Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Festivals seek ways to avoid massive financial losses from COVID-related cancellations and restrictions

Festivals seek ways to avoid massive financial losses from COVID-related cancellations and restrictions
June 7, 2021

Festivals in Victoria and Queensland are looking at ways to avoid massive losses resulting from Victoria’s extended Coronavirus lockdown.

Melbourne’s inaugural RISING festival was cancelled after just one day and is looking at ways to mitigate the millions of dollars in lost revenue it is now facing.

With the arts festival’s plans for trying to open for a third time in 2022 now in jeopardy, the Victorian Government-funded festival has called on the more than 100,000 people who paid for tickets to forgo a refund and instead consider donating their value to keep the festival financially afloat.

Festival co-director Hannah Fox told The Age they were trying to salvage as many of the events planned for this year as they can.

In Queensland, the organisers of Birdsville’s Big Red Bash are scrambling to find ways to offset any potential loss if Victorians are unable to travel to the event in July.

Big Red Bash organisers are looking at a $1.2 million shortfall in their revenue if travel restrictions deny Victorian ticketholders into Queensland. The organisers have said they will not offer any refunds, but will reissue tickets to the event in 2022 or 2023 instead.

Festival organiser Greg Donovan said they would only offer a refund if the festival had to cancel, telling the ABC “the event is going ahead, if we were to provide refunds and not have enough money to put the event on, the event wouldn’t go ahead.

“We sell tickets to collect money to put the event on and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

The ongoing uncertainty for festivals has amplified calls for the Federal Government to underwrite pandemic cancellation insurance for events.

Australian Festival Association General Manager, Julia Robinson told the Australian Financial Review “we’ve been calling for further support for quite some time and insurance in particular is one of the primary issues.”

Originally scheduled to launch last year, the first RISING festival was created to take the place of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night Melbourne.

Image: RISING Festival co-Artistic Directors Gideon Obarzanek and Hannah Fox at its launch in 2020. Credit: Creative Victoria/Jo Duck.

Related Articles

4th June 2021 - Return of international tours vital for Australia’s entertainment venues and promoters

3rd June 2021 - TEG announces partnership with Laneway Festival

2nd June 2021 - Melbourne’s stage three lockdown to be extended for another week while restrictions to ease in regional Victoria

28th May 2021 - Victorian COVID lockdown forces AFL to change weekend fixture plans

27th May 2021 - Victoria Government announces seven-day lockdown

26th May 2021 - Mount Isa Rodeo welcomes record pre-event sales

21st May 2021 - Save Victorian Events founder slams Victorian Government’s lack of support for business event sector

19th May 2021 - Midnight Oil to headline Bluesfest’s rescheduled festival in October

12th May 2021 - Grants now available to offset Melbourne business events

7th May 2021 - Eventbrite launches new marketing platform for event organisers

22nd April 2021 - AALARA’s first Roadshow event addresses key industry issues with update on moves to establish discretionary mutual fund

21st April 2021 - Victorian Government releases $633 million ‘roadmap’ funding to boost tourism and major events

14th April 2021 - Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into tourism and events support hears plea to save ‘industry in crisis’

11th November 2020 - Art experience promoter slams Governments for not releasing committed arts funding

6th November 2020 - Major Promoters commit to Australian Festival Association initiative to revitalise the sector

22nd October 2020 - Festival promoters call for Federal Government insurance scheme

1st July 2020 - Creative Victoria continues to roll out support packages for creative industries

7th July 2020 - Creative Victoria launches new grant program to help music venues during lockdown

28th March 2020 - Major entertainment promoters call for Australian Government support through Coronavirus crisis

4th December 2018 - Midnight Oil to perform at  Birdsville Big Red Bash Music Festival

13th July 2016 - Over 7,000 rock the desert at the 2016 Birdsville Big Red Bash

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


iEDM integrate Design, Engineering and Delivery Management services to convert existing spaces into exciting new entertainment venues. Our team consists of highly qualified professionals with diverse…

read more

Consultants / Design



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues



Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation



Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



AUSTRALIAN MADE. FIT FOR PURPOSE. AlphaFit is a 100% Australian owned family company manufacturing gear specifically for the strength and conditioning, functional fitness and high-performance…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business