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February 14, 2024

Groovin’ the Moo cancelled

Groovin’ the Moo has announced it won’t be going ahead this year due to a lack of ticket sales, despite the perception that festivals bring in more punters than local gigs.

  • Words: Helen Karakulak
  • Graphic: Jayde Vandborg

Groovin’ the Moo, which was supposed to hit the Adelaide Showgrounds on April 25, is cancelled, with none of its national shows going ahead. 

The regional festival announced this in an Instagram post this afternoon, saying that ticket sales haven’t been “sufficient to deliver a regional festival of this kind”. 

The announcement comes just one week after tickets went on sale and two weeks after the lineup announcement. 

Groovin’ is the second Adelaide festival this year to announce its cancellation after Vintage Vibes cancelled their January event

Groovin’s cancellation is a big loss to local artists as well as punters, as Groovin’s Fresh Produce program gives local artists their own stage at the festival to get in front of a crowd. 

When CityMag crunched the numbers on 2023 music festivals to explore how well festivals platformed local artists, Groovin’ was our highest scorer. 

The local music programmer, Claire Qian, told CityMag earlier this year that being a regional and all-ages festival, Groovin’ has always eagerly connected with local promoters so their stage highlights local talent. 

When speaking with Claire, we shared with her the story of the multiple live venue closures in Adelaide’s west end at the end of 2023. 

It’s believed there’s a behavioural change happening as punters are saving their hard-earned cash for festivals rather than going to small-medium venues, with Adelaide City Council noting this trend in their debate to investigate support options for Adelaide’s nightlife sector. 

Yet, Groovin’s ticket sales tell a different story. 

In 2023, which is considered the first full post-pandemic financial year, major concert and festival revenue increased by 400 per cent. Despite the success of the festival industry, 1300 small to medium live music venues have closed across Australia with nightclubs struggling to fill their spaces.

Claire agreed it’s a shame to lose those spaces and told us why small-medium venues play an important role in the gig ecosystem.  

“Experience performing in local venues is super important for emerging artists,” she says. 

“Not only that idea of the more practice you get performing in front of a crowd prepares you for bigger shows in the future but meeting other people in the scene, asking certain artists to be your support…that entire experience really just helps an artist broaden their network and broaden their skills.

“Seeing your cousin’s band or all of those like little local bands, it’s really what builds that momentum to one day, like, see your favourite band at a festival.”

The announcement comes just days after Rich Moffat, the programmer for Groovin’ the Moo, announced his retirement on his Facebook page on February 12. 

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