Future of music festivals during COVID-19

Falls+Festival+

Scott Gelston

Falls Festival

Natalie Escobar

As restrictions begin to lift around Australia, many are wondering how the future of music festivals will look post-COVID-19.

Many festivals have been either cancelled or postponed till later in the year such as popular festival Splendour in the Grass which has been rescheduled for October.

Music festivals have become a way for people to take a break from their everyday life to socialise with friends.

If festivals are left with major restrictions, sociologist from Edith Cowan University Dr Hossein Adibi says they will lack their normal exciting atmosphere.

“Music festivals create an atmosphere to attract a large number of people to attend. So, they always create this atmosphere and if they are not able to create that atmosphere than that would be one of the major setbacks.”

Dr Adibi states that festivals also help create what sociologists call a “collective experience.”

“Collective experience is various aspects of human experiences; music is a very powerful force of emotions, and it is really important to know how people even relate to music in their own life or in music festivals.

This is extremely important because music can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals.”

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison, states that Australia will not be opening its international borders “anytime soon,” the attraction of international artists to festivals is also looking unlikely.

Falls Festival, however, is planned to go ahead for 2020/21 with an all Australian line up instead.

Avid festival goer, Jessica Snowball, says she would still go to festivals despite the lack of international acts.

“I would definitely go to Falls if it was just an Australian line up just because personally, I have a very huge taste for Australian indie.

I like a lot of Australian bands so I know it would still be good regardless for me.”

Festivals in Australia also bring in tourism and with the borders not opening anytime soon, there could be a number of effects due to the limitations.

“Music festivals have become an international event, which has now become more commercialised and becomes more of a tourist attraction than just domestic ones. Now becoming a general attraction, attracting international visitors.

This is a big issue, economical issue, cultural issue and for governments and for many other aspects,” says Dr Adibi.

Although some festivals still plan to go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic, music festivals are most likely never going to be the same.