Rising costs force end to Caloundra Music Festival

Patrons who attended the 2023 event were the lucky last to have experienced a Caloundra Music Festival, with Sunshine Coast Council making the difficult decision to discontinue the event.


Following the adoption of the 2024-25 Council Budget on June 20, the Caloundra Music Festival will no longer be funded by Council.

The annual community festival had been staged since 2007 and evolved each year to continue entertaining huge crowds.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause in 2020 and rising operating costs and slower ticket sales due to climbing cost-of-living pressures Australia-wide forced another pause this year.

A growing list of major music events across Australia have been affected by similar challenges.

Increasingly, patrons are choosing to support major artist tours and more curated programs, with genre specific line-ups, in lieu of ‘variety festivals’ like CMF, Splendour in the Grass and Goovin’ the Moo, that offered diverse and multi-genre line-ups.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Rosanna Natoli said this was a very difficult decision for Council, but every expense during the annual Budget deliberations had to be considered.

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

“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.

Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg thanked the hundreds of volunteers who had made this 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 2-11 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.”

Creative Australia, the Australian Government’s principal arts investment and advisory body, released a report on April 9, 2024, listing rising operational costs as the most significant barrier to running a music festival (Home - Creative Australia).



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