Fans dance to The Naked & Famous's set in Metricon Stadium at the Gold Coast Big Day Out.
Fans dance to The Naked & Famous's set in Metricon Stadium at the Gold Coast Big Day Out. Seanna Cronin

Regional music festivals thrive as Big Day Out takes hiatus

REGIONAL music festivals are thriving while major events are struggling, as they avoid the massive competition of metropolitan areas to target a captive market.

It follows revelations from its American owners C3 Presents that the iconic Big Day Out festival will not be running in 2015, its first Australian hiatus since 1998.

In a statement, C3 said "we intend to bring back the festival in future years".

Festivals outside major centres appear to be building strength, including the Groovin the Moo events that toured Maitland in New South Wales and Townsville in Queensland through April and May.

A month ago, the Sunshine Coast played host to more than 8000 people at its second Big Pineapple Music Festival.

This Saturday, the Central Queensland town of Mackay will hold its sixth River Sessions festival headlined by The Amity Affliction, Rufus, Illy and Megan Washington.

Organiser Adrian Young, 27, said all festivals were only as good as their last event.

"If we don't cover costs, potentially River Sessions won't happen again next year," he said.

"That's the name of the game basically."

Mr Young said he was inspired to start running the huge events after attending the Big Day Out as a teenager.

Now the major city festivals face constant competition while regional towns can be more supportive.

"In regional centres like Mackay or Townsville, it is up to locals to support the events for them to run," he said.

After helping to pioneer the Australian music festival scene in 1992, the Big Day Out grew into a mainstay of the summer festival circuit, visiting the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland since 1994.

Its inaugural Sydney concert rode the success of Nirvana's Nevermind album - an international smash hit at the time.


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