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New hope on the horizon for music festivals


Newcastle’s music lovers had to press pause on their festival plans this year thanks to COVID-19.

As one of the city’s most popular attractions, the events would usually bring people from near and far for a day out in the sun with friends.

For most, it was a chance to get up close and personal with their favourite artists, who were often at a mere arm’s length away.

The creative scene, including music, art, and performance, is a big part of Newcastle life.

The area is a perfect mix of regional and metropolitan and is home to national and global talent, and supported by plenty of local government initiatives.

So, even with a lot of support, 2020 has certainly been a tough one for musicians and festivalgoers alike.

For many, the last chance to experience the festival atmosphere was near Bar Beach in early March.  

It was travelling Aussie festival, The Drop. This festival even featured one of our own, with local band The Pits opening the festival before bigger names like The Presets and Boy and Bear took to the stage.

Just a few short days later, lockdown began, forcing the festival to cancel its following events in Manly, Coolangatta, Torquay, and Busselton.

While The Drop just scraped by, other Hunter Valley events like Groovin The Moo, Lunar Electric, and Up Down weren’t so lucky.

However, as the nation continues to flatten the curve and adjust to the new normal, music festivals look set to return to the stage.

A great deal of patience from attendees, informed state government decision making, and innovation within the industry, means we’re likely to see music festivals back in action by early 2021.

In the meantime, event organisers have been working hard to ensure festivalgoers are looked after.

Groovin The Moo planners offered refunds for this year’s Maitland ticketholders back in March.

If people chose not to opt for this, they could also hold on to their ticket for the next event.

Meanwhile This That, which usually takes place in early November, was pushed back to late February in 2021.

Organisers have taken a similar approach, saying the event will not be cancelled if restrictions tighten again, but rather postponed to the regular November period.

This customer-focused, forward-thinking saw tickets sell out in just a few days.

Beyond the Hunter, and across the country, live music is starting to find its feet again.

Australia and the music industry have done their best in the wake of COVID-19 so, where we can, it’s important that we show just as much support in return.

We truly are all in this together.

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