The Landscape of Music Festivals in Australia

  • Breda McCarthy


The landscape of festivals in Australia is a diverse one, ranging from large urban festivals to small, community-based rural festivals. Music, in all its forms, has the potential to contribute social, financial and artistic capital to a community. This chapter seeks to explore the human needs fulfilled by music and understand why such festivals and events have become so popular with policy makers and researchers alike. The chapter is organised as follows. Firstly, the universal appeal of music is explained by drawing on academic concepts of emotion, authenticity, experiential consumption, fandom, subcultures and identity. Secondly the concept of a festival is explored, their cultural value is highlighted and a profile of music festivals in Australasia is given. Recent studies strongly suggest that the number, diversity, and popularity of festivals have grown spectacularly over the past several decades. Thirdly, the commodification of music in modern times is described and the ramifications of festivals for local economies, tourism development and the natural environment are explored. Finally, conclusions are drawn about the future of music festivals in the light of the digital age.


Tourism Development Live Performance Popular Music Ticket Price Significant Economic Impact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abott, J., & Geddie, M. (2001). Event and venue management: Minimizing liability through effective crowd management techniques. Event Management, 6, 259–270.Google Scholar
  2. Agrusa, J., Maples, G., Kitterlin, M., & Tanner, J. (2008). Sensation seeking, culture and the valuation of experiential services. Event Management, 11, 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson, T. D. (1999). Impact analysis of events from an economic point of view. In T. D. Andersson, C. Persson, B. Sahlberg, & L. I. Ström (Eds.), The impact of mega events (pp. 57–67). Östersund: ETOUR.Google Scholar
  4. Arts Queensland. (2010). ArtBeat: Regional arts and culture strategy 2010–2014. Accessed 15 May 2012.
  5. Australia Council. (2009). More than bums on seats: Australian participation in the arts. Accessed 10 May 2012.
  6. Australia Council. (2011). Music sector plan 2010–2012. Accessed 15 May 2012.
  7. Bale, J. (1989). Sports geography. London: Spon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyko, C. (2008). Are you being served: The impacts of a hallmark event on the place meanings of residents. Event Management, 11, 161–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brennan-Horley, C., Connell, J., & Gibson, C. (2007). The Parkes Elvis Revival Festival: Economic development and contested place identities in rural Australia. Geographical Research, 45(1), 71–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carừ, A., & Cova, B. (2003). Revisiting the consumption experience: A more humble but complete view of the concept. Marketing Theory, 3, 267–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cashman, R., & Hughes, A. (Eds.). (1999). Staging the Olympics: The event and its impact. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cho, M. (2004). Assessing accommodation readiness for the 2002 World Cup: The role of Korean-Style Inns. Event Management, 8, 177–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choong-Ki, L., & Taylor, T. (2005). Critical reflections on the economic impact assessment of a mega-event: The case of 2002 FIFA World Cup. Tourism Management, 26, 595–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Collins, A., Flynn, A., Munday, M., & Roberts, A. (2007). Assessing the environmental consequences of major sporting events: The 2003/04 FA cup final. Urban Studies, 44(3), 457–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cox, R., Felton, J., & Chung, K. (1995). The concentration of commercial success in popular music: An analysis of the distribution of gold record. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19(4), 333–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cultural Ministers Council. (2010). Vital signs: Cultural indicators for Australia (First edition consultation draft). Accessed 15 May 2012.
  17. Cultural Ministers Council. (2012). Supporting Australia’s live music industry: Suggested principles for best practice. Accessed15 May 2012.
  18. Curtis, D. (2003). The arts and restoration: A fertile partnership? Ecological Management and Restoration, 4(3), 163–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deccio, C., & Baloglu, S. (2002). Non-host community resident reactions to the 2002 Winter Olympics: The spillover impacts. Journal of Travel Research, 41, 46–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De La Torre, M. (2002). Assessing the values of cultural heritage. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute.Google Scholar
  21. Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. (2012). Flash choirs to mob regional Australia. Press Release, 25 May 2012. Accessed 20 Aug 2012.
