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'Too great a risk in the current climate': rising costs force end to music festival

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Sunshine Coast Council has confirmed the Caloundra Music Festival will not return.

The council announced in April that the event would be put on hold for 2024 but following the adoption of the 2024-25 budget last week, the festival will no longer be funded.

The event had been staged since 2007, but the pandemic forced a pause in 2020.

Rising operating costs and slower ticket sales due to climbing cost-of-living pressures then forced this year’s hiatus, and now permanent cancellation, meaning patrons who attended in 2023 were the last to experience it.

Mayor Rosanna Natoli said it was a difficult decision for the council.

“Rising costs, falling ticket sales and uncertainty in the music festival industry were felt to be too great a risk in the current climate,” Cr Natoli said.

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“We recognise that music events are important for our community and council will continue to deliver smaller events and programs.

“We will also continue to support community events through our Community Grants Program as well as larger-scale event operators through our Major Event Sponsorship Program.”

The Soul Stage at the Caloundra Music Festival. Picture: Richard Musumeci

Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg thanked the volunteers who had made the festival possible over many years.

“I urge you to support other events like the upcoming Big Pineapple Music Festival and Council’s 10-day multi-arts Horizon Festival, which will be held May 2 to 11 next year, coinciding with the 2025 Labour Day public holiday,” Cr Landsberg said.

“I know the artists and patrons will be greatly disappointed and I encourage festival fans to support other festivals, venues and artists by purchasing tickets often and early.”

A growing list of major music events across Australia have been affected by similar challenges, including the 2024 Groovin the Moo festival that was due to be held at Sunshine Coast Stadium in May.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.auYou must include your name and suburb.

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