Feedback from some of Western Australia’s major music festival organisers for our annual summer concerts wrap-up in Business Class seems to suggest that the economic crisis isn’t having a marked effect on ticket sales as yet. In fact, there is talk from some commentators in the US that music festivals might be one of the few discretionary spend items that could be less exposed to the downturn. The rationale behind that thinking is that, as consumers start to cut back on some of the big-ticket, luxury discretionary spend items, multi-act festivals and outdoor music events could be seen as providing value for money. For the local industry, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the annual events – the kind of events people tend to buy tickets for on the reputation of the event and not necessarily the calibre of the performers – seem to be tracking well. So are a lot of the youth festivals, like Southbound in Busselton and Summadayze. But the signals are more mixed for other shows. Already some of the big-ticket internationals have failed to sell-out shows, with heavily discounted ticketing and promotion of special corporate packages among the incentives being rolled out to get more bums on seats. Ticket pricing may differentiate those that do well and those that don’t, with the punters more likely to be more selective about where they spend their money. That could be a challenge for promoters and organisers, with escalating costs, particularly for international acts with rising cost of things like travel and freight, forcing ticket prices up

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