  22. Dwyer, L., Mellor, R., Mistilis, N., & Mules, T. (2000). Forecasting the economic impacts of events and conventions. Event Management, 6, 191–204.Google Scholar
  23. Ernst & Young. (2011). Economic contribution of the venue-based live music industry in Australia. Sydney: Australasian Performing Right Association.Google Scholar
  24. Falassi, A. (1987). Festival: Definition and morphology. In A. Falassi (Ed.), Time out of time: Essays on the festival (pp. 1–10). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  25. Falkheimer, J. (2007). Events framed by the mass media: Media coverage and effects of America’s Cup Preregatta in Sweden. Event Management, 11, 81–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Faulkner, B., Chalip, L., Brown, G., Jago, L., March, R., & Woodside, A. (2001). Monitoring the tourism impacts of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Event Management, 6, 231–246.Google Scholar
  27. Florida, R. (2003). The rise of the creative class: And how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Frith, S. (2007). Live music matters. Scottish Music Review, 1(1), 1–17.Google Scholar
  29. Gans, J. S. (1996). Of grand prix and circuses. The Australian Economic Review, 115, 299–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Getz, D. (2007). Event studies: Theory, research and policy for planned events. Oxford: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  31. Gibson, C., & Connell, J. (2003). Bongo Fury’: Tourism, music and cultural economy at Byron Bay, Australia. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 94(2), 164–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gibson, C., & Connell, J. (2005). On the road again: Music and tourism. Clevedon: Channel View Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gibson, C., & Connell, J. (2011). Festival places: Revitalising rural places. Bristol: Channel View Publications.Google Scholar
  34. Gibson, C., & Connell, J. (2012). Music festivals and regional development in Australia. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  35. Gibson, C., & Davidson, D. (2004). Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital: Place marketing, rurality, and resident reactions. Journal of Rural Studies, 20(4), 387–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gibson, C., & Stewart, A. (2009). Reinventing rural places: The extent and impact of regional festivals in rural Australia. Wollongong: University of Wollongong. Accessed 15 May 2012.
  37. Gibson, C., Waitt, G., Walmsley, J., & Connell, J. (2010). Cultural festivals and economic development in regional Australia. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 29(3), 280–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Gorman-Murray, A. (2009). What’s the meaning of Chillout? Rural/urban difference and the cultural significance of Australia’s largest rural GLBTQ festival. Rural Society, 19, 71–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Grunwell, S., & Ha, I. (2008). Film festivals: An empirical study of factors for success. Event Management, 11, 201–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gursoy, D., & Kendall, K. (2006). Hosting mega events: Modeling locals’ support. Annals of Tourism Research, 33(3), 603–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Haxton, P. (1993). A post-event evaluation of the social impacts and community perceptions of mega-events. Thesis (B.Admin.Tourism). Townsville: James Cook University.Google Scholar
  42. Hede, A. M. (2007). Managing special events in the new era of the triple bottom line. Event Management, 11, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hirschman, E., & Holbrook, M. B. (1982). The experiential aspects of consumption: Consumer fantasies, feelings and fun. The Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 132–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Holbrook, M. B. (1995). An empirical approach to representing patterns of consumer tastes, nostalgia, and hierarchy in the market for cultural products. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 13(1), 55–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Holbrook, M. B., & Schindler, R. M. (1989). Some exploratory findings on the development of musical tastes. The Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 119–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Holden, A. (2000). Winter tourism and the environment in conflict: The case of Cairngorm, Scotland. International Journal of Tourism Research, 2, 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Holden, J. (2004). Capturing cultural value: How culture has become a tool of government policy. London: Demos. Accessed 30 May 2012.
  48. Holt, F. (2010). The economy of live music in the digital age. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 13, 243–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jackson, M., Kabwasa-Green, F., & Herranz, J. (2006). Cultural vitality in communities: Interpretation and indicators, culture, creativity, and communities program. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Accessed 30 May 2012.
