign of how punters have yearned for their dose of entertainment.
‘That’s a really great and promising sign – that people do want to go to gigs and want to see music again,’ she says.
‘I think that everyone is trying to find ways to do what they love and see these festivals go ahead, but it is taking a lot more work to get that point and to get any outcomes.’
Regional music events set to take place over the coming months:
Geelong Jazz Soirees, Geelong, February 5
Bendigo Blues + Roots Festival, Bendigo, February 10-13
FEASTIVAL, Falls Creek, February 18-20
SummerSalt, Ballarat + Mildura, February and March
As the Cocky Flies, Mount Beauty, March 5
Shepparton Festival, Shepparton, March 18 – April 3
Goomfest, Wangoom, March 19
Macedon Ranges Music Festival, Hanging Rock, March 26
Wrapped Up Fest, Ballan, April 2
Inward Goods, Briagolong, April 20-22
As well as nabbing tickets to regional music festivals, Simone says there are plenty more ways to show support for struggling artists this season (and throughout the year).
‘Buy their music, buy their merch, and if you’re vaxxed and healthy go out and see some music,’ she exclaims.
‘With such high vaccination rates, we have worked hard to get this level of freedom.’
To show your support for music festivals and events across the state, visit Music Victoria’s website here.
Find more with our Regional Events & Festivals calendar.