  50. Jacobson, S., Meduff, M., & Monroe, M. (2007). Promoting conservation through the arts: Outreach for hearts and minds. Conservation Biology, 21(1), 7–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Janeczko, B., Mules, T., & Ritchie, B. (2002). Estimating the economic impacts of festivals and events: A research guide Australia. Research report. Brisbane: Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism.Google Scholar
  52. Jones, C. (2005). Major events, networks and regional development. Regional Studies, 39(2), 185–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jones, B., Scott, D., & Khaled, H. A. (2006). Implications of climate change for outdoor event planning: A case study of three special events in Canada’s National Capital Region. Event Management, 10(1), 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kang, Y. S., & Perdue, R. (1994). Long term impacts of a mega event on international tourism to the host country: A conceptual model and the case of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In M. Uysal (Ed.), Global tourism behaviour (pp. 205–225). New York: International Business Press.Google Scholar
  55. Konecni, V. J. (1982). Social interaction and musical preference. In D. Deutsch (Ed.), The psychology of music (pp. 497–516). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  56. Lacher, K. T. (1989). Hedonic consumption: Music as a product. Advances in Consumer Research, 16, 367–373.Google Scholar
  57. Lash, S., & Urry, J. (1994). Economics of signs and space. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  58. Leyshon, A. (2009). The software slump? Digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy. Environment and Planning A, 41, 1309–1331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mason, K. (2004). Sound and meaning in aboriginal tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(4), 837–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mithen, S. (2005). The singing Neanderthals: The origins of music, language, mind and body. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Moore, A. (2002). Authenticity as authentication. Popular Music, 21(2), 209–233.Google Scholar
  62. Morla, D., & Ladkin, A. (2007). The convention industry in Galicia and Santiago de Compostela: Stakeholder perceptions of its success and potential growth. Event Management, 10(4), 241–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Moscardo, G. (2007). Analyzing the role of festivals and events in regional development. Event Management, 11, 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Nurse, K. (2004). Trinidad carnival: Festival tourism and cultural industry. Event Management, 8(3), 223–230.Google Scholar
  65. Paleo, I., & Wijnberg, N. (2006). Classification of popular music festivals: A typology of festivals and an inquiry into their role in the construction of music genres. International Journal of Arts Management, 8(2), 50–81.Google Scholar
  66. Pearce, P., Moscardo, G., & Ross, G. (1996). Tourism community relationships. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  67. Pine, B. J., & Gilmore, J. H. (1999). The experience economy. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  68. Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.Google Scholar
  69. Plowman, I., Ashkanasy, N., Gardner, J., & Letts, M. (2003). Innovation in rural Queensland: Why some towns thrive while others languish. Brisbane: UQ Business School and Department of Primary Industries.Google Scholar
  70. Pyo, S., Cook, R., & Howell, R. L. (1988). Summer Olympic tourist market: Learning from the past. Tourism Management, 9(2), 137–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Richards, G. (2000). The European cultural capital event: Strategic weapon in the cultural arms race. Journal of Cultural Policy, 6(2), 159–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Richards, G., & Wilson, J. (2004). The impact of cultural events on City Image: Rotterdam, cultural capital of Europe 2001. Urban Studies, 41(10), 1931–1951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ritzer, G. (1999). Enchanting a disenchanted world: Revolutionizing the means of consumption. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  74. Rosen, S. (1981). The economics of superstars. The American Economic Review, 71(5), 845–859.Google Scholar
  75. Saleh, F., & Ryan, C. (1993). Jazz and knitwear: Factors that attract tourists to festivals. Tourism Management, 14, 289–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. SATC. (1997). Opera in the outback. Economic and social impact study. Adelaide: Richard Trembath Research/South Australian Tourism Commission.Google Scholar
  77. Schmitt, B. (1999). Experiential marketing: How to get customers to sense, feel, think, act relate. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  78. Schouten, J., & Alexander, J. (1995). Subcultures of consumption: An ethnography of the new bikers. The Journal of Consumer Research, 22(3), 43–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Scott, L. (1990). Understanding jingles and needledrop: A rhetorical approach to music in advertising. The Journal of Consumer Research, 17(2), 223–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Shankar, A. (2000). Lost in music? Subjective personal introspection and popular music consumption. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 3(1), 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Siegfried, J., & Zimbalist, A. (2006). The economic impact of sports facilities, teams and mega-events. The Australian Economic Review, 39(4), 420–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Stokes, R., & Jago, L. (2007). Australia’s public sector environment for shaping event tourism strategy. International Journal of Event Management Research, 3(1), 42–53.Google Scholar
  83. Teigland, J. (1999). Mega-events and impacts on tourism: The predictions and realities of the Lillehammer Olympics. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 17(4), 305–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Thornton, S. (1995). Club culture: Music media and subcultural capitals. Cambridge, UK: Polity.Google Scholar
  85. Throsby, D. (1995). Culture, economics and sustainability. Journal of Cultural Economics, 19(3), 199–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Throsby, D. (2003). Determining the value of cultural goods: How much (or how little) does contingent valuation tell us? Journal of Cultural Economics, 27(3–4), 275–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Tourism Australia. (2012a). Corporate plan 2011–2014. Accessed 28 May 2012.
  88. Tourism Australia. (2012b). Cultural heritage. Accessed 28 May 2012.
  89. Tourism Queensland. (2006). Queensland tourism strategy – November 2006. Accessed 28 May 2012.
  90. Tourism Queensland. (2012). Annual report 2012–2011. Accessed 28 May 2012.
  91. Wood, N. (2012). Playing with ‘Scottishness’: Musical performance, non-representational thinking and the ‘doings’ of national identity. Cultural Geographies, 19(2), 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessJames Cook University TownsvilleTